The craft beer lost weekend is a terrific thing. It’s the sort of perk that makes up for bottle shop long hours and destroyed hands, at least for a few days. But times have changed since the halcyon hedonism of yore, when Hunter S. Thompson — the most celebrated master of the fine art of spending a spell in a faraway locale, imbibing and debauching — was staggering around, weaving his half-remembered adventures into fabulist prose. Nowadays, no one in his or her right mind jumps from brewery to brewery without an Uber ride. There’s a palpable button-down mentality that frowns on overindulgence. Peaks and Pints prefers zippers.
With Tacoma Beer Week going down Aug. 6-12, 2017, Peaks and Pints thinks its time to rehabilitate the lost weekend as art form, but condense it down to a few hours. We’ll host five breweries along the Columbia River Gorge for a night of imbibing and debauching beginning at 6 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 6. Walking Man Brewing, Backwoods Brewing, Everybody’s Brewing, pFriem Family Brewers and Double Mountain Brewery will pour two of their craft to kick off the week-long craft beer celebration in the greater Tacoma area.
When we have a couple days, and a secured ride, our favorite faraway locale for craft beer imbibing is the greater Hood River, Oregon area. We ride along State Route 14 in Washington, a mostly two-lane road that neatly follows the Columbia River for 180 miles from I-5 in Vancouver to I-82 in Umatilla. Our first stop is Walking Man Brewing; Bob Craig’s craft brewery nestled in Stevenson, Washington near the Bridge of the Gods along the spectacular Columbia River Gorge. Since opening Walking Man Brewing in 1999, Craig has turned over the head brewing reigns to James Landers who churns out solid beers in a tiny space, including the Tournament of Beer: Washington State IPAs second place beer, Walking Man IPA. Down to road in Carson sits the appropriately named Backwoods Brewing, a family-run craft brewery with Kevin and Tom Waters brewing their flagship Logyard IPA to the fall-seasonal Winchester Brown and others in two locales with a hugely popular taproom. Before crossing the bridge to Hood River, Everybody’s Brewing serves as the de facto social club at White Salmon. Christine and Doug Ellenberger’s beers such as the Local Logger Lager and Country Boy IPA have been mainstays in Oregon for a while now. In Hood River proper, along the Columbia Gorge, the siren song of pFriem Family Brewers adds brewing tanks what seems like daily to keep up with demand. Josh pFriem and crew brew exceptional beers (we would happily drown in vats of their Wit and Belgian Strong Dark ale), if you could pull their Pilsner from our iron grip. A few hundred yards away, across Highway 84, Double Mountain Brewery rocks the craft beer, pizza and well, rock music. Owner, brewmaster and musician Matt Swihart is known for his hoppy and sour fruit beers such as IRA, Vaporizer and Devil’s Kriek as well as the brewpub in downtown Hood River’s for awesome pizza, family friendly atmosphere and live music. Double Mountain has become a top Oregon destination.
TACOMA BEER WEEK: BREWED IN THE GORGE, 6 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 6, Peaks and Pints, 3816 N. 26th St., Basecamp Proctor, Tacoma, no cover