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Food & Drink » Beer & Drink

A Very Pfriem-y Christmas

The Hood River brewery grows and grows

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The Halyard Building, a ruddy turquoise warehouse facing the Oregon-Washington border in the town of Hood River, is now fully occupied by Pfriem Family Brewers—reflecting the massive growth the Belgian-influenced brewery has seen since it was founded three years ago.

"When I started this brewery," co-founder Josh Pfriem told the Source, "I thought it'd be amazing if I could take over the whole building sometime. We had one end of it, with the brewpub sharing space with the fermenters. And now we have the space for a full barrel-aging and bottle-conditioning system. It was a dream of mine, and now we're getting to that point."

Pfriem, alongside other Hood River beer giants like Logsdon and Double Mountain, has helped make the Columbia River Gorge a beer destination outclassed perhaps only by Bend in Oregon. Waits of two hours or so are common during the summer, but visit during the current shoulder season, and you'll be greeted by a laid-back scene—one where you can sit back and enjoy spicy, full-flavored seasonal favorites like the Winter Ale and Belgian Christmas Ale.

Upon this foundation, Pfriem—which now distributes a fifth of its output in bottles across Bend and elsewhere—has spent the past year undergoing a cycle of rapid expansion.

"We worked with Metalcraft Fabrication to create a new 15-barrel brewing system that really boosts our efficiency," Josh said. "We can produce the Pilsner, our best-selling beer, much more quickly now, and that frees up time for us to play with our other equipment, like the foeders and the three wine tanks we have."

Indeed, 2016 will see Pfriem produce a fairly dizzying variety of barrel-aged beers in bottles. The new space in its warehouse is now filled with spirit barrels and wild-fermentation tanks, allowing the brewery to experiment even more than before.

"We're planning to release framboise and other lambics in bottles next year," Josh explained, "and we want to release barrel-aged beers on a monthly basis, starting with a bourbon barrel-aged American-style stout early on. Eventually, I'd like to start blending lambics to produce gueuze, but that's still a couple years off."

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