Common thoughts are that in order for a brewery to succeed in the business of beer, you need to brew Ales. To brew a lager is to wait a month without the guarantee of a hit from the start. And so that is the way the brewing landscape has maintained itself. If one was to compare Lagers or Ales brewed to the metric system, then ales would be international with lagers as the lowly U.S. metric system. It hasn’t been without breweries through out the Northwest producing something wonderful in a lager format.
Down in Oregon, on a recent trip to McMinnville to visit some friends, we re-visited a brewery not seen in a couple of years, Heater Allen. Brewing mostly (99% of the time) Lagers, Rick Allen took some time after getting back from a beautiful weekend on the coast, to serve us some samples, and box us up some beers for the trip home. As soon as we got home we cracked open a couple of beers with one catching my eye, a Dunkel Lager.
Dunkel, is a style which has its brewing roots in the city of Munich and much like Helles, is a beer that peaks at almost 6.00% Alcohol By Volume, but unlike Helles, it can be as light at 4.50% Alcohol By Volume. According to BJCP (Beer Judge Certification Program) the beers origin is influenced from the brown lager styles of Munich, which was influenced by the moderately carbonated water.
Heater Allen Dunkel Lager is a beer that pours clear with a burnt reddish color and an off white cream head, which dies quickly leaving behind no lace. Swirling the glass around one detects a nuttiness, that dances hand in hand with caramel and some slight bitterness.
As a sip is taken one reflects on the barley, and the taste of bread crust, which is only overshadowed by the characteristic of toast. As the beer coarses its way down past the tongue sweet caramel and toasted malt remind those that you are still enjoying a lager. With the final bit of the beer settling towards the back you are reminded that this beer is not light as the mouthfeel feels slightly medium.
A taste-filled Dunkel, I am sure this would work wonders on a plate of steak with some potatoes and cheese.
Overall 8.2 /10 or (4.1 / 5.0) A -
Thoughts by your colleagues
About Heater Allen Brewing
We take no short-cuts in our beer making. This means using the best possible ingredients, from German malt and German, Czech, and Oregon hops, to McMinnville's naturally soft water. We use a German-style step-mashing process that allows us to reduce the protein content of our beer, that when combined with long, low temperature lagering, results in maltier and naturally clearer beer without filtering. Our beers are conditioned in the fermenter, and bottled without filtration. This creates a finer 'bead' (smaller bubbles) and a smoother texture, but means that there may be a little bit of yeast left in the bottom of the bottle. Finally we work hard at controlling the distribution of our beer to avoid exposing it to excess heat, light, or aging (unless, of course, the beer was meant to age). Where possible, we try to sell directly to the consumer, because this insures that our customers receive the beer in the best possible condition. [more] –source, Heater Allen Brewing
About the photos’ author
Paul “Fruit Trees” Orchard, is an amateur craft beer enthusiast and amateur photographer. Throughout the many years in craft beer he is always carrying a camera (smartphone, digital, traditional) and is invites you to see that beer can also be exciting even if you can’t drink the photo.
In accordance with new FTC regulations regarding bloggers and endorsements, the aforementioned company has not provided me a free sample that was used for research prior to writing this review. The beer in question was in fact purchased by the reviewer on February 21st, 2010, at the brewery.