It’s Oregon Craft Beer Month, when the state’s breweries celebrate the production of flavorful ales of distinct varieties, usually in small quantities, seasonably prepared and in a diverse set of styles.
Hood River County claims its share of Oregon’s international reputation for excellent beer with more breweries per capita than any U.S. county.
This month, we visit the many beer-centric establishments in Hood River County that combine for a distinct and evolving beer culture of its own. Next stop: the newest Hood River brewpub, pFreim Brewing, in the Halyard Building on Portway, set to open in late July.
Pfreim’s tanks are filled and “we are starting to keg our beer,” announced brewmaster and part owner Josh Pfreim.
“The plan is to have a small plate menu with an emphasis on Belgian/European food to pair with our unique beer,” he said.
“We’re focusing on Belgian beer. There is as much diversity in Belgium as there is in the rest of the world, and we’ll have some of the more upcoming styles, with their own profiles that will be true to Northwest flavors, based on the rich Belgian beer heritage.”
Belgian strong blond, Belgian dark strong, Wit, IPA and a blond IPA will be first five beers offered at pFriem.
Note that the beer and brewery branding will appear as pFreim.
The catchy visual emphasizes the silent p in the name; say “freem” as in “dream.”
Pfriem looks out on Waterfront Park to the north, while the view inside is of the tall gleaming tanks and brewing operation. The tasting room and brewery are really one large space, with high ceilings and an atmosphere that combines sleek modern industrial with softer rustic.
While the tasting room opening is a month or so away, you can taste pFriem’s wares much sooner at three events
n July 14 — Volcanic Bottle Shoppe hosts a release party at 6 p.m. for pFriem’s Belgian Beers
n July 19 — pFriem release party at Portland’s Bazi Bierbrasserie
n July 21 — 10 Speed Coffee and Dirty Fingers Bike Shop will host an all-ages release party for pFriem’s Northwest ales. Scott Sparks (Americana/Alt-Country/Texas singer songwriter) will be playing from 6:30 to 9 p.m.
Pfreim and General Manager Ken Whiteman have hired a tasting room manager, Bob Clark, along with a kitchen manager, Thomas Lubinski.
Pfreim, Whiteman and others built the bar and counters and the tables and chairs out of reclaimed barn wood from an old barn near Cascade Locks.
The tasting room will be dominated by a long community table intended to create “a place that is comfortable for friends and families to gather and enjoy our beer, food and their surrounding community,” Pfriem said.
“It’s a little of a European influence,” Whiteman said. “All of the founders spent a little time in Europe, and we like people to have the ability to sit down and meet somebody, and make new relationships. It’s a way to do things a little differently.
“We will have a comfortable sitting area by the front door, along with a small children’s nook with books, chalkboard and a handful of toys.”
The French- and Belgian-infused menu will feature steamed mussels and frites, salads, a daily soup, cheese plate, raclette cheese fondue, hamburgers, Flemish style beef stew and sandwiches and other lighter pub fare.