Like Yakima (Washington), McMinnville has for years been referenced more for their wine and less for their hop fields. And much like Yakima most people would never expect to find a brewery nestled in the bosom of the region.
Today there are around three breweries (including Golden Valley, McMenamins) with one of them being Heater – Allen. While visiting the area one should stop into this brewery that is featured inside what appears to be an industrial suite.
Owner and Head Brewer Rick Allen was kind enough to discuss with us his basis for calling McMinnville home and the answer was simple, its all about the water. After searching the area for the perfect water table (water softness:hardness ratio & mineral:chemical content ratio) he chose this town. What started as a Lager only brewery has relented only slightly to produce a couple of Ales annually.
If you are looking to find Heater Allen in the grocery aisle of your store you might be waiting for a while. Rick Allen’s attention to details stretches beyond the brewery to those that carry the beer. His decision was mostly inspired after a visit to a local grocery store had a couple cases of beer not on the shelf but instead on top of a small refrigerator close to the heat of the condenser. Seeing this made him rethink distribution for fear of people gaining the wrong impression on the quality of the beers. Today he mostly focuses on ‘bottleshops’ and some select grocers.
Currently if you are looking to enjoy a Heater Allen you might try a few of these options this month.
“We'll have our Octoberfest Open House this Saturday and Sunday from Noon to 5. We'll be tasting Pils, Coastal, Schwarz, and, of course, Bobtoberfest. $3 for four tastes and a nice spread of cheeses with Red Fox bread. If you ask, I'll show you the new gylcol chiller!” source, Heater Allen’s Newsletter
“When we were at GABF, Bobtoberfest was far and away our most popular beer. It's now available at most New Seasons and Market of Choice stores, as well as Belmont Station (of course) and the usual places in McMinnville. Even though we doubled production this year, supply is limited and I expect it will be gone in a week or two.” source, Heater Allen’s Newsletter
More news will roll out as Rick sends word. If you are curious to stop into the brewery during any other time through October, November, or December you might give them a call (503) 472-4898 or (503) 435-9119.