Listen up, Salem area residents (and those visiting the capital city!), there are some great new lunch options ready for you and your beer-loving taste buds.
Victory Club Now Opens at 11:00 AM
In a surprise announcement Monday, April 2nd, Vagabond Brewing announced that Victory Club is now open for lunch. Since the taproom opened last June, as you may remember, opening hours started at 5pm. Now, armed with local Salem beer and ciders, a new chef and an expanded menu, Victory Club is now open for lunch in downtown Salem.
My favorite day to go to Victory Club, besides the ones that end in ‘Y’, will be on Tuesdays because on Taco Tuesday, you get tacos and a Salem-brewed cider or beer for $8.
Santiam Brewing Also Open For Lunch
I’m not sure if the timing is coincidence or not, but also on Monday, Santiam Brewing announced that their taphouse over on the 19th Street SE would be open for lunch. Now, Santiam is blessed to have a catering company located next door that produces amazing food to accompany your favorite Santiam beer.
So, whether you’re downtown or out in SE Salem, stop by either Victory Club or Santiam (or both!) for an exquisite lunch and top quality Salem-brewed ale/cider.
In addition to great breweries popping up all over the state of Oregon, another phenomenon has been the addition of taphouses. These are bars and growler fill stations that have in upwards of 40-50 taps, featuring craft beer from Oregon and the West coast.
Vagabond Brewing, the Salem-based maker of fine ales, has decided to add taphouses as a cornerstone of their business – with Victory Club opening last June and now Vagabond Outpost in Albany, Oregon.
Vagabond Brewing just celebrated its 3rd birthday and thee trio of co-owners show no sign of slowing down.
Vagabond Outpost is located near Heritage Mall in Albany and features 40-ish taps that pour ales from Salem, Corvallis, Eugene and more. There are also wines and ciders on tap and kombacha as well. The taphouse is located right next to Love Love Teriyaki and near Red Robin, so if you’re hungry, grab food to go and eat it in the taphouse with a delicious beverage.
You can find Vagabond Outpost at 2195 14th Ave S Albany, Oregon.
Editor’s Note: Today is day five in our Twelve Days of Christmas series on Pints and Steins – where we’ll be letting you know about a winter beer every day between now and Christmas Eve.
On the fifth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me, Santa’s Reinbeer from Vagabond Brewery!
Santa’s Reinbeer is a lesser known holiday beer because it’s not bottled and it’s only available from the Vagabond Brewing taphouse and select Salem-area taphouses during the holiday months.
Billed as a “winter warmer with spices”, Reinbeer pours a brownish mahogany color. When poured, it leaves light lacing on the glass and has a two-fingered pale head at the top of the glass.
How does it taste?
When you sip Santa’s Reinbeer, you’re immediately greeted with smooth malty, nutty overtones. This ale isn’t overly carbonated and goes down easily. Then, the spice overtones kick in and give flavors of nutmeg and allspice.
I’m a fan of this beer because it’s not too sweet and not too malty, however, if you’re one who doesn’t like overly-spicy beers, this one will not appeal to your palette.
The spice force is strong with this one, beer Jedis.
Should I buy it?
Yes, it’s a great beer that Vagabond fans will love, granted you like medium-spicy ales.
Find it at Vagabond’s Taphouse at 2195 Hyacinth St NE #172, Salem, OR. Also, I’ve seen Santa’s Reinbeer on tap at Salem taphouses such as Heroes on South Commercial.
(Photo credit: Untappd user Rich C.)
Just after fresh hop beer season comes around, we get to another season: pumpkin ale season in October. I’ve become a huge fan of pumpkin infused beers and I always look forward to this time of year.
Today, we take a look at one of Oregon’s few pumpkin beers, In Gourd We Trust from Vagabond Brewing in Salem, Oregon. This ale pours a brownish-amber color and has a strong scent of spice, I’m guessing cloves and nutmeg. The seasonal beer comes in at 5.5% ABV.
At first sip, there’s a bit of malt overtone at first, but then the sweetness of this beer kicks in. In essence, it tastes too sweet – I think the clove overpowers the experience of In Gourd We Trust. And unfortunately, I never pick up on the pumpkin in this ale.
Should I buy it?
So, if you’re looking for a sweet ale that celebrates the spices of Fall, then IGWT will be appealing to you!
For my palette, In Gourd We Trust is a little too sweet and goes more for pumpkin pie and not a classic Fall pumpkin-enhanced malty ale.
Have you had it? What are your thoughts?
Last Friday evening, I had the opportunity to join my friends from Vagabond Brewing (thanks AJ and Dean!) at a private mini-brewfest at Crosby Hop Farm in Woodburn, Oregon.
It was simply fascinating to tour Crosby Hop Farm and see the entire process of how hops are brought in by truck from the fields, dried, processed, and ultimately prepared for brewers as either whole-leaf hops or pellets.
In fact, I learned that Crosby is the only hops farm in Oregon that has an on-site pellet processing capability.
After our tour, we were able to sample from breweries in the area including Vangard Brewing in Wilsonville, Silver Moon in Bend, Santiam here in Salem. It was amazing to meet all these amazing brewers and hear about their craft, inspirations and more.
Now, the brewery has announced a locally designed, limited edition growler created by Salem native Yuki Saeki. The growler celebrates Japanese culture and also Salem’s link to Japan. In fact, Salem, Oregon has a sister city relationship with Kawagoe, Japan.
Alvin Klausen, of Vagabond, told me today that the brewery desires to always have a growler for sale that is limited edition. The first installment, pictured below, was designed by Saeki, a friend to Vagabond and a local anime artist.
The growler is free with the purchase of a growler fill until August 21. There are only a few hundred that have been made – so get down to Victory Club or Vagabond Brewing and celebrate the new arrival!
For a very long time, we, the Salem, Oregon beer brigade, have wanted a downtown taphouse or brewpub to showcase the amazing beer made in our state and in our city.
Salem’s brewing scene has grown vastly in the last half-decade, first with breweries such as Gilgamesh, Pale Horse (which is now closed); and now with a vibrant scene featuring Vagabond Brewing, Santiam Brewing, Salem Ale Works and Sparky’s. Still, we haven’t had any taphouses or brewing operations in downtown Salem, which is truly the heart of this spread-out city. Until now.
Let’s head downtown for a pint!
Enter Victory Club, which is a brand new taphouse owned and operated by the three-man team behind Vagabond Brewing. Located in the Salem Arts Building (155 Liberty St NE) facing the rear alley, the Victory Club is a 2,500 square foot restaurant/taphouse that features 35 taps, with two taps reserved for every Salem brewery and local cideries Wandering Angus and Anthem.
This means Victory Club will be the premier destination for Salem-made beer. If you’re more into cider and not a beer fan, you’ll be able to buy locally-made cider. Also, as an amazing step, Victory Club is working with the mixology team at nearby Archive Coffee and Bar to have hand-crafted cocktails on tap at Victory Club.
To this Salem resident, a big factor that makes Victory Club unique is the collaborative nature in which its being built. Rather than being strictly a Vagabond taphouse that’s located downtown, the owners want the venue to be a meeting place for Salem’s craft beer and cider movement. Victory Club is a showcase for the emerging spirit of hand-made spirits, ales and ciders from the state’s capital.
I think Victory Club’s coolest feature is going to be the designated outdoor patio. Right off the front door is a patio that’s about 15’x40′ where picnic tables, umbrellas and more will welcome beer fans who want to dine outside. One advantage to Victory Club facing the alley is that the patio will be quieter, with less street traffic to disrupt groups while dining outside.
The Victory Club opens on June 3 and will be open 11:00 AM-10:00 PM Sunday-Wednesdays and from 11:00 AM – Midnight Thursday-Sundays. There’s a ‘soft-opening’ preview event this weekend, May 27 and 28 and the venue will be open in the evenings.
Music and more
Victory Club is sort of an L-shaped space. Upon entering the main room, you have the bar on the left-hand side and semi-private booths that line the right-hand side. The bar itself is rather gorgeous. The tap array is adorned with a copper feature that was hand-built for Victory Club by the copper artist who also makes copper creations for McMenamins.
At the far end of the L, past the bar, there’s a rolling barn door that reveals a separated space that has a long events/concert room with a stage and its own small tap array. This area can be closed off and Dean Howes, a co-owner of Vagabond, told me the space will be used for live music, karaoke and in time, private parties and events.
If you head to Victory Club hungry, you won’t be disappointed. There’s a small kitchen that will serve a traditional pub menu with burgers, tots, nachos and more.
Howes told me they want Victory Club to be a downtown venue that serves multiple purposes. Along with a taphouse serving local pints, the owners hope to have beer pairing dinners, karaoke nights (something we don’t have downtown now) and more.
Catering to craft aficionados. Despite having a full liquor license, the Victory Club owners want the venue to be a haven for craft lovers. By featuring locally made ales, ciders and Salem-made house cocktails, there was an active decision made to avoid having rum and coke well drink specials, that invite a more ‘let’s go party!’ crowd.
Using a network of local distillers, cider makes and more, Victory Club will feature a premium cocktail selection that will vary based on curation and seasonality.
Boosting Salem’s brewing visibility
Right now, if you were to ask a group of Salem residents whether we have local breweries, I’d imagine half or less would say ‘no’. The goal of Victory Club, according to Howes, is to change this. By being central and downtown, the owners want to raise the visibility of our town’s brewing prowess and history.
You see, Salem used to be ‘beer central’ going back 100+ years. In 1866, Samuel Adolph founded “Pacific Brewery” which sadly burned down a few years later. Then, in 1885, The Salem Brewery was renamed “Capitol Brewing” after Adolph sold the brewery to two employees. There’s a vast history of brewing in Salem, to read more, see Salem History.
One of the best known beers made in Salem was Victory Club ale, hence the venue’s name.
Resurrecting the Salem Brewery Association
With the new resurgence of Salem brewing, the independent owners of these Salem-based breweries have re-formed the Salem Brewery Association. The organization meets monthly to organize and think of ways to boost Salem brewing’s visibility. Howes tells me the organization is looking to start events such as a Salem Beer Week and others, to bring Salem residents to area breweries and open the doors to everyone in the area.
Editor’s note: This is the twentieth beer in the Beer Advent Calendar 2015 series. Likewise, I’m going to be posting a beer review each day. Some will be Christmas or Winter ales and other selections will be beers I’ve been wanting to review for some time.
Today I’m keeping it local here in Salem, Oregon and featuring Attack Owl IPA from Vagabond Brewing. Founded by three good friends, Vagabond has been churning out amazing brews and built a fantastic taphouse in north Salem.
Attack Owl IPA is named after the owl that made news back in May 2015 in our city’s central Bush Park.
How does it taste?
Attack Owl IPA ours clear with a reddish yellow tint. The smell is of strong pine hoppyness that leaves a fantastic lacing on the glass.
When you taste the beer, you’re greeted with a strong heavy does of pine hops, but it doesn’t last long and then the malt sweetness kicks in. This is a very smooth IPA that has a citrus influence at the beginning and middle of the sip, but maintains a dry backside.
Overall, this is a fantastically balanced IPA that would appeal to lovers of strong ales, amber and IPA styles.
Should I buy it?
Yes. Heck Yes. Fill your growler and enjoy every drop.