In an area synonymous with Pinot Noir, Charlie Van Meter is brewing beer. He’s far from the first to do so, as labels like Heater Allen, Golden Valley and Wolves & People can attest to, but his arrival in McMinnville, Oregon, seems to underline the demand for craft outside of the usual beltways. His label, Allegory Brewing, opened last summer adjacent to the railroad track between Third Street and the Granary District in the burgeoning beverage town. With an impressive resume that includes time at Sasquatch Brewing, Logsdon Farmhouse Ales and Yachats, Van Meter brings another set of capable hands to the Willamette Valley.
Allegory has already collaborated with many prominent area breweries and with a temperature-controlled barrel room, future collaborations with area wineries are equally likely. Look out for limited can and bottle releases early next year and swing by the McMinnville brewery and tasting room in the meantime, fit with a new awning and a wood fired pizza cart come May.
What are some pros and cons to brewing in the Pacific Northwest?
I am having a hard time thinking up a con for brewing in the Northwest. We are blessed with some of the best raw materials in the world, an amazing brewing community and consumers who are adventurous.
As a brewer, what’s the most important lesson or piece of advice you’ve learned or received?
I’ve learned from some of the brewers I most look up to that this profession is a continuous learning experience. I try to learn from other brewers whenever I can, but also spend time looking over other trades shoulders to better understand the equipment and facilities I work with.
Is there an unsung beer style you think deserves more credit?
I really enjoy many of the traditional farmhouse beers of Europe. There has been a surge in interest in farmhouse beer in recent years but there are some elegant and easy drinking beers such as grisette that have not quite made it into the mainstream market.
Is there an Allegory beer you’re really enjoying at the moment?
The one in my hand! At Allegory we brew a wide variety of beer styles that gives me the opportunity sip a diverse selection of brews – from lagers and IPAs to barrel aged stouts and fruited sours.