If the Pacific Northwest is a vast galaxy of craft beer – which, at this rate, is more of an observation than a stretch – then our homegrown McMinnville breweries surely make up an important solar system within. From Purity Laws abiding Germanic breweries to newer, experimental labels to local chains that helped jumpstart the industry more than three decades ago, there’s a pint for every palate. And thanks to sheer proximity, Atticus Hotel guests can bounce from destination to drinkable destination by foot or bike.
Granary District mainstay Heater Allen specializes in German-inspired beers, ranging from crisp pilsners to malty dunkels. The McMinnville brewery was launched in 2007 by owner and master brewer Rick Allen. The cycling enthusiast and homebrewer was fed up with the tepid European pilsners that were cooked in transit to the states at the time as well as the lack of many good domestic versions. Out to fix that, Allen fine-tuned his craft and began producing some of the cleanest lagers the New World had seen. Today, Rick’s daughter Lisa does most of the brewing, a second-generation McMinnville brewer.
A short stroll away is Allegory Brewing, the newest addition to the esteemed list of McMinnville breweries. Led by Charlie Van Meter, who cut his brewing teeth under Dave Logsdon at Logsdon Farmhouse Ales in the Columbia River Gorge, Allegory applies a Belgian mindset to a tasty family of Oregon beers. Complex, yeast driven, often barrel-aged beers dominate the tap list. And, on a glorious autumn afternoon adjacent to the train tracks and the winemaking bustle of harvest-time in the Valley, Allegory is an idyllic spot to drink the entire season in.
Golden Valley Brewing sits on the east end of Third Street, in the heart of historic downtown McMinnville. Dating back to the early 90‘s, the brewery touts highly geographic offerings like Dundee Porter, Chehalem Mountain IPA, and Bald Peak IPA. Brewmaster Jesse Shue’s lengthy beer resume includes stints at Rogue, Pelican and Hair of the Dog. Golden Valley takes its inspiration from area craft beer pioneers Anton Ahrens and W.R. Bachman, who brewed here well before Prohibition put a stick in the industry’s spinning spokes. For those looking for a full-fledged meal to accompany their brews, the homey McMinnville pub is a great option.
Equally close is Grain Station Brew Works, purveyors of the aptly named Grain Station Stout and Walnut City Red. The brewery’s work is created onsite, in a renovated timber barn overlooking the historic Granary District grain towers. Ever-inspired by the region’s rich agricultural legacy, Grain Station Brew Works is an homage to the local farm scene, as the vintage labels suggest.
Our next door neighbor, Hotel Oregon, showcases McMenamins beers. The Portland-based chain has been brewing beer since the early 1980s, turning out now iconic ales like Terminator Stout and Hammerhead Pale Ale. With a rooftop bar and typically quite a few seasonal specials on draft, this is a must for those looking for great views and to experience some Oregon beer-making history.
On the outskirts of town but still cycling distance away is Evasion Brewing. The relatively new outfit focuses on gluten-free beers like the Sprutz Kolsch and Hoptensity DIPA. For those with grain-based sensitivities or simply interested in a different style, this stop is for you, although they’re only open on Saturdays.
If you don’t want to leave Third Street, you can still take in a good slice of the local beer scene. Local restaurants tend to feature at least a few standout area beers and tap houses like Bitter Monk pour fresh beer from some of the most lauded Oregon brewers out there. If the three block walk back to the Atticus Hotel is too much for you, the original location of our sister property–3rd Street Flats–is just up the stairs in the same historic building.
Pack a growler, ask lots of questions and enjoy the McMinnville breweries ride.