Ferment Brewing Company Opens on Hood River Waterfront

Former pFriem head brewer Dan Peterson and wife Jennifer Peterson have spent the last three years pursuing their dream of a brewery and restaurant that takes pairing seriously, without borders between styles and culture. Their brewery, simply called “FERMENT,” was close to opening a restaurant and tasting room in The Yard building at the Burnside Bridgehead in Portland two years ago, but fell through. Ferment solidified a space on Hood River’s waterfront a few blocks from pFriem and has been busy in construction mode; although the space is still being built out, it’s ready for a soft opening to the public today, Wednesday, August 8th, 2018.

Ferment is in an unusual but beautiful space with a unique layout in a brand new mixed-use building where it will be the first tenant. Ferment teamed with Hood River’s Key Development to build a dynamic space that shows off the art of fermentation. Skylab Architecture was brought in to help realize the vision and build a construction plan, while Portland-based OMFGCO will handle the branding and upcoming packaging. The space shows a keen sense of sharp lines, slick surfaces, dramatic angles, and the contrast of cold and warm with modern conservative design elements like the futuristic light fixtures.

lower level of Ferment Brewing showcases the brewhouse behind roll-up glass doors

Ferment’s brewery will be on the ground floor and surrounded by glass roll-up doors into an outdoor loading zone and shared building space. The taproom and restaurant are on the second floor of the three floor building. The restaurant and bar is in a U-shape surrounding the brewery below them in the center. Glass windows provide a pristine view from an open waiting room space and all the way around the brewery to the bar. This allows the 20 barrel brewhouse from Specific Mechanical Systems out of BC (a 3-vessel setup with dedicated mash tun, lauter tun, Kettle / Whirlpool) to be the centerpiece of the space along with the gorgeous views to Hood River’s burgeoning waterfront area on the exterior windows.

view of Hood River’s Waterfront Park from the Ferment Brewing Company taproom

Ferment Brewing’s 2nd floor beer garden/communal space

Ferment will share an outdoor communal space shared by the building tenants that provides a great view and outdoor patio to enjoy a beer. The brewpub will hold the alcohol permit for the patio, but it’s an open space not limited to customers. So, someone from next door’s branding offices can be outside enjoying a coffee on a work break while you enjoy a beer right next to them. Bonus: Camp 1805 distillery, which is just down the waterfront walkway from Ferment, will be moving into Ferment’s building and will handle spirits/cocktails on-site, so someone can enjoy a whiskey while others enjoy a beer from Ferment.

Owner/Brewer Dan Peterson was the first Head Brewer at pFriem Family Brewers just down the block from Ferment. Peterson graduated from the University of Vermont with a Bachelor’s degree in Microbiology and Molecular Genetics. He ran the QC lab and bottle conditioning program at Brooklyn Brewery from 2003-2010 before moving to Oregon and becoming a brewer at Full Sail until 2013 when he joined pFriem.

Peterson is taking his skills with yeast and quality control to even greater use by pioneering a Ferment kombucha brand as well as house beers that range from mainstream popular IPA and Pilsner, to wild mixed fermentation projects and a devotion to traditional English-style ales.

“I look forward to cask conditioning,” says Peterson. “It will happen sometime in the near future. Though I am not dedicated solely to English ales, I do appreciate them. They were an important part of my formative brewing years at Brooklyn.”

The forthcoming wild yeast projects are very intriguing. Peterson has already isolated his own unique strain of yeast. “One thing I am excited about is our farmhouse strain, which I isolated from the wild up on Mt. Hood back in 2016 and have archived at Imperial Yeast. White River Saison and our Bière de Garde are brewed with it,” says Peterson.

The opening beer lineup showcases that broad range: 12° Czech Pils, IPA, L’Or de Noir, Dry Stout, ESB, Lock, Stock and Barrel, Bière de Garde, Old Ale, and Imperial Stout.. Peterson has been producing beers off and on at Zoiglhaus Brewery in Portland for the last few years, and that backlog of supply and pre-planning is allowing them to have a full lineup at the Ferment opening.

Ferment Brewing Kombucha

Peterson has also been making kombucha on-site in a small tank with a focus on old school kombucha, meaning none of the fruited and spiced stuff that much of the mainstream flavors are. Instead the Ferment Brewing Kombucha brand focuses on the teas that provide the caffeine, health benefits and for the flavor with three standard selections:  Assam, Oolong and Sencha. Ferment Brewing will split from the current trend of canned beer and instead focus on bottling.

Ferment Brewing Taproom and Pub will spend as much time on the culinary program as they spend on the drinks. Dan Peterson’s wife Jennifer Peterson co-owns Pine Street Kitchen in Hood River and is a respected member of the culinary community. She has been looking forward to working with Dan since they met and has helped develop a menu designed to pair with the beers in interesting and exciting ways. Ferment Brewing is not limiting the menu to any set style or ethnic variety, but feature a diverse selection not hewing to any particular theme. The Peterson’s has also brought on culinary expert Aaron Woo for the menu that features farm fresh vegetables, savory local meats, and fermented foods.

Ferment Brewing Company is also pursuing the opening of a Portland satellite location and a Tokyo pub. Ferment Brewing in Hood River opens Wednesday, August 8th at 403 Portway Ave. on the corner of Portway and N. 2nd Street.

Follow the brewery on instagram at https://www.instagram.com/fermentbrewing/

Samurai Artist
Samurai Artist

Founder of The New School and most frequent contributor Ezra Johnson-Greenough has worked in the craft beer industry for almost 10 years, doing everything from illustrating beer labels to bartending at renowned beer bars and breweries like Belmont Station, Apex, Laurelwood and Upright Brewing. He has also had a hand in creating events like the Portland Fruit Beer Festival, Portland Beer Week, and the Brewing up Cocktails series. He is available for freelance consultation in marketing, events, graphic design and branding. Contact: SamuraiArtist@NewSchoolBeer.com