A winemaker by trade, John Guerrero brewed beer as a hobby. Housing the two beverages under one roof, he sidestepped the typical restaurant, bar and tasting-room models with Jacksonville's Adit Public House.
"It's like a combination of Beerworks and South Stage (Cellars)," says Guerrero, longtime winemaker for Valley View Winery outside Jacksonville. "You feel like you're almost in a little European pub."
Opened earlier this month and named for the entrance to a mine shaft, Adit was supposed to be Guerrero's brewery. But commercial licensing proved a longer process than anticipated. The region's ever-increasing selection of craft beers and fine wines allowed Adit to open anyway with Joe Arena and Luke Stedman to man the bar.
"It's a place to come and sit and have a glass of wine, a pint of beer," says Guerrero, explaining that there's a small snack menu but that patrons come for drinks, not food. Like Beerworks in Medford, Adit allows customers to bring in food carried out from restaurants, or their own picnics.
"You almost get this communal food aspect," says Beerworks co-owner Chris Dennett, explaining that it's not unusual to see a large pizza passed among strangers at his downtown Medford establishment. "It's kind of a new concept — especially for the state of Oregon.
"We hand them the menus of 10 restaurants within two blocks," he adds. "Jacksonville's even more concentrated."
The anything-goes attitude toward outside food also broadens potential for pairing with beer and wine, adds Dennett. Adit has nine taps that rotate among local and other Northwest craft beers seasonally and based on demand, says Guerrero. Hop Valley Double-D Blonde from Eugene has been the top seller so far, but he also gives a nod to Medford's Walkabout Workers Pale Ale and its summertime strawberry-infused lager.
"We do smaller kegs, so we're able to move things in and out quicker," he says. "Keep it different, keep it flowing."
The wine list, he says, is a work in progress, featuring his own J.F. Guerrero red blend, merlot and chardonnay, along with Valley View, Del Rio, Wooldridge Creek and LaBrasseur wines. He says he plans to support local enterprises first but will branch out to wines sourced from around the globe.
The best-seller so far has been Valley View Anna Maria tempranillo, which surprised him, says Guerrero. Locally, that grape variety is starting to challenge the popularity of old standbys, like cabernet, chardonnay and merlot, he adds.
And while "wine blew up about 10 years ago" in the Rogue Valley, craft beer is taking off, he says, citing "nano" breweries Portal and Bricktowne brewing companies in Medford.
"It's more like cooking," Guerrero says of brewing beer. "You can do it once a week."
Advertisements to promote the Rogue Valley's growing beer industry are a current focus of Thrive, a nonprofit advocacy group for small Rogue Valley businesses, particularly food producers. Thrive doesn't have as many brewery members as wineries, says Executive Director Wendy Siporen, but startup brewers are showing interest in sourcing locally grown ingredients, she says, adding that industry experts say the number of local microbreweries stands to double by next year.
If events like this month's Medford Beer Week are popularizing local brews, says Dennett, the beverage itself often is more accessible than wine.
"There's not the same sort of expectations," he says. "Wineries don't do collaborative wines; breweries do collaborative beers."
Planning to tour the state's breweries for tips on method and beer styles, Guerrero says he is looking for larger digs to house his brewery. In the meantime, Adit offers a "coziness" and, particularly in summer, a place to beat the heat with a cold one.
Adit is at 150 S. Oregon St., Jacksonville. Hours of operation are from 3 p.m. to midnight Monday through Wednesday, and from noon to midnight Thursday through Sunday
Reach Food Editor Sarah Lemon at 541-776-4487 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.