Ross Litton, Founder of Walkabout Brewing, is about as far from his hometown of Perth, Australia as one could get. His wasn’t a little jaunt into the Australian Outback; in the early 1990s, Litton’s own walkabout took him 9187 miles to Medford, Oregon. He has called the area home ever since.
Back in 1997, the jovial Aussie opened Walkabout Brewing in his garage. Today, he and son Cameron run their little craft beer oasis in an industrial section of Medford, gasp, across the street from a Budweiser Distributor that is probably large enough to fit Walkabout in its cooler. Not to worry mate. The Littons are on such good terms with the distributor that they borrow a forklift from time to time. That’s not a big surprise once you have had a chance to meet the friendly father-son team (Ross is hilarious, and has plenty of stories to share). Folks come from far and wide to hang out and drink well-made ales in the shady patio area or on the sunny backyard.
Speaking of the real star of the show, the beer is worth the few minutes it takes to get to slightly off-the-beaten path location. Young master Cameron poured me a nice cold flight of craft beers, and we sat on the patio and shot the breeze on sunny southern Oregon afternoon. By the time the restless Ross joined us, I was relishing the last drops of my tasting tray. That session included noteworthy Point the Bone IPA, Worker’s Pale Ale, and my favorite, Jabberwocky Ale, an English Strong Ale weighing in at a healthy (depending on how you look at it) 7.0 ABV. Asked why he named it Jabberwocky, Ross says, with a wry smile, “Because if you drink too much of it, you start to jabber.” Beer Advocate rates it a good solid 82. But I’ll tell you, the more I drink, the higher my own taste buds score it. Down under the bubbly head, this copper-colored ale, brewed with Cascade, Perle, Willamette, and Chinook hops, slides down smooth and easy and beckons you back for more. If that’s not appealing, the Littons have plenty of other choices on tap, even (dare I say it) a gluten-free beer for those with certain sensitivities.
I highly recommend a stop at Walkabout during any journey through Jackson County. If you are really lucky, the jolly ol’ Aussie himself will be back in town from one of his own walkabouts and share a pint as well as a few laughs with you. G’day mate!
This post was written by Kirk Richardson.