Day two was split into Hood River and Southeast Portland, Older and brand newer.
Starting at Double Mountain on 4th in hilly Hood River with a single hop beer using the Zappa Hop, Blessed Relief which was different in a good way. That was a taster, followed by a short pour of the collaboration with Solera with Citra and Strata and it was super different in a not good way to me.
Next up was lunch in the river at pFriem with the family (a quorum of the fam, at least) and a sparkling IPA which was fine but I probably should have gone a sampler route or a kriek with the berries in the salad.
Back to Portland with the traffic and a stop at the former Commons, Modern Times location at the corner of Belmont that is now…
…where I had short pours of a Cerne Pivo dark lager that was excellent. Malty with depth but not weighed down. The space, if memory serves, is in the same layout with the bar at a diagonal and the seating at slices of lumber in an L shape around the windows. Plus lots of green punctuated by a cool white menu board…
…with the taps arrayed like a flock of organized birds. I also tried the Great Notion DIPA collaboration and boy was that an orange bomb. One of the most orange beers in both aroma and taste that I have had.. Maybe it was the hop hash or the Phantasm powder.
Last of the day was Chelsea pre-season on the TV at Away Days for a Post Match Italian Pilsner which was not as sprightly as I hoped but still good and the Home and Away IPA, I also have a cream ale of theirs to try. I just adore the footy names of the beers like Der Klassiker.
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.”
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.
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.”
#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.
Our next stop is in Hood River Oregon for 2, count ’em 2, winter seasonals from Full Sail…
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.
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.
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.
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.