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Beer Guide 2015: Heathen


5612 NE 119th St., Vancouver, Wash., 360-601-7454, 4-7 pm Thursday-Friday, 1-7 pm Saturday.

[OUTER 'TUCKY] Plenty of production breweries are situated in industrial parks on the edge of town, but few are housed in sheds beside exurban McMansions. Welcome to Heathen, in outer Vancouver. Here, the air hangs heavy with pine and the purr of an idling diesel pickup driven by a guy in shitkickers who brought his empty growler and a German shepherd named Nitro to meet another regular's German shepherd, also named Nitro. Heathen plans to open a proper pub some time this year, but there's plenty of charm at the current operation, off a windy country road and down a driveway where Dodge muscle cars are parked beside a forklift. There are no tables or chairs, and heat comes from from one of those propane towers they use on restaurant patios. In addition to homemade soap for sale (Amber Woods or Blackberry), they have a selection of mostly hop-forward brews. There's no weird Belgian yeast or fruity stuff here—among head brewer Rodney Stryker's 10 offerings are two regular IPAs, an imperial IPA, a Cascadian Dark Ale and a pale ale, plus a traditional brown ale and a dry Irish stout. A few of Heathen's brews are available in bottles, with the others on tap to-go. Get your fill, then get back to the city.

DRINK THIS: The IPAs are solid if they're fresh, but don't sleep on the Dubhgall Dry Irish stout, which is toasty, nutty and extra-smooth off the house's nitro-blend tap system.