The Ale List: pFriem Family Brewing scores big in Europe

MORO’s Biggerstaff Saloon, late 19th century, part of “Barley, Barrels Bottles & Brews,” at Oregon Historical Society.

Oregon Historical Society photo
MORO’s Biggerstaff Saloon, late 19th century, part of “Barley, Barrels Bottles & Brews,” at Oregon Historical Society.

pFriem Family Brewing brought home five European awards in November at the European Beer Awards and Brussels Beer Challenge.

“We are taken aback by all the pFriem love coming from our European friends. What an incredible journey this year has been and we are so humbled by all the love and support from our beautiful pFriem community,” owner/brewmaster Josh Pfriem said in the company’s December email newsletter.

The Barrel-Aged Saison II won Gold and the sour Oud Bruin earned a Bronze at the European awards.

The pFriem IPA earned Gold at Brussels, and Silvers sent to its Barrel Aged Saison II and Sauvignon Blanc Barrel-aged Golden Ale.

Earning certificates of Excellence were pFriem’s Pilsner and Brett Saison.

‘Craft Beer Country’

I can recommend Kirk Richardson’s book “Craft Beer Country,” having delved deeper into it since meeting the Albany, Ore., author at pFriem last month. It’s one man’s view of breweries and their wares, and more than that, the brewers, from all over the Pacific Coast states, and what comes clear are both Richardson’s technical knowledge and simple elbows-on-the-bar love of good beer. Richardson’s chapters on Josh Pfriem and Deschutes’ Gary Fish are illuminating looks inside the hearts and minds of brewers.

Waucoma Bookstore has it in stock and can order more (Mascot Books, 2018, 278 pp., $24.95).

Mix-and-Match brews

While still a farm and feed store at heart, the folks at Little Bit Ranch Supply, 2727 W. Cascade, stepped into the beer business in style last summer. Next to the rotating selection of growler fills, the brightly-lit coolers inside the store contain an eclectic selection of Oregon beers and ciders, available in single cans for mix-and-match pleasure. It’s a little under the radar, but notable for the variety.

Meanwhile, a similar offering can be found a few blocks east at Hood River Liquor Store, 2149 W. Cascade. For the same price as most craft six-packs, grab one of the cardboard carriers provided and fill it with your selection of Gorge, Oregon and other western states ales, along with several imports including the estimable Weihenstephaner beers from Germany.

If you’re like me and you don’t want to commit every beer run to buying six of one type, the Liquor Store and Little Bit selections are an excellent option.

‘History of Beer’ exhibit

We wrote a few weeks back about the expansive new exhibit at Oregon Historical Society, which opened in October and runs through June 9, “Barley, Barrels, Bottles, & Brews: 200 Years of Oregon Beer.”

We have a bit more space in his edition to describe the exhibit, which “profiles the people, companies, and legislation that have made Oregon the innovative center of craft brewing that it is today,” the Society states in a press release.

Objects on display are about the history of beer in Oregon and the passion Oregonians hold for brewing extends back over two hundred years. From the Lewis and Clark Expedition to the 19th century European immigrants who established Oregon’s first breweries to the craft brewery revolution centered here today, this hoppy beverage has been a cornerstone of Oregon’s agriculture and economy.

“It’s no secret that Oregonians love beer — and that love has been brewing in our state for centuries,” said Oregon Historical Society Executive Director Kerry Tymchuk. “Whether you are a home brew master or new to the world of beer and brewing, this exhibit provides incredible insights into the crucial role Oregon’s beer industry has played on our state’s history.”

The exhibition traces the history of hop growing Oregon and its impact across the globe, including the momentum that has propelled the state to its place as the second highest hop producer in the country. Some of the most innovative research into hop growing and beer brewing is happening right here at Oregon State University, and visitors will actually be able to smell some of the hops that were developed right here in Oregon.

“Barley, Barrels,” includes more than 100 artifacts, many on public view for the first time, from the Oregon Historical Society collections and from the Oregon Hops and Brewing Archives at Oregon State University.

Highlights include:

  • Historic photos of some of Oregon’s earliest breweries, dating back to the 1850s, and a Civil War-era photo of people drinking beer at one of the first saloons in Oregon
  • A green glass carboy (used for fermenting) that came across the Oregon Trail
  • Artifacts from historic breweries including Henry Weinhard, U.S. Brewery, Gambrinus, and Albany Brewing.
  • A digital interactive where visitors can adjust different beer characteristics to find particular varieties. Videos recreating Oregon beer history and telling the stories of brewing pioneers

The museum is open Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday from noon to 5 p.m. Admission is currently discounted to $5 (through Feb. 14) during renovations.

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