I’m going to do one of those irritating wine writer things by writing about a bottle you probably can’t get. It’s as rare as can be and put me out four fifty a bottle. Having a bottle of this gem will make your friends jealous. This rare jewel is the Heater Allen Schwarz Lager Beer. That’s right lager beer and it set me back $4.50 for a 22 ounce bottle, but you’re very unlikely to be able to obtain a bottle of this rarity. The reason you can’t get it is because I intend to get there first and I live just ten minutes from the brewery.
I’m lucky to live in craft beer heaven here in Oregon, a state where small breweries have successfully taken away shelf and cooler space from Budweiser and the other mega-brands. Not only in specialty stores mind you, but in gas stations and 7-11’s too. Even the dumpiest of bars will have a selection of serious local beers on tap. As you travel around the state you’ll never find yourself far from a brew pub and there is even a special brew pub map so you’re never IPA deprived.
I met Heater Allen owner and brewmaster Rick Allen at his booth at the McMinnville Farmer’s Market and was lucky enough to buy his last bottle of Schwarz Lager. Believe me, I would have bought a lot more if I’d had the privilege. Rick has chosen to take the lager route, contrary to the usual variety of ale styles produced by craft brewers. His Schwartz Lager is a rich brown with deep chocolaty flavors that finish decidedly crisper and fresher than any ale. It is exciting to drink a beer that is so flavorful, but is not heavy or filling, instead being refreshing and lively with an extremely long finish.
Just like a hot winery, I was lucky to get on the Heater Allen mailing list so I can grab my allocation of each release. No, I don’t intend to share.