I had you at parsnip “bacon”, didn’t I? That’s the first aspect of Falling Sky Brewery—which is located in downtown Eugene on 13th and Oak—that won me over. It wasn’t an easy process deciding which restaurant featured in the Best of Eugene from Eugene Weekly I wanted to review; but then I noticed how many times Falling Sky was listed: “Best Bar Grub;” “Best Brewery;” “Best Place to Drink in the Sun;” “Best Burger;” “Best New Restaurant;” and its number one spot in “Best New Business.” If that wasn’t enough to persuade me to try it out, I may have questioned if I was losing my mind.
Falling Sky Brewery is conveniently located downtown down the alley from the Fermentation Supply Shop. As I walked into the restaurant, the first thing I noticed was the spacious seating area: several benches that were long enough to take up the majority of the space with some added seating outside and at the windows of the restaurant (with very colorful chairs I might add). What was distinctive about the windows on the right side of the restaurant was that they directly looked into the brewery where anyone could have a clear view of whatever those giant contraptions containing the fermented wheat that turn into ultimate deliciousness are called.
I think I may need to come up with a different way of approaching the employees though, as I am assuming my question of “what is the most unique thing on the menu?” may seem rather subjective to some. But as long as I have used that question, I have been nothing but satisfied. Case in point: the seasonal veggie sandwich which included roasted pear, the noted parsnip “bacon”, bleu cheese cream, and endive. I had this delectable sandwich paired with the kale Caesar salad and a complementary Strawberry n’ spice soda (which is home-brewed as well), and a sample of the “pork belly”, which is essentially bacon for those of you who—like I—thought it was actual pork insides.
Don’t be put off by the name “pork belly” though; it was a million times better than bacon. The outside had a perfect crunchiness and a soft inside without the grisly, greasy taste of bacon. It tasted natural and healthy; it was served with white beans, escarole, and tomato-beer broth. The bean’s softness and slight bitterness of the escarole set off the richness of the pork delightfully.
May I add, I had never known if I liked parsnips until this experience, and let me tell you, they have the best nutty, potato-esque flavor that when paired with the natural sweetness of the pear; the crunch of the endive; and the creamy goodness of the bleu cheese cream: I was nothing but completely content with life itself for a good hour or so.
The kale Caesar salad was a surprise as well, since I normally consider raw kale to be the bitter devil. But with the crunchy house croutons and—I always feel slightly disgusted remembering this is what goes on Caesar salad—anchovy dressing, I was able to enjoy kale—much like my childhood hamster, Fluffy, did—and for a moment, I thought the sky may actually be falling…
Aside from the striking menu, Falling Sky provides a relaxed and sociable environment. The large seating areas allow customers to meet new people, always have someone around to talk to, and potentially make someone else uncomfortable by getting into their personal bubble (and really, who doesn’t find a secret joy in that?). Next time you’re in need of a reminder that there is always that chance the sky may fall—that your taste buds may change—or that the joy of satisfying food is one everyone can bond over, stumble into Falling Sky Brewery and let it pour!