Heathen Brewing Co., was the 65th visit on my bucket list of Washington State breweries. Located in the Vancouver, Washington and about a three-hour drive from Seattle, these far-away locations require real planning and occasionally the right opportunity to warrant a visit. I found the perfect excuse to make the drive south.
My parents were on a road trip from Southern California and had stopped in Oregon to visit with my brother. I saw no reason they should continue the drive to Seattle. What better excuse than to turn a family visit into a new brewery adventure?
I found Heathen Brewing using my Untappd app. Following the GPS directions and navigating through a residential area, I was shaking my head and assuming the directions must be wrong. Instructions are telling me to turn down a driveway. This can’t be right, right?
As you head down the driveway, you pass one house and dead-end at another. Just off to the side in a detached garage-like structure complete with a sign above the entry “Heathen Brewing,” in all its glory. Slowly coming to a stop and slightly afraid to park in front of someone’s house or even turn off the engine, I see the brewer wave; a welcoming gesture signaling we were in the right place after all.
The entryway was covered with large sliding barn-style doors. A small merchandise rack to the left of the entrance, a folding table lined with bottles in front, a tap list on the opposing side of the entry and with just a few steps into the building you were standing in the actual brew house. I noticed immediately that the list only offered grenades (32 oz) and growlers (64 oz). During any new brewery visit, my goal is to sit and sample everything on tap, (for science…obviously). This looks to be a commercial location for kegs and fills. Uh oh, maybe I am in the wrong place.
The brewer generously offered free tasters and indicated Heathen Brewing has an actual tap house (Feral Public House) located in downtown Vancouver that serves flights and food, but this was their actual brewery; all kegs or bottles come from this spot. While the brewer did offer us free tasters, I didn’t want to take advantage. Besides, I wanted to taste everything.
Perhaps, by divine intervention, this particular Saturday afternoon was not too busy. The other guests had left as we arrived, so instead of sending us on our way to their other location to be proper paying customers, the brewer gave my small group a tour of their full brewing operations. I stood inside the grain storage and even climbed a ladder to look into one of their tanks, all while enjoying eight different tasters from their extensive tap list. Actually, that’s a lie. A few brews hadn’t even made the list yet!
- McCabe Scottish Export Ale – Pours a dark cola in color. Low to moderate creamy off white head that fades quickly. Medium body, low carbonation, this beer tastes slightly sweet. Typical caramel malts but not very complex with a smooth finish. ABV: 5.4% , IBU: 24
- Promiscuous Blonde – Pours a golden yellow in color. Little lacing of foam left on the glass. Earthy and floral with a slight wheat undertone. Easy drinking, light and flavorful. ABV: 5.5% , ABU: 19
- Arson Amber – Pours a copper red in color with no head or lacing to speak of. Expect moderate hop flavor with a typical caramel malt base. It’s a solid amber with a medium body. Not overly sweet, but I would like to have more hop bitterness on the finish to balance the sweet. ABV: 5.8% , IBU: 36
- Vantucky Pale- Pours a light copper-orange in color. This is a true NW pale ale with mosaic hops, stone fruit aroma and a grassy finish. I loved this one so much I walked out with a case of bombers. ABV: 5.8% , IBU: 43
- Blackberry Sour- Pours a bright pinkish-red in color. Nice tart flavor. Lots of blackberry. Medium to thin body with moderate carbonation. ABV: 5.0% , IBU: 18
- Marz Spring Märzen – Pours a dark copper-red in color. Typical malt forward, slightly sweet with some hops to balance it out the bready notes. Medium body, slightly metallic finish. ABV: 5.9%, IBU: 24
- RIP Porter – Pours a rich dark brown in color with a big tan head. I got a slight smoky roasted aroma to it, then a hint of chocolate sweetness in flavor. Medium body with bitter upfront with a creamy smooth finish. ABV: 6.1% , IBU: 31
- Absolution Kölsch – Pours a clear gold in color with a thin ring of foam left on the glass. A solid representation of your typical Kölsch with subtle fruit sweetness, delicate malts and light bitterness. Crisp and refreshing as expected. ABV: 5% , IBU: 21
Heathen Brewing Co.