Perched on the shores of the Columbia River, Pfriem Family Brewers invited us to Hood River to try their lineup of innovative Belgian ales and share their vision of a family brewing legacy in the making.
With some breweries it’s easy to get the sense that their focus is on the past. They talk a lot about history and bringing back the way brewing used to be. Spend a day with Pfriem Family Brewers and you’ll see that although their roots are set in traditional styles and techniques, their vision is squarely on the future. Perched on the shores of the Columbia, their Hood River location is a perfect example of how they manage to blend the future and the past. The certified green building features solar panels and a rainwater collection system while the bar-top and tap handles are crafted from wood salvaged from an old hop barn.
The balance between new and old comes through in their beers as well. “I’ve fallen in love with Belgian beers,” owner and brewer Josh Pfriem told us. Inspired by a trip to Belgium, PFB has brought the old world to the Pacific Northwest incorporating American hop forward flavor with traditional Belgian styles. The results are hard to ignore. Head brewer Dan Peterson loves how customers react. “I think everyone who’s tried these beers has said, ‘Wow, that’s something different.’”
Word has gotten out. Open less than a year, the brewery is already set to expand. The additional space will include a lab for Dan (a microbiologist by training) to play with different yeast strains and room for some much anticipated barrel aging. Distribution is increasing steadily and they also plan to start bottling soon.
And as the brewery grows, so does the Pfriem family. “You can see me come through the brewery on most days with one kid on my hip and another in hand,” Annie Pfriem, Josh’s wife and the brewery’s media and event coordinator told us. It sounds like Pfriem’s in good hands for years to come. “Our 6 year old daughter has been known to sell rocks to our neighbors so she may have a future in our marketing department. But our 3 year old son is dead sold. He’s gonna be a brewer.”