Thursday, September 20, 2012

Wallace Brewing Idaho Select Lager

Long time followers will recall that at some point, every single writer for WestToast has lived and worked in The Palouse.  One of the more interesting dynamics of doing so is you effectively have to live your life in both Washington and Idaho.  Sure your license plate will only dictate one state, but it is almost impossible to fully function without crossing that border on a regular basis.  A few days every year, it's even possible to do so without the assistance of a snowmobile!

Typical Day on the Palouse
Last week, I had the opportunity to visit the Moscow/Pullman area due to Alyssa attending a conference at the University of Idaho.  As such, we knew ahead of time that it was vital for us to cram in as much Palouseness as possible in only a few days. We caught up with friends, saw some sights, watched Cougar football, ate some great food, and brought back some bottles of previously unknown brews.  Today, I review the first of my cache.

Wallace Brewing out of Wallace, Idaho was previously unknown to me.  In fact, the only reason I found it was because I intentionally looked for new beers at the Moscow Food Co-Op (aka the best store in the world).  Since I can't speak to it personally, I'll let their website do the talking:
Wallace Brewing Company started on January 4th, 2007 when Dean Cooper and Chase Sanborn sat down for their first meeting. By summer Herb, Tony & the Zanetti Family had come on board and a location was found. The Jergensen Brewery had just gone out of business in southern California and we purchased the whole operation. Rick Magnuson joined the ownership team with marketing and business expertise. 

The next year was spent re-modeling & moving the brewery into the historic Coeur d’Alene Hardware building in downtown Wallace. January 1st, 2009 the Wallace brewery and Orehouse Tasting Room opens to the public.
I ended up grabbing two of their brews; one of which is their Idaho Select Lager.  I almost never pick up lagers, but I'll admit the story on the label pulled me in.  In short, this brew is a tribute to a previous brewery located in Wallace who saved the public by giving everybody beer when a fire in 1910 caused typhoid-contaminated water.  The American flag bottle cap was pretty eye-catching too, although I can't quite figure out why it's there.  I'm all about beer-related public health initiatives, though, so let's dig in.

Brewery: Wallace Brewing
Style: Pale Lager Rating: 3.66 (average user score) Rating: 3.4/5
Serving: 12oz bottle

Appearance: Light, translucent yellow similar to most lagers. Only a thin white head appears when poured with plenty of continuous bubbling.

Smell: Also very typical of a lager. Lots of yeastiness with not much else.

Taste: I'll admit that I was expecting an average lager based off of the appearance and taste, but this is actually a pretty tasty brew. All the lightness and crispness of a lager are accompanied by a little bit of a hue typical of many wits. This stuff goes down incredibly easily, which is thankfully backed by a low 4.5% ABV.

All in all, I wouldn't say there is anything unique enough about this brew to truly make it stand out in the craft beer market.  That said, it is definitely a solid start to what has become a slowly growing Idaho microbrewing movement.  If you're an Idahoan or just want to support Idaho-made products, you certainly can't go wrong with this one.


  1. I miss the days in the arctic tundra when I was forced to drive my 4-wheel drive mobile across campus just to get to meetings.