Sunday, March 7th, 2021

Peaks and Pints: pFriem Double IPA and Pacific Crest Trail

Ron Swarner

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Peaks and Pints: pFriem Double IPA and Pacific Crest Trail

pFriem Family Brewers Double IPA was nominated as a fourth seed in the Northern Oregon Region of the Peaks & Pints Tournament of Beer: NW Double IPAs, which will begin April 2, 2021. The tournament bracket will be released soon. Since we’re not touring breweries to preview the tournament this year, we enjoyed the beer as a Peaks and Pints: pFriem Double IPA and Pacific Crest Trail pairing.

Hops: pFriem Double IPA

pFriem Family Brewers Double IPA is brewed with Chinook, Mosaic, Citra, Nelson Sauvin, and Equinox hops for aromas of ripe stone fruit, bright strawberry, and blackberries. Expect bursting flavors of baked grapefruit, ripe papaya, with a touch of malty sweetness, plus a touch of tangerine rind melded with resiny hoppy goodness on the finish.

Let’s Break It Down: 9.1% ABV • 77 IBU • pFriem Family Brewers (pronounced “freem”) is a Northwest and Belgian inspired 15-barrel brewery and tasting room in Hood River, Oregon • Founded in 2012 by Josh pFriem, Ken Whiteman and Rudy Kellner, pFriem has experienced incredible growth and has earned prestigious awards, including Brewery of the year.

Hike: Pacific Crest Trail

Hiking the Pacific Crest Trail completely transforms lives on every level — physically, emotionally, even spiritually. The 2,663-mile PCT from the border of Mexico to Canada is a different order of magnitude. Typically, hikers trek 20 miles a day up and down the steep mountains of California, Oregon and Washington; nearly die of thirst in the Mojave; kick steps up icy slopes in the High Sierra; try not to drown fording rapids; encounter mountain lions and stumbled through lava fields and boulders as well as the landscape of ever-shifting feelings. Peaks & Pints has hiked many sections of the PCT, recently beginning on the Washington side of the Bridge of the Gods where Reese Witherspoon ended her move role journey. The Table Mountain Trail travels along the PCT for 16.4 miles to Table Mountain. It’s easy miles up until mile 5 where the switchbacks begin going north on the PCT. Take the Heartbreak Ridge trail to climb the 3,400-foot Table Mountain.

Let’s Break It Down: 16.4 mile Table Mountain Trail out and back trail, elevation gain 4,311 feet, rated difficult, Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area

Haps: Post-hike Celebration

Back at the Bridge of Gods parking lot, we divvied up the pFriem Double IPA and marveled how the Bridge of the Gods marks the lowest part of the Pacific Crest Trail, as it spans the great Columbia River between Oregon and Washington. Completed in 1926, bridge’s name comes from an enormous landslide that formed an ancient land bridge centuries ago. It eventually collapsed from erosion and earthquakes, creating the Cascade Rapids. We discussed how Reese Witherspoon kicked her early career cuteness right over the ridge, just like her hiking boot, in Wild, the movie version of Cheryl Strayed’s 2012 memoir charting her 94 grueling days on the trail. We agreed while Gillette Lake is lovely, the best place to rest on the Table Mountain Trail is just past Greenleaf Creek, where there are majestic views of Wauna Point, Kidney Lake and the Gorge.

Highway: Getting There

The PCT takes off from the north side of Highway 14, just south of Bridge of the Gods. There is no immediately accessible parking. Arrange a drop-off, hike across from Oregon, or take the West End Transit bus from Skamania County. You can also reach the PCT from Table Mountain Trail at the Bonneville parking lot.

Tournament of Beer: NW Double IPAs

OK, Covid, we’ll just take the Peaks & Pints Tournament of Beer into the woods. …

The public nominated 64 Northwest double IPAs for the Tournament of Beer: NW Double IPAs in February. Beginning April 2, through online voting on this website, Washington and Oregon double IPA drinkers will pick daily winners until the best double IPA in the Northwest is crowned April 24.

Our pre-Tournament hype will be different this year. No brewery research tour. No candid photos of bartenders pouring double IPAs for review. No hotel parties.

Instead, Peaks & Pints will preview the Tournament of Beer: NW Double IPAs by taking the 64 nominated double IPAs on hikes relatively close to where they were brewed. After all, a post-hike double IPA can quench your thirst and begin to rehydrate you, lubricate your senses and, like the act of hiking, help maintain sanity, balance and perspective. Oh, believe us when we say the hike is still paramount to the experience. If it wasn’t, we’d skip the hike and just head to the taproom. Rather, Peaks & Pints is a big believer in hanging at the trailhead with our fellow hikers, divvying up a beer and discussing the hike, or whatever subjects, as we store away our gear.

Join us. Take the nominated double IPAs on hikes. Then, look for the first round of Tournament of Beer: NW Double IPAs voting April 2 at tournamentofbeer.com or this website.