© Elii Walsh
Heater Allen

Over Halloween weekend, I had the pleasure of sampling a few beers from a McMinnville based brewery, Heater Allen.  At Heater Allen they "specialize in producing distinctive all-malt lager and other German and Czech style beers". Being that I've never been a huge lager fan, this is new territory for me.

What is a lager? From Heater Allen's website, "Lager beers are fermented at lower temperatures than ale, using yeast that has adapted to cooler fermentations.  Low temperature fermentations create fewer “yeasty” aromas, esters, and flavors that are so common in ales.  We brew lagers because we enjoy their smooth malty and hoppy character." Keeping that in mind, I sampled four of Heater Allen's beers, three of which were lagers: Pils, Coastal, IsarWeizen (a wheat), and Abzug. All four beers were so individual, you can almost taste the hours of thought that was put in to each one.  IsarWeizen had the most unique flavors, giving off banana esters and spicy licorice flavors. All three lagers were very clean and crisp but Coastal was the most hop forward, this is why Coastal got 5 stars from me. Being that it had the strongest hop character of the four, it gave a bite that lingers far after the last sip. Coastal is a great lager for an IPA lover like me, it will deliver that bite you crave in a crisp and refreshing way, giving your palate a break from the sweetness of some Northwest IPAs.

As a novice in the beer scene, I catch myself sticking to certain beer styles I know I like for fear of spending money on something I might not enjoy. My great experience with Heater Allen's lagers has opened my mind to new brews I had subconsciously dismissed in previous visits to bottle shops. Sometimes, all it takes is one extraordinary example of a certain style to awaken the palate and help you appreciate and understand it.