Wow, what a whirlwind of a last week! Over the last couple of months we have been working with multiple agencies and bureaucracies that all have to come together for us to move forward so we can get closer to brewing beer. We have now worked through a site plan review with the city for our location and we have been given the go ahead by The Port of Hood River and The City of Hood River for the building of our brewery and tasting room! We have also been notified by the State Government (OLCC) and the Federal Government (TTB) that we are approved to produce and sell beer!
Once we received all this amazing news, Ken and I spent all last week and weekend hanging our Glycol lines! Just in time, as we needed to finish this project before our contractor started cutting the concrete on Monday! As we were wrapping up the lines, the concrete was being cut, I felt like a giddy little boy with all the excitement!
We are over most the major hurdles that could keep Pfriem Brewing from moving forward!
Opening a brewery is a lot of hard work, dedication, and time. Its great to take a break here and there to remember what we are doing and rejuvenate the soul!
Cheers to snow finally falling in the Pacific Northwest!
January 12, 2012
January 13, 2012
If all goes as planned, downtown Hood River will have a fourth brew pub by the summer, and when activity picks up with the wind along the waterfront, people will have a new place to kick back, enjoy the view and sip a cold brew just a stone’s throw from the river.
Josh Pfriem, Ken Whiteman and Rudy Kellner expect their new brewery – called Pfriem Brewing Company (pronounced “freem”) – to be up and running by June. The three have signed into a five-year lease with the Port of Hood River to occupy the eastern portion of the new Halyard Building, and bids to ready the 5,600-square- foot space for the brewery and tasting room are due this week.
“We’re excited, to say the least,” Pfriem said. “The location is exactly what we were hoping for, the timing is right and we’re ready to bring something new to the area. This is a lifelong dream for us. We can’t wait to get started and share with everyone what we’ve been working so hard on.”
The brewery will feature classic hop-forward Northwest varieties, but will specialize in producing traditional Belgian-style ales. The three originally chose the name Cascadia, but felt it wasn’t right and decided to change it.
Pfriem, who has been honing his talents at several breweries over the last decade, including most recently as a brewer at Full Sail, will take on the brewmaster title, while Whiteman will fill the role of general manager and Kellner will remain a silent partner.
For the Port of Hood River, the brewery represents another step toward success in its goal to utilize the waterfront and support economic growth and job creation. The Halyard Building, completed in 2010, will be half-occupied, with the brewery on the east end and Real Carbon, which moved into the space last year, on the west.
Although the building is zoned light industrial, a tasting room and restaurant (commercial activity) is allowed as long as it takes up no more than 25 percent of the total floor area. In an application to the Oregon Liquor Control Commission, the company applied for indoor and outdoor seating for a total of 50 people and for possible live or DJ music on Friday and Saturday evenings.
“Our focus is definitely going to be on making and distributing craft beers,” Pfriem said. “But we also want to have a relaxed space for people to hang out, enjoy the location and have a beer. We’ll be right across from the waterfront park, and we definitely want to take advantage of that with a friendly, family atmosphere.”
Whiteman said they plan on distributing across the Northwest, mainly in kegs, with Belgian-style beers as the main focus for the brand. They also plan on featuring 750 ml Belgian-style bottles.
“We’re looking to do something different,” he said. “We’ll have some classic Northwest beers, but our focus is going to be on traditional Belgian style, which is pretty unique for the Northwest.”
“Craft beer is definitely on the rise right now,” Pfriem said. “And Hood River is an amazing place to be doing this. It’s becoming quite a world class destination for making, and enjoying, good beer.”
We are super excited about our building!
Click here for details on the Halyard Building there are four pages use the arrows on the side to see all the sustainable features!
Here is a walk through video to the future home of Pfriem Brewing Company.
This is another video, from a different perspective.
Across the street is the Water Front Park which is a great place to take the kids, can’t wait for the amphitheater to be built!
By now you must be wondering: Really, another brewery? What types of beer are you going to brew? What is going to make your beer different from everybody else?
Well, we are glad you asked!
In my brewing journey I have always had one thing in mind; create great beer that people love. In this pursuit I have had the honor of working with some really awesome people along the way.
My early home brewing and craft beer drinking days were very influenced by the beers I drank at Boundary Bay Brewing, while I was in college at Western Washington University. Skip Madison’s hop forward beers back in those days were way ahead of their time, they gave me a yearning to drink and make great beer.
When I brewed for Utah Brewers Cooperative (Brewers of Squatters and Wasatch Beers) I learned the mastery of brewing 4% ABV beers. If you can brew an amazing 4% beer, you can brew anything. It is a powerful thing to be part of a passionate team. I have fond memories of the never-ending conversations of how to make great beer even better with the UBC crew.
Before I left on my journey to Belgium Jenny Talley (at the time Brew Master of Squatters) told me “Be ready to have your life as a brewer transformed.” I knew that I was about to drink some great beer, but I had no idea how much it would shape my direction as a brewer.
I had always been fascinated by Belgian beers and loved brewing them on my home system, but after my first couple of days in Belgium the beers actually changed my pallet. The beers I drank in Belgium were so complex in flavor, but yet incredibly drinkable. The hop flavor and bitterness was so much more defined in the beers, then the ones that have been imported to the US (oxidation and time can cause hop flavors to fade). The beers I drank in Belgium are a major source of inspiration to the ones we will be brewing.
Back to Bellingham
Brewing beer at Chuckanut Brewery with Will Kemper further opened my eyes to the technical art of brewing lagers. Brewing lager beer was nothing new, but working with Will’s 25 years of lager experience was very inspiring. While at Chuckanut Will and I threw everything we had at brewing amazing lager beers; well engineered equipment, the best ingredients in the world, hard work and dedication.
When you want to keep growing; bigger is better. Brewing on a manual 200-barrel brewhouse is a rare and beautiful thing, so is working with a crew that is so dedicated to quality. While working at Full Sail Brewing I was able to work with “Big Brewery” technology and equipment at a Craft Beer level. Working with Waste-water Treatment, a technical lab, and tons of experience was awesome. Brewing 66,133 beers at a time is a trip.
Brewing at Home
You know you have a deep love for something when you do it full time at work all week, then you go home and keep doing it. Ever since I started professionally brewing beer I never stopped testing new ideas, techniques, and recipes at home.
Pfriem Brewing Beers
Keeping with my roots in the Pacific Northwest, we are going to be cranking out some well-balanced hop forward beers that all of us know and love so much. Our main focus however, will be on our beloved Belgian inspired beers. We will be concentrating on some traditional Belgian beers with local ingredients and local terroir, but not to be limited by anything. There is a whole world of beers in Belgium alone; we hope to be inspired by them. We can’t wait to brew many of these great styles for you!
Pfriem Brewing Company