The Ale list: Ferment Brewing opens doors overlooking the river

FERMENT  Brewing bar area and dining room afford views of the Columbia River to go with food selections and brewer Dan Peterson’s range of English-style ales.

Photo by Kirby Neumann-Rea
FERMENT Brewing bar area and dining room afford views of the Columbia River to go with food selections and brewer Dan Peterson’s range of English-style ales.

Ferment Brewery pub and tasting room opened Aug. 8 on the Hood River waterfront at Second and Portway, in the newly-built (and almost finished) Key Development complex.

Ferment hours are 4-10 p.m., and entry is up an open stairway facing Portway Avenue.

Brewer Dan Peterson presents his range of English-style ales including ESB, Old Ale, Stock Ale and Dry Stout, along with an IPA, Czech-style pilsner, and others.

The beer is currently being made in Portland, but Peterson and crew are about to fire up his new brewing system to complete the three-year process of settling into the new Hood River home.


Locavores, take note. The beer I am most looking forward to drinking — in about eight months — will be the blackberry sour from Double Mountain.

What distinguishes this limited-production ale is where the source fruit came from: All around the Double Mountain warehouse at Windmaster corner. Brewer Matt Swihart, no newcomer to the use of fruit he has walked less than 100 feet to pick, saw the plump purple orbs growing all around the property he bought two years ago and with a crew, braved the thorns and picked 100 pounds.

He popped the mascerated fruit into a tote holding a base ale, and now it sits cool and quiet in the warehouse, for release likely in the Spring 2019.

Quick research finds a moderate selection of blackberry-based beers produced nationally, but few from Oregon. Double Mountain will be in excellent company with Ninkasi and Cascade tart ales, a Gose from Alesong, and the variety of Berliner Weisse and lambics from deGaard. (Bridgeport and Henry Weinhard’s both had blackberry wheat beers a few years back, since discontinued.)

Beer-drinking dates to save

Elks Oktoberfest returns Saturday, Sept. 15 from 5-10 p.m. in the Elks Parking lot behind the lodge at 304 Cascade Ave., Hood River. Admission is free; beer, wine and food available for purchase. Children are welcome until 9 p.m.

Hood River Hops Fest happens Sept. 22 at its regular base, the lot at Fifth and Columbia streets, noon to 8 p.m., with the largest selection in its 15-year history: 50 breweries serving up to 60 fresh-hop ales from around the western U.S. There will also be live music, food and other vendors. Tickets are $10 for 21-and-over entry only; $15 pre-sale for entry, commemorative mug, and five 3.5-ounce taste tokens. Day-of-event entry is $20. Those under 21 get in free; the venue is closed to those under 21 after 5 p.m. Go to for more details.

Hood River Kriekfest has been rescheduled to Oct. 6, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. at Waterfront Park in Hood River, featuring cherry ales (mostly tart), cider and wines from around the U.S. and from Belgium, Norway and Denmark. This is an all-ages event, 21-and-over to drink. Tickets are $40, or $25 at the gate. (The event moves this year from Parkdale to Hood River; it was postponed due to the heat on July 28.)

Dwinnell listed in ‘Six Best’

Recently named one of the “The Six Best Washington Breweries Outside Seattle” by “The Stranger,” Dwinell Country Ales in Goldendale will celebrate its one-year anniversary on Saturday, Aug. 18, from noon to 10 p.m. To commemorate their first birthday, Dwinell Country Ales, at 206 W. Broadway St., will feature special beer tappings, new merchandise, live music, and freshly prepared food.

The brewery, which normally welcomes outside food and hosts rotating food trucks, will offer farm-to-table sandwiches made in partnership with Goldendale-based Lefever Holbrook Ranch.

In addition to grabbing a bite to eat, those who travel to Goldendale will have the opportunity to outfit their wardrobe with new Dwinell Country Ales t-shirts and sample limited-release beers, including mixed-culture ales made with locally-grown fruit. Then, from 6:30-9:30 p.m., Columbia Gorge local Tyson Huckins will perform live original music on their outdoor patio.

Dwinell Country Ales, which focuses on farmhouse-style ales, operates a seven-barrel brewery and family-friendly tasting room in the heart of downtown Goldendale. There, you’ll find a rotating tap list that showcases saison-inspired, mixed-culture beers, rustic ales, and wild ales fermented with native yeast and local fruit.

After a recent visit to Goldendale, Portland-based beer writer Jeff Alworth called Dwinell Country Ales “one of the best new breweries in the Pacific Northwest” and described the beers as “travel-rewarding ales.” Alworth wrote, “(They) are making an uncompromising list of very sophisticated, rustic and wild ales (some of which are also hoppy) that would be outside the craft mainstream in Portland.”

The other “top six breweries” according to The Stranger? Skookum, in Arlington; Propolis, Port Townsend; Engine House No. 9, Tacoma; Chuckanut, Bellingham; and Bale Breaker, Yakima.

Cow Punk collaboration

Everybody’s Brewing of White Salmon and Grains of Wrath Brewing, newly settled in Camas, have released 22-ounce bottles of their collaboration — Cow Punk IPA — on June 15. This will be the summer seasonal release for Everybody’s Brewing, which has a line of five rotating 22-ounce bottlings per year, and the first time they have used a collaboration in that lineup.

“With pounds of Mandarina Bavaria in the whirlpool, and dry-hopped with Citra and Simcoe, we added tangerine, orange and grapefruit zest for an IPA bursting with citrus aroma and flavor,” said Adam McClure, head brewer at Everybody’s.

The breweries created the recipe for Cow Punk last summer, when they brewed the first 15-barrel batch in White Salmon, on Everybody’s brew house. The zest used to infuse the beer comes from Columbia Gorge Organics. Sixty pounds of the fruit rind combination is added to a 60-barrel bright tank and the IPA is then transferred on top.

McClure said that is when it gets tricky. “A pound per barrel is a lot of zest, so once it’s added, we have to monitor the beer constantly. The grapefruit is a strong flavor, and we don’t want it’s bitterness to come through too much. It’s a fine line. Luckily, the zest has almost no sugar, so re-introducing sugars isn’t something we have to worry about.”

When the beer reaches the desired citrus flavor, they transfer it once again to another bright tank. The second transfer is to eliminate any unwanted sediment left behind by the fruit rinds. From there, it is packaged into bottles or kegs.

“The combo of citrus flavors really makes it pop,” said Doug Ellenberger, owner/brewmaster at Everybody’s. “After the reception it got last summer, it was an easy choice to make it this year’s summer 22-ounce bottle. Locals out here have been begging us to bring it back, and we are excited to oblige.”

Grains of Wrath brewmaster and co-founder Mike Hunsaker said, “The goal was to make a beer that tasted like summer. The hops we chose, and the citrus fruit are meant to compliment and balance each other. The citrus notes in the final product are beautiful.”

The name Cow Punk refers to the musical genre by the same name, commonly described as “punk rock meets country” (think Social Distortion covering Johnny Cash’s “Ring of Fire”). The same description can be made between the branding of the two breweries. Grains of Wrath has a loud, in your face, heavy metal theme, while Everybody’s calls the slow-paced Columbia Gorge hamlet of White Salmon home and is best known for an IPA called Country Boy.

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