This review is one I have been waiting on for a while. Last year at the annual beer fest here in Corvallis I sampled some brews from a place called Dirt Road Brewing. After chatting with the folks pouring the beer, I learned that they have been brewing out of their garage here in town for a while now and are distributing it locally, with plans to open a tap room in the future. Well, the future is now! After much anticipation, I recently stopped in at their new taproom in nearby Philomath, Oregon to sample more from the source. So, knock the dirt off your shoes, kick back, and enjoy this review of the newest brewery on the block.
- Beer – It is very clear from the start that the head brewer has been working on these recipes for a while prior to opening a brewery. The beers are solid on the fundamentals, with nuanced flavor across the spectrum of styles. From lagers and IPAs to delicious sours, I love the creativity put in to play with ingredients. What is more, the coming soon tap list has me very interested (Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookie Stout anyone?) in what else they will brew up in the future. Score: 4/5
- Brewery – Dirt Road Brewing opened in an old bank built around the turn of the 20th century with a history of being robbed in the Great Depression. The vault can still be seen looming over the room at the back of the bar. The tasting room is small but beautifully decorated in muted gray colors with wood accents and a large bar dominating half of the room. Tables of various size are scattered around the room, providing seating for around 50 people. They offer a small food menu, mostly consisting of snacks and handmade pies. The prices are reasonable, and they have a happy hour period during the week from 2-5 pm. They are only open Wednesday through Sunday from early afternoon until around 8-9pm, so be sure to plan your trip accordingly. Score: 3/5
- Ambiance and Entertainment – While this seems to be a theme lately it still holds true: being so new they do not have many events planned, either on site or locally. I’m sure over time that will increase, and they do have televisions at the bar for watching whatever sporting event of choice is on. Score: 2/5
- Location – Downtown Philomath isn’t exactly known for being a hot spot, though with the addition of Dirt Road that may change. The brewery sits right on main street and is easy to find. Parking is all street level spots around the block but usually isn’t a problem most days. There are a few decent restaurants in town, and until recently a local meadery was a short hop down the road (RIP Nectar Creek). To be honest, if you are looking for something else to do after leaving the brewery, hopping over to Corvallis may be your best option. Score: 2.5/5
- Customer Service – With such a small space all ordering and service comes from the bar, so no table service aside from brining your food to you once it is ready. It was slow enough to have a nice conversation with the bar tender and get a little history about the brewery and the building while trying a few beer samples. Ordering was quick, as were the drink pours, and the staff were delightful to chat with. All around a great experience where I felt welcome to sit and relax with a beer. Score: 5/5
Total Score: 15/25
Favorite Beer: Juicy IPA – 6.4% New England IPA
Final Thoughts: A cozy taproom and an excellent tap list easily make Dirt Road Brewing one to watch over the next few years. I look forward to return visits to try whatever else they create and encourage anyone in the area to make a stop here. They have lots of room to grow and their future is bright and delicious I think!