Christmas Beer 2019 # 10 – pFriem Winter Ale

Off to Hood River and the wonderful beers of Josh pFriem and his pFriem Family Brewers. Here is how their website describes the seasonal, “Cozy up to the fire with a pint of pFriem’s Winter Ale and gift your taste-buds with hints of spice, orange zest, caramel and a touch of spruce tree. You may even sense the subtle notes of fruitcake, which might encourage you to share this Winter Ale with your family and friends. Unlike fruitcake, this is a beer that will not be re-gifted.”

PDX Visit – Ferment Brewing Company

I am not “Wowed” by many brewery taprooms but Ferment Brewing Company has designed a spectacular space I never which to drink their beers. On the Columbia River, a tough four minute walk from pFriem, the brewing space is encountered first on the ground floor. You walk up to a large outdoor space with a large rectangular gas fed fire pit spitting flames. You can gather round or take a seat and look out at the River. Once inside the smell of malt wafted up as I ordered at the bar. The furniture and fixtures were classy metal meets wood.

Onto the beer, the 12 Degrees Czech Pilsner was the best of the classic taster tray bunch. Light and floral and crisp. Neither the Pale or IPA left much of a lasting impression. Neither were super hoppy and both were low ABV. The ESB was another middle pack beer but the Dry Stout was super smoke tilted, and almost Rauchbier adjacent on a real light body. There were multiple special beers but I wanted to get a grounding of their core beers first.

2018 Holiday Beer # 11 – Winter Ale from pFriem

Back to Oregon where they have a better chance at snow than we do here in SoCal. This next beer is from Hood River’s pFriem Family Brewers. Winter Ale has “hints of spice, orange zest, caramel and a touch of spruce tree. You may even sense the subtle notes of fruitcake, which might encourage you to share this Winter Ale with your family and friends. Unlike fruitcake, this is a beer that will not be re-gifted.”

Hood River via Fox

#independent beer fans know of Hood River, Oregon. Home of pFriem, Full Sail, Double Mountain breweries and now the Fox TV Network has a show in development named, Hood River. It will be a comedy from written by Travis Bowe who has worked on Family Guy and The Cleveland Show.

Here is the breakdown: “Hood River is a small town multi-cam/multi-generational comedy about a diverse group of people who work and congregate in the town’s brewery. The core relationship is based on two characters, Pete and his mother, Sandy, who are based on Bowe and his mom’s real relationship that he reluctantly admits is more of a mother/daughter relationship.”

Now if this show doesn’t brew an actual beer then that would be super ironic.

New Portland Brewery # 2 – Ferment

It is not new to have a main brewery in Hood River and a taproom in Portland. Full Sail trod that path first. And now a second brewery will be bi-river. (Columbia and Willamette)
Ferment comes from former head brewer at the excellent pFriem Family Brewers, Dan Peterson. The plan is to eventually brew in Hood River and operate their taproom at the new building called The Yard on 3rd and Burnside.

The brewery is aiming for a fall 2016 opening. You can read more about them and why they are so anticipated HERE.

Featured Review – Come Together from Double Mountain

Even if you are not a Beatles fan, the thought of a steam pale beer might intrigue you.

Here is what Double Mountain was aiming for with Come Together: “For Chef’s Week, we paired up with Chefs Doug Adams (Imperial), Adam Sappington (Country Cat), and Rick Gencarelli (Lardo) to create something special. We wanted to brew something that would be perfect to pair with a menagerie of menus and keep things coming together nicely. We chose to ferment a Czech Pilsner strain at ale temperature, creating a pale ale with citrus and pine grove aromas, and a crisp, clean balance.”

To me, Come Together is very much earthy in character. There is quite a bit of bitterness. How this pairs with food is questionable to me. Rye and basil notes to me as well. The lager yeast is quite prevalent. Getting a touch of pear for some odd reason too. It is quite enjoyable but I don’t know how it would work except for maybe a salad with some bitter greens in it that also had a creamy dressing of some sort. A push and pull dynamic. Because even on its own, it is quite bitter.


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Count L.A. as a lucky outpost in Double Mountain Brewery distribution.  Getting their fresh hop offerings and seasonals like Pale Death is great .  And hopefully there will be a supply of Gypsy Stumper soon. Brewed “a minimalist approach” and Pilsner and Vienna malts with Mosaic, Simcoe, Challenger, and Centennial hops intertwined.


Oregon Collaboration Review # 1 – Pfriem & HPB

Hood River to Highland Park.  That is quite the distance for a collaboration but when the brewers at each have known each other for a long, long time then the miles don’t matter.


And now we have the pFriem Spaceship Pale Ale that is dosed with the German Huell Melon hops. Bob Kunz at Highland Park brewed with Josh of pFriem for this hoppy addition to the HPB family.

The pFriem Spaceship has an orange oil essence aroma while the taste toggles between cereal and orange (skin and essence). Overall this light orange/yellow beer is probably more in the hoppy XPA realm than pale ale. I just wish I had a pFriem pale to do a side by side comparison.

Beacause I am greedy.


Hood River, Ore. – Full Sail Brewing Company has released a special beer, “27 Wheatwine Ale,” brewed with 100% Wheat Malt to celebrate their 27th anniversary.

“As a brewer that believes deeply in environmental responsibility, Full Sail made the decision several years ago to invest in a mash filter. This investment saves over a million gallons of water a year and as a brewer there is nothing more sustainable than reducing our water use impact. Not only does it save lots of water but it also lets us brew some very tasty and unique beers,” said Jamie Emmerson, Full Sail’s Executive Brewmaster.

According to Emmerson, Full Sail’s 27th Anniversary Wheatwine is brewed in the Barleywine style, but contains no barley malt, instead, it is mashed and brewed with 100% Wheat Malt. The beer has a rich golden hue and is brewed with Wheat and CaraWheat Malts and hopped with a blend of UK and NW hops. Complex aromas of apricot, spice, and citrus lead to a smooth palate, blended with notes of caramel, marmalade, and green hop overtones. “Doesn’t that sound like a great reward for being good or what? And for turning 27,” added Emmerson. (ABV 9.5% IBU 53.5)

“On September 27, 1987 we opened our doors to living the dream, a dream to open a small brewery that focused on quality, creativity, and authenticity. A brewery that we would run with respect for our employees, the environment, and our community. A brewery that reflected our deep respect for the art and science of brewing. So here we are 27 years later. Very humbled, grateful, and amazed that we got here in one piece. Still a mix of beer geeks and boardheads. Still independent. Still trying to find that perfect balance between art and commerce, work and play, inspiration and perspiration. We are very grateful to our fellow employee owners, our distributors, and our retail partners, all who helped to make our dream real and thriving for 27 years. And mostly, we are deeply grateful to every one of our customers who have toasted, celebrated, quenched their thirst, and enjoyed our beers over the last 27 years. We thank you all for living the dream along with us. “Next time you’re in Hood River, stop by for a beer, sit out on our deck, enjoy the amazing view, and toast to another great year in beer,” added Irene Firmat, Full Sail’s CEO & Founder.