Alcoholic beverages created for the Olympic trials in Eugene


The Olympic Trials brought thousands of people to Eugene to see their favorite athletic hopefuls get their tickets to Tokyo. It’s been a particularly hot week under the open sky at Hayward Field, but a cool drink in the sun is a great way to experience that legendary Hayward magic.

Some local breweries and distilleries had fun with exclusive beers and cocktails in honor of the event this year.

Thinking Tree Spirits, a women-run distillery in Eugene’s Whiteaker neighborhood, is one of the vendors at TrackTown USA’s food and beverage pavilion on Agate Street.

“This is the first time that we are involved in this project,” said Darcey Howard, director of marketing. “It’s no secret that sports and alcohol go hand in hand. It’s very popular.”

The distillery’s tasting room opened in 2016, just after testing that year. For the first time, they had to figure out how to serve cocktails on the fly to a large number of people at once. With an obstacle in front of them, creativity kicked off.

COFFEE 541:The Food Scene at the United States Olympic Track and Field Trials in Eugene

“Considering the volume and COVID protocols and just for ease of service, knowing you’ve opened containers and trying to mix cocktails on the spot is really a challenge,” Howard said. “So what we did was we actually made lots of gin tonics and mules from Moscow, obviously with our own homemade gin and vodka spirits, but we also made our home tonic and our ginger beer for each of them and then put them carbonate them in kegs.

“So we serve – on tap – gin and tonic and mules from Moscow,” she said.

This idea was born out of the mind of Erik Chapman, COO, when it came to figuring out how to serve effectively.

They created two other drink specials for the event – the “Grapefruit Dash” and the “Olympic Gold Buzz” – served in the TrackTown Cafes and in the VIP section of the trials.

Dash is made with Thinking Tree Grapefruit Flavored Pomona Gin, grapefruit juice, sparkling water and lime. The Buzz is a blend of honey and lemon syrup with a base of its Main Stage Vodka.

Drinks on tap have been such a hit, Howard said, so much so that they could become a regular option for the distillery after testing.

Emily Jensen of Thinking Tree Spirts in Eugene offers to toast the Moscow Mule cocktail at the Distillery, which is in preparation for the US Olympic Track and Field Trials on Agate Street in the shadow of Hayward Field.

“I’m pretty sure you’ll start to see this in our tasting room,” she said. “I mean, it’s just insanely delicious and it comes out super carbonated, cool and refreshing, so I think we’re going to start making that in our tasting room.”

Across town, what was old has been refurbished at Ninkasi Brewing Co.

In 2016, Ninkasi released a beer inspired by runners: the Beer Run IPA. This year he brought it back in honor of the company’s testing and milestone.

“This year is our 15th anniversary, so we’re bringing back a bunch of old beers through our pilot system which will only be available at the Better Living Room (location),” said Kiley Gwynn, Creative Project Manager at Ninkasi. “So for us, it’s a smaller five-barrel system that we just roughed out and released through our location here in town, so that’s been great.”

The company first launched the beer as part of the 2016 trials and developed it with the help of runners.

“We took trial versions of this recipe around 25 different racing events and got feedback from runners and really developed this beer with and for the running community in the Pacific Northwest,” said Gwynn.

Ninkasi Brewing developed Beer Run IPA in collaboration with runners for the Olympic Track and Field Trials in the United States in 2016. The brewery is once again serving it at its Living Room location in honor of the 2021 trials.

“So we would go out different test batches and get ratings from people on what they liked about the flavor profile, what they didn’t like, or what they might want to see changed, so we used that to work out the final recipe. “

What they came up with was a classic, crispy IPA, which Gwynn described as tasting of citrus before grapefruit.

“We really hope this will be a treat for our local team, people who have been with us for a long time and who really do it for the community and for the things that they have asked us to bring back,” she said.

Contact reporter Jordyn Brown at [email protected] or 541-246-4264, and follow her on Twitter @thejordynbrown and Instagram @registerguard. Support local journalism, subscribe to The Register-Guard.


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