They just opened, but Pfriem Family Brewers in Hood River already have four unique IPAs on the menu. The Blonde IPA is light and fluffy with a citrus kick and nice bitter backing. The IPA had a weird buttery taste It wasn’t a bad buttery taste, just sort of out of place, covering up the hops. I’m guessing the butter wasn’t meant to be there— maybe that was a diactyl infection. Pfriem’s Belgian IPA is one of the best style crossing beers I’ve tasted. More bitter than the first two and also more citrus. The finish is extra dry with a Belgian yeast bite. And, being fresh hop season, Pfriem brewed a fresh hop IPA. Gentle, arugula bitterness, peppery. No malt to speak of but really spot on.
Aside from the Indian Pale Ales, Pfriem specializes in Belgian beer styles. The Wit and Strong Blonde ales were sort of forgettable — great fluffy bodies, but not too strong flavored or distinctive. Everyone else really liked the Belgian Strong Dark Ale, but I found it a bit alcohol forward. Figs and plums and nice Belgian nose. The Belgian stout was a bit more aggressive in the flavor department, burnt chocolate and that Belgian yeasty spice. Even more alcohol, but less heat.
Overall there was a definite brewery style: fluffy, light bodies and bright fresh flavors. There were some mediocre or safe beers, but they made up for it with enthusiasm and experimentation. I’m super excited to see what the Pfriem Family can do with some more time.