Hood River breweries
While outdoor enthusiasts make their way to the Columbia River Gorge and the Hood River region of Oregon and Washington States for the abundant fresh-air recreation – from windsurfing and kitesailing to hiking and biking – the area’s myriad brew pubs are a popular attraction as well, and make for a refreshing way to end an active day.
Once you’ve settled in to your comfortable Hood River accommodations, head out for the day to discover the Columbia River area’s world-class recreational opportunities – come winter, that list includes skiing and snowboarding on Mount Hood, while summer brings incredible hiking to the area’s many waterfalls, biking, fruit picking, birdwatching and more.
The region takes its beer seriously and you’ll want to make time to explore the many craft beers available to sample at local dining establishments and fine brew pubs.
A few favorite brew pubs, all of which are located close to your Hood River accommodations, include Double Mountain Brewery, Full Sail Brewing, Big Horse Brewing and Pfriem Family Brewers.
While you’ll likely wait in line to sample the brews and fare at Double Mountain Brewery, it’s worth it to test your patience a bit. In this fun, convivial atmosphere in downtown Hood River, locals and tourists alike gather for pizza, salads, hot sandwiches and beer … lots of beer. Favorite brews include Black Irish, a Dublin-style stout that is rich and roasty and bitter in the best possible way; Gypsy Stumper IPA, a tangerine and herbal flower-tinted brew named for the “gypsy stumpers” who were hired in the spring of 1980 to clear stumps on Hood River Meadows; and Off the Wagon, a Belgian barley wine that invites heady conversation with friends or a good book next to a roaring fire – there are hints of stone fruit, fig, dark honey, brandy and sherry. Pair any of these with the house favorite F.O.T.M. pizza, a spicy creation with roasted chicken, hot wing sauce from Portland’s Fire On the Mountain and bleu and mozzarella cheeses.
Employee-owned and in full view of the mesmerizing Hood River scenery, Full Sail Brewing has been around since 1987. Named Craft Brewer of the Year 2014 by Beverage World Magazine, the brewery is a favorite of the region’s kite- and sailboarders, who come in droves for the amber ales, IPAs and pilsners. When you visit the pub, try one of the Brewer’s Share Series – these small-batch beers are crafted by individual Full Sail brewers, who have each chosen a charity that will benefit from the brew’s proceeds. If you’re a true beer aficionado, try a sample of Bourbon Aged Imperial Stout, which comes out every year as part of the Brewmaster Reserve Series.
The pub itself sits high on a bluff overlooking the Columbia River Gorge, close to your Hood River accommodations. Brew specialists are available to match your tastes with the right award-winning brew. Tours are available for free four times daily. Not to be overlooked is the pub’s great food, inspired by the Northwest – burgers are made from local rancher Mt. Shadow Natural Meats and the fish and chips use Session in the batter.
House made brews at Big Horse Brewing, downtown, close to your Hood River accommodations, include Strictly Rude, #13 in the rotating American PA series. It’s crafted with Simcoe and Eldorado Hops and there’s a surprisingly smooth bitterness that you’ll appreciate. The Easy Blonde is a traditional German Helles that balances Hallertau hops and Pilsner malt. And the Pale Rider IPA is a favorite West Coast IPA that is very drinkable, medium bodied and reminiscent of grapefruit, pine and citrus.
Pfriem brews are crafted with a nod to Belgium’s great brewers, yet with a homegrown Pacific Northwest flavor. In relentless pursuit of the best beer in the world, Pfriem offers a number of artisanal beers. Try Wit, with its sweet aromas and light, creamy experience. Or, the Belgian Strong Dark with its complex fig, dark chocolate and ripe fruit flavors. The Blonde IPA has been tinkered and experimented with to perfection, a uniquely bold blend of citrus and, as the brewers like to say, the local sunshine.