pFriem Family Brewers: From 0 to 100 in Just Six Years

When Josh pFriem, Ken Whiteman and Rudy Kellner cooked up the notion of a new brewery in Hood River, Oregon, back in 2011, they had a notion – because of Josh’s extensive experience as an assistant (most notably with the legendary Chuckanut Brewing of Bellingham, WA, and its brewmaster emeritus, Wil Kemper) and a frankly wonky immersion in All Things Fermentable – that this new venture just might be pretty good. They were certainly optimistic, as proven by the unusually handsome and adaptable digs down at Hood River’s new Waterfront Park Business Center, and by the measure-twice-cut-once thoroughness of their planning. Unlike so many – maybe the majority of – new breweries, pFriem was planned for success.

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Northern California’s new ‘Champagne’ beer could signal the end of the hazy IPA trend

DOUBTFUL. More likely it will just add to the pantheon.-PGA

For those who have grown weary of the hazy beer trend, a new hope has arrived. Unlike the murky and juicy Northeast-style IPAs that have dominated the beer scene for the last couple years, the hot new sub-style of IPA is pale, clear and ridiculously dry — and it was born right here in Northern California.

The first Extra Brut IPA — called Hop Champagne, so named for its high carbonation, light body and champagne-like finish — was brewed last year by Kim Sturdavant at Social Kitchen & Brewery in San Francisco. Largely influenced by trendsetters such as Vinnie Cilurzo at Russian River Brewing Company, brewers long have been using corn sugar to enhance the dryness of their IPAs, but the Extra Brut IPA takes that concept a step further.

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Open Letter to The Bud Sell-Outs: Cowboy Up, Whiners

There are people with whom we become “friends” on Facebook and have never even met in daily life. This is our new paradigm: digital friendships. I contend that these relationships – which many people regard as phony or artificial – can be, in some ways, as close as the more superficial relationships we have with casual acquaintances or co-workers. What do we make friends with, anyway? Our friend’s eyebrows? Nose? Shoes? No, we make friends with the content of their character, their conversations with us, their wisdom or sense of humor. And much of that, their personality and smarts, can be communicated via the internet, just as easily as on adjoining bar stools.

Two days ago, I committed what I – and many others – regard as an egregious lapse of courtesy against a friend whose name I have known for years and whose work I’ve greatly admired for that whole time.

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Cannabis-Infused Beers on the Rise

We had a story about pot beer a while back written by Tom Becham. This is from Beer Advocate-PGA

Cue the “highly limited” jokes. In an intersection of cannabis and humulus, Petaluma, Calif.-based Lagunitas Brewing Co. partnered with Santa Rosa-based AbsoluteXtracts to release SuperCritical, an IPA brewed with THC-free cannabis terpenes for aroma. The August release, briefly available in California, is the latest in a string of brews incorporating cannabis from producers in cannabis-friendly states like Vermont and Oregon.

THC’s non-psychoactive cousin, cannabidiol, or CBD, is a compound found in cannabis and hemp plants. “Hops and hemp are very close relatives, and share many chemical characteristics,” says Bill Stewart, a chemical engineer and maker of infused edibles who helped Coalition Brewing in Oregon develop its CBD beers.

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When Big Beer Thinks It’s Still Craft

In a couple months, Chicago Tribune reporter Josh Noel will release his multi-year odyssey into the story of Goose Island and AB InBev. It is an exceptionally well-reported story about what happens to a brewery and its beer once it becomes a brand in an international corporation’s portfolio. If you want a sense of what you’ll find inside, I refer you to Josh’s latest article at the Trib. It captures all the elements present in his book by describing the moves ABI is making with Goose to perk up a brand that tanked in 2017.

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Beer Profile: Punk IPA by BrewDog

Profiled by Ken Carman

This is a simple beer so it will be a simple review. Yes, it’s an IPA. Just a regular IPA. No real hop flavor. Typical grapefruit nose and pale malt way behind that. NOTHING else. To the taste bitter dominant and, again, pale malt way behind that. Nothing else.

Mouthfeel is tad thin and bitter aftertaste fades fast. Medium carbonation. Nothing else.

Appearance: medium yellow, white frothy head. Nothing else except decent clarity.

I think this is exactly what it’s supposed to be and nothing more. I see nothing “punk” about it. It’s boring, it takes no risks. In a competition I would praise it for it’s simplicity but want the brewer to seek at least a hint more complexity just to provide something here worth latching onto. I simply could not go with a 4. 3.8 on BA and untappd.



Welcome to the PGA beer rating system: one beer “Don’t bother.” Two: Eh, if someone gives it to you, drink. Three: very good, go ahead and seek it out, but be aware there is at least one problem. Four: seek it out. Five: pretty much “perfecto.”


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GrowlerWerks: The PouroMancer at Home

What I’m setting out to write here is a big damned subject, with tangents and tributaries and tentacles. This could, very easily, go on for the same length as a novelette. And I – not exactly someone who is known for brevity – has to try to keep it some length that you can read without taking a nap in the middle.

Wish me luck…

About five years ago, I started to get inquiries – a lot of inquiries! – from folks who were intrigued/confused by the new and booming subject of steel thermal growlers. There were not many of them available, at the time, and I finally got enough emails, asking for my recommendation, that I began to read up on them. Curiously, about that same moment, makers of these started sending queries, asking if I would be willing to try theirs and maybe review it. The coincidence was hard to ignore, so I started replying and saying yes. Three arrived right away. The first of them was just a flat-out Fail: hard to close, harder to open, imperfect seal, didn’t keep beer effervescent for more than a day, broke easily. The third was better but still tricky to use and dented if you looked at it. Fail, Part Deux.

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