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 out “We’re pFrieming of a Craft Christmas” event we present Craft Beer Crosscut 12.14.17: a Flight of pFriem Family Brewers.
6% ABV, 6 IBU
pFriem’s brewers dump 1,000 pounds of fresh Draper blueberries into their Lambic-style base beer to create Bosbessen, which is more blueberries than last year. Using a malt bill that consists of 60 percent malted barley and 40 percent wheat, the brewers use aged hops but without a coolship. Instead they used a heat exchanger to chill the wort before inoculating with a lambic mixed culture of yeast and bacteria. pFriem brewers then mature the base lambic-style in French oak barrels for six months before adding the blueberries from Graves Orchards at an amazing 2.7 pounds per gallon. The beer ages and fermented on the fruit for another nine months for flavors of blueberries, funk, some wood, jam and a nice, tart finish.
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 frontend 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 plum, Sherry, cinnamon, clove and nutmeg, with a bright finish and a touch of warm cherries.
6.3% ABV, 45 IBU
Vic Secret hop’s story began when she was developed from a seedling created in Victoria, Australia, in 2000. She actually shares the same mother and father as her sister Topaz. Vic Secret produces extraordinary clean passionfruit and pineapple flavors with a light background of herbs and piney resin, which shin in pFriem Vic Secret FH Pale Ale — although a little more orange than passionfruit.
7.2% ABV, 65 IBU
pFriem’s IPA is more of a Northwest IPA than West Coast IPA meaning its hazy and aromatic with assertive bitterness rather than lighter in body and brighter that is typically associated with West Coast style. pFriem’s IPA is brewed with Gambrinus Canadian Pilsner, Simpsons Caramalt, Simpsons Crystal Light and Simpsons Crystal Dark grains with Chinook, Mosaic, Citra, and Warrior hops before it ferments with American ale yeast for strong citrus character along with some tropical fruit aroma. Grapefruit and passion fruit dominate with a slight pithy/woody quality too. The malt aromas are heavily masked by the hops, but grainy sweetness and a touch of caramel come through. It’s a big, hoppy delight.