Revelation Ale Works
Just shy of the Canadian border, in a town northeast of Grand Forks, lies a powerful brewery. They’re not installing a canning line, or distributing regionally, or even getting a whole lot of attention. But, being the only beer-making facility for many, many miles, Revelation Ale Works is the face of local craft beer to their neighbors.
The town of Hallock is very small – just under 1000 residents. A few intersections – the kind where multiple people may need to stop at once – are surrounded by several blocks of typical homes, not unlike any other rural town. Around that are fields as far as the eye can see. Have you ever witnessed mountains of sugar beets at harvest time, piled up at odd intervals, like oversized potatoes being unearthed? Hallock has. They’re everywhere come fall, when we found ourselves at Revelation Ale Works.
Owners Lindsey and Ryan Evenson moved to Hallock when they couldn’t find the right fit for small town life in Oregon. Though they had family ties to the region, Hallock, they told me, has it all. This being my first moment in town, I took their word for it.
Lindsey, a teacher, and Ryan, a passionate homebrewer, breathed life into their vision in the form of an oddly-shaped, painted brick building that conjures distant memories of an old service station or perhaps a dairy outpost. Ryan, along with his brother, Josh, launched the small venture, and, between the three of them, nearly everyone who walks through the door is greeted by name.
Life in Hallock is intentional, and so is the beer. The array of styles is impressive — during our visit, there were ten drafts available, from Blonde Ale to Pomegranate Peach Smoothie Sour. On one hand, this is a smart move, meaning that there’s something for everyone. At the same time, it’s a bold choice for a conservative beer crowd.
One favorite of our visit was the Grapefruit Hazy Pale Ale. Made with locally made Vertical Malt, the balance of cracker-like grain, herbal hops, and fresh grapefruit zest was a hit. It contained a nice savory element, and the citrus never became sweet, almost like the pithy character of the fruit was allowed to shine. At 6.4%, it shares some IPA elements but remains very drinkable.
On the dark side, we loved the Peanut Butter Stout. While the style, which has seen steady popularity state-wide, can fall on the sweet end (Like Junkyard’s Peanut Butter Bandit) or the more quaffable one (Dangerous Man’s infamous Peanut Butter Porter), I’d put this in the middle of the richness scale. The peanut itself is moderately strong while the ABV is relatively low – 4.9%.
The Brown Ale, too, is not to be missed. Brown Ales have been friendzoned hard in the past several years. The fact that this version had a potent nutty character and robust malt depth was a good example of why they deserve the spotlight sometimes. The Revelation version falls more into the American category, with too strong a body for classic British interpretation.
After seeing multiple growler fills minutes after opening time, I’m convinced that Revelation knows their audience. Locals approached the building with two empties in hand, sometimes consulting the menu and sometimes confidently ordering the usual.
Though the drive to Hallock may not be in your wintery future, I encourage you to sample their offerings at the next beer festival, or on draft at select bars regionally. I look forward to greater expansion, but respect what they’re doing locally.