Photo by Kirby Neumann-Rea
BEAMS and finishing siding go up at the first two (of four) buildings at the long-awaited Hood River Outpost complex, a Key Development Project, at Second and Portway. Ferment brewery (ground floor) and taphouse (second story) will fill the east end of the building abutting Second Avenue. The other half is slated to house 1805 Distillery, planning to move a block east from its current home on Portway.
Ferment, Hood River’s newest brewery, will open “sometime this summer” in the Hood River Outpost building, now under construction at Second and Portway, according to head brewer Dan Peterson.
The taphouse and brewery combination is coordinated by co-owner Jenn Peterson, overseeing a core team of five employees, with an initial employee base of 33 people.
Assisting in the beer brewing is Kasey McCulllough, formerly of Redmond’s Wild Ride.
“He’s a very skilled brewer, and it is going to be fun working with him,” Peterson said. “He’s been on for awhile, helpful in getting things in place for the brewery installation.”
When the second-story tap house with its views of the river opens this summer, look for a wild Saison Peterson is developing from a yeast collected from the along riverbed at White River Pass. Peterson left sterile brewer’s wort out in a jar to get it started. “I let everything in the jar ferment in the incubator and isolated in a Petri plate, in five-millimeter batches and test tubes, and kept isolating and doing trials, and came down to this one yeast strain, which we archived at Imperial Yeast (jn Portland).”
Peterson said, “I’m really happy with our own wild yeast, and brewing our own wild Saison in its new home.”
Meanwhile, the brewing systems is nearly up and running. Fabricated for Ferment by Specific Mechanic, it’s a 20-barrel three-vessel system, with a dedicated mash tun, lauter and kettle whirlpool, capable of doing 10-barrel batches.
“Our system is now in place. We’re working on all the services to it, the boiler steam and cooling system, and the kitchen equipment coming into place,” Peterson said.
“We are sure excited. I think of breweries as my home away from home, and I am very much looking forward to getting this up and running,” Peterson said. “It’s a beautiful space, a fun place to work, with a lot of windows and natural light, and a good layout for work flow.”
Ferment is represented along with the other 12 member breweries of Breweries in the Gorge. The alliance formed three years ago now sports an updated website (breweriesinthegorge.com) that features photos representing each brewery (one or two were inexplicably left off the photo carousel in the old version) and a greatly expanded amount of information about the breweries, including this well-stated mission statement:
“We are a group of 12 local breweries with more than 200 fun-loving, beer-drinking , dedicated individuals, lured by the nature and beauty that surrounds us, joined by our passion and love for life, bonded by respect and our mutual commitments to producing exceptional beer. We’re united in a promoting and progressing our craft, and in helping you discover some of the nation’s finest beer in one of the most beautiful places on earth.”
The other member breweries are: Backwoods in Carson; Solera in Parkdale; Big Horse, Double Mountain, Full Sail and pFriem Family Brewing in Hood River; Everybody’s in White Salmon; Walking Man in Stevenson; Thunder Island in Cascade Locks; Dwinnell in Goldenale; and Freebridge and Sedition in The Dalles.
World Beer Cup presented medals last month to Logsdon Farmhouse Ales for its Sn4 Cuvee in the Experimental Beer category and silver for its ZuurPruim (sour plum) in the Mixed Culture Brett Beer judging.
Gold honors went to pFriem Family Brewing for its Nectarine Golden Ale in the Belgian Fruit Beer category.
For Portland Beer Week kicking off June 7, pFriem Family Brewing will be on hand for events including a “Hood River vs. Sunriver Tap Showdown” at Apizza Scholls, 4741 S.E. Hawthorne Blvd., at 4 p.m. and a tap takeover from 6-8 p.m. Juner 12 at Bridgetown Beerhouse, 915 N. Shaver St., along with a Kolsch celebration at noon on June 9 at Prost! at 4237 N. Mississippi Ave. New draft-only releases at pFriem include Japanese Lager and Dr. Rudi Single Hop Pale Ale.
The 12th annual Cheers to Belgian Beers festival, which showcases Belgian-style beers brewed by Oregon craft brewers, takes place Friday and Saturday, June 1-2, at The North Warehouse at 723 N. Tillamook St. in Portland.
Of the 70-plus breweries taking part, five are from the Gorge: Thunder Island Brewing of Cascade Locks is sending Dubbel or Nothing, a Belgian Dubbel; Double Mountain Brewery is serving Dubbel Dukes, a Belgian Style Dubbel; pFriem Family Brewers is pouring Oud Bruin, a Flanders Brown Ale; Logsdon Farmhouse Ales will be participating but has not yet named its beer; and Sedition Brewing of The Dalles is bringing Bilbo’s Precious Strong, a Belgian Strong Pale Ale.
Hours are 1-9 p.m. on June 1 and noon to 8 p.m. on June 2.