My wife and I just got back from Eugene, OR where we saw Queens Of The Stone Age play (epic show!), and this gave me an opportunity to visit a store I had read about on Beer Advocate called The Bier Stein. We had allowed ourselves only two days in Eugene because it was mid-week, but we snuck in a 30 minute recon visit before the show, intending on visiting the store for a buying binge the next day if it was worthy. If you want to skip the beer geekery, the short story is, the store is worthy.
How could you think anything else about a store that welcomes you with an 8 foot Sasquatch clutching a beer? We happened to luck out as they were doing tastings of Willamette Brewery’s beers, and their IPA, I discovered, is awesome. This place is one of those stores that will sell you the bottle and allow you to drink it, on premises, in a social setting. There were plenty of people taking advantage, too. Every one of the tables was taken, with an empty bottle of AleSmith’s Yule Smith (or something equally as acceptable) sitting in the middle of the people crowded around it. It was a beautiful sight.
After the initial visit, I knew I had to come back the next day. On the way out of town, I dropped by and spent about thirty minutes checking the place out. The store is has a small restaurant and a few handles pouring good beer. The kitchen is in the back of the space, and is sectioned off from the main room by a series of built-in cabinets that hold different styles from Belgians to barley wines. The kitchen is directly across from a series of stand-up cold cases divided by region.
I ended up speaking with several different people about their recommendations, and their suggestions were right in line with what I was looking for. Kristina, who I understand is one of the owners, was a great resource, really knew her stuff, and was a pleasure to speak with. It’s always nice to find a bottle shop that staffs up with people who are true beer enthusiasts.
So here’s what I ended up taking home:
- AleSmith – Yule Smith Holiday Ale (Summer)
- AleSmith – Decadence Anniversary Ale
- Cantillon – Rosé de Gambrinus
- Victory – Prima Pils
- Victory – Storm King Imperial Stout
- Great Divide – Oak Aged Yeti Imperial Stout
- Great Divide – Hercules Double IPA
- Dogfish Head – Burton Baton Oak Aged Imperial IPA
- Brouwerij Het Anker – Gouden Carolus Cuvee Van De Keizer
- St. Bernard Brouwerij – Grotten Flemish Ale (Pierre Celis Signature Collection)
- St. Bernard Brouwerij – Grotten Brown Ale (Pierre Celis Signature Collection)
- Brasserie de Blaugies – Bière Darbyste
- Brasserie Fantôme – Été
- Jolly Pumpkin – Maracaibo Especial
- Jolly Pumpkin – Calabaza Blanca
As you can see, their selection doesn’t suck. It was such a pleasurable experience shopping there, that I’ll be sure to return each time I go anywhere near Eugene. I was bummed to hear that I was going to be missing a keg of Lagunitas’ Hop Stoopid and a tasting of Green Flash Brewery’s beers. Still, with the selection I saw, these guys will probably always have something good going on.
Needless to say, I love the place. Next time you’re in Eugene, drop by for a pint or 3. You won’t be disappointed.