Nestled in northwestern Oregon is the town McMinnville. It’s about 25 miles from the Pacific Ocean, an hour south of Portland, and is named after the small Tennessee town of the same name (which I have actually been to). And residing in McMinnville is the Lager powerhouse of Heater Allen…in fact, good luck finding an IPA or hoppy brew from them, as 95% of their beers are Lagers or lighter brews.
Heater Allen might have similar brews to those made in Germany and the Czech Republic but they add their own unique interpretation to each of the styles and only use the “the finest, most appropriate malts, hops, water and yeast” in their beers. Currently their taproom is closed for renovations but their website says they look to reopen Spring of 2023…which is now! So hopefully they’ll be back open sometime soon…
They offer just one single year-round beer and today I have that brew…a Bohemian-style Pilsner aptly named Pils. The beer is unfiltered and lagered for at least EIGHT weeks. It is rounded out with Saaz hops and features a 5.1% ABV, with four-packs going for $16 each.
Pils poured a clean golden color with just a bit of haze and some moderate head building up. There was never more than a single finger of the pure white foam; which quickly fizzled down into a thin ring around the edge of the glass and left almost no lacing whatsoever.
On the nose, it was sweet and light. First and foremost was a heap of lemon zest that packed a nice citrusy pop. The Saaz hops offered up a hint of bitterness here as well. Behind those initial offerings were notes of crackers and grain that resulted in the typical cereal-like aroma. But it all came together in a very light and crisp smelling beer that I was excited to dive into.
Each sip begins with a flash of hoppy bitterness that is very quickly washed away by the ensuing rush of flavors. The lemon leads it off with some sweet, somewhat juicy fruit notes before the grist takes over.
From there, the taste really evens out into a super light and crushable lager. There are some malty caramel notes, and even a touch of honey, that blends with the aforementioned cereal characteristics to create a sweet yet subtle flavor for the vast majority of the taste.
On the back end, the Saaz add a touch more of that hoppy bitterness but it is still mild and not strong enough to turn off those that aren’t a fan of hops.
It finishes cleanly with a blend of honey and hops lingering for a few moments after everything else. On some swigs it ends a bit on the dry side but it doesn’t happen every time.
Overall, this is by far my new favorite Pils. I’m normally a hophead but, holy cow, is this beer fantastic. Perfect for grilling, hiking, sporting events, dinner…anytime.
If you’re looking for a lighter, crushable, everyday sipper this is it. Fantastic stuff.