Sunday, March 13, 2011

Sustainable Sunday: Block 15

Apologies for being away this week. I assure you all that we are working on a couple of great projects - just did not finish any this week to highlight.

This week I went to Portland to see a show and spend some time with old friends (and make some new ones). During dinner with my friend Micheal (thanks for the sushi buddy!) I was talking about my time in Corvallis and how things were going. He mentioned a great number of lovely bars and restaurants in town, and I realized I had not really been to many of them. Usually I am adventure gal - I want new places, new foods, new experiences - but since arriving in the Willamette Valley I have been very regimented in my decision of where to dine out.

Block 15
sits on the intersection of Jefferson and 3rd St. in the downtown area. Until this week there was not a weekend that I had not found myself there at least once sipping on fine microbrews, playing cribbage, watching sports, or enjoying friends. So this week in lieu of going to my usual haunt I have decided to profile it.

Homebrew aside, I did not think 'sustainability' when I thought about beer. However our pals at Block 15 take it very seriously. In the brewery they seek to reduce the massive amounts of water waste that usually go along with commercial brewing. They use a glycol looped double heat exchange to cool the wort, and catch the excess water used in cooling to reuse for the next batch. Spent grains are given to local farmers for feed, and the grain bags are turned into recycled bags by an employee. They also search for locally sourced products to create their brews that sport delightful names like 'figgy pudding,' 'aboriginale,' and 'millennium falcon.' The beers are eclectic in flavor and style - I would describe them as inspired. Every time I go in there is something new to sample and it never disappoints.

One of the things I like about Block 15 is that they highlight local farmers and their products by writing their partners names on a blackboard hanging right in the restaurant. Any given day I can walk in and see that my favorite restaurant is supporting my favorite farms, wineries, and coffee roasters. I also feel glad to know that the spent fryer grease becomes biofuel, the to-go boxes are compostable, and the electricity comes through the Pacific Powers' Blue Sky Program.

Combine these great practices, wonderful staff (several of them I am lucky to call friends), and fantastic food and you can easily see why I find it hard to get outside the 'block' and go to another restaurant. Block 15 has not only impressed me, but it has also made me feel comfortable in a new town where I knew very few people. I think that one of the reasons I keep going back is that it helps me to feel like I am at home.

Thanks all! See you next weekend!

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