Seattle native Josh Pfriem began homebrewing while at Western Washington University in his early 20s then moved to Utah as a ski bum. He worked at Utah Brewers Cooperative for a few years before moving back to his old college town of Bellingham to brew at Chuckanut Brewery, where he helped win the Great American Beer Festival Small Brewpub of the Year in 2009. He moved to Hood River, Oregon to work at Full Sail but left in December 2011 to open pFriem Family Brewers — across the highway from Full Sail along the banks of the Columbia River — in August 2012. The brewery prides itself on its strong family focus and community involvement, as well as its ingredients — while many craft brewery websites list the notable spices and hops used in their brews, none we’ve encountered boast the encyclopedic cataloging of every ingredient the way pFriem does. pFriem Family Brewers will be at Peaks and Pints tonight, beginning at 6 p.m. In conjunction with our “We’re pFrieming of a Craft Beer Christmas” event we present Craft Beer Crosscut 12.13.18: A Flight of pFriem.
Craft Beer Crosscut 12.13.18: a Flight of pFriem
7.9% ABV, 35 IBU
Yup, a hazy IPA from a brewery known for its clear beers. Mosaic, Citra, El Dorado, Denali mix with Gambrinus Pilsner malt, Rahr Pale malt, Rahr raw wheat and Grain Millers flaked oats for aroma of juicy pithy citrus, tons of mandarin orange, lemon and mango. Flavor is likewise — plenty juicy, pretty restrained sweetness, body is lightly creamy and smooth. Balanced citrus rind bitterness gives way to a pillowy warmth.
4.9% ABV, 38 IBU
Visually, the pFriem Pilsner may be the lightest beer we’ve ever seen. It pours with a delicate green tint, a fluffy white head, and a crystal-clear complexion. Pastoral aromas of flowers and meadow grains combined nicely with a typical maltiness pilsner scent. The taste is the best part, though, with a deep dryness at the back of the mouth and the faint minerality that’s so crucial to a pilsner. Though it’s a term with varying meaning, pFriem Pilsner highly “drinkable,” and perhaps dangerously so — with its lovely front end and low carbonation, pFriem’s Pilsner goes down easy as a breeze.
10.3% ABV, 38 IBU
pFriem brewers elected to sit their Belgian-style ale in Courvoisier Cognac barrels that previously housed distilled wine made from Ugni Blanc. Before it slumbered for a year, a Belgian yeast strain was added to the mix, insuring that the liquid made with pilsner malt, dark Belgian candi sugar and Tettnang, Perle and Styrian Golding Celeia hops inside evolved gently with time. After it’s departure from the barrel, the delicate ester-rich fruit notes, typical to a Trappist beer, remained in tact, but they wrapped in a warm spice blanket. The 10.3% ABV beer offers a pleasing degree of toffee, ripe plumb, Sherry, cinnamon, clove and nutmeg, with a bright finish and a touch of warm cherries.
7.5% ABV, 45 IBU
This is a juicier version of pFriem’s award winning winter ale, made specifically for Portland’s Holiday Ale Festival. This IPA showcases a ridiculous amount of Amarillo, Citra, El Dorado, Mosaic and Vic Secret hops. Guava, starfruit and clementine, with a touch of orange and cloves hit the nose followed by ripe notes of cantaloupe, peach, kiwi, and mango purée. It finishes with a blast of tropical punch and a juicy maltiness.
7.8% ABV, 70 IBU
pFriem’s Dank IPA was inspired by installing a centrifuge, a machine that separates beer from the hops left over from dry hopping, which in doing so creates bright and dank hop flavors from Chinook, Mosaic, Citra, Warrior, Nelson and Columbus. The Hood River, Oregon brewery wanted to play off of this so it brewed an IPA with the most “dank” hops available to see how far it could push this beer. It’s pushed. The aroma is big dank hops, with a touch of malt and hop fruitiness. Flavor is much the same with lots of piney hop and oranges, not terribly dank, but with a delightful hop characteristic.