Hood River, Oregon’s Ferment Brewing has just completed their first year in business and capped it with a GOLD medal at the Great American Beer Festival for their Pale Ale. Since opening last year after years of delays, Ferment Brewing has become a burgeoning destination on Hood River’s waterfront business strip, just down the street from pFriem.
Head Brewer Dan Peterson is a veteran of Brooklyn Brewery and Full Sail, who last worked as the original head brewer at pFriem. Peterson and his wife Jenn Peterson ventured out on their own to start Ferment in 2015, three years before it became a reality.
Ferment Brewing Co. won the Gold medal in English-Style or International-Style Pale Ale for the Ferment Pale Ale. Peterson and Ferment drew inspiration from the brewing traditions of Burton-on-Trent at the turn of the 19th century. Heirloom malted barley and hop varieties come together to produce a result that is crisp and refreshing, featuring a complex depth of character with notes of tea, marmalade, and a hint of rose.
Ferment Brewing is a bit of an odd duck, and I mean that in a positive way. You are not going to find a brewery in Oregon that pairs classic English-style Ales like Mild, ESB and Porter with mixed culture saisons, pilsners and housemade kombucha. It will be interesting to see if their Gold Medal winning Pale Ale becomes the star of the show and gets elevated to a flagship of the brewery.
“Winning GABF gold for our Pale Ale has been a great honor and thrill for me,” said Dan Peterson, Brewmaster at Ferment Brewing Co. “This beer, in particular, has been at the heart of the Ferment brewing philosophy from the start. It was the first recipe of 35––so far––that we developed and was central to our concept of brewing beer to style, yet giving it a unique personality, all while making it approachable for all.”
Added Peterson, “English-style pale ales are a study in balancing subtle, somewhat savory, malt notes and earthy hops with a mildly fruity yeast character. In this case, our Pale Ale uses an all English-sourced grain bill with English hops leading the charge in the kettle; we couldn’t be more pleased with the result.”
If you have not visited Ferment Brewing recently, or ever, there is a lot of new on the taplist. Not only can you try that world-class medal winning Pale Ale, but the Peterson’s have some new beers on the block.
The Sentinel – is a perfect example of the dichotomy of styles you will find at Ferment. It’s a mixed culture saison, moderately tart with the earthy, funkiness that comes with brett. The Sentinel was actually fermented with a house wild yeast strain that Dan Peterson isolated himself from the side of Mt. Hood. The beer then spent the better part of a year in French oak wine barrels and finally was charged with Doug Fir tips. The result is a winey, oaky, complex and peppery beer with doug fir hiding in the cut, adding spicy complexity. It’s also great to find this beer at only 5.3% ABV, it was the highlight of a recent visit to the taproom.
Smoked Dunkelweisse – both Dunkel’s and smoked beers are hard to sells to consumers these days, but Dan Peterson says he has been pleasantly surprised at how well this one has went over. In Ferment Smoked Dunkelweisse bold flavors come together to build layers of depth in this variation of a Bavarian Weissbier. A German weizen yeast strain contributes banana and clove notes, while Munich and chocolate malts bring rich bready substance. German beech wood smoked barley malt and oak smoked wheat lend an exotic, savory component. The resulting brew is dry and refreshing, slightly tart, and loaded with aromas and flavors for you to explore. Abv: 5.7% | Bitterness: 14 IBU.
Coming soon: Lord of Noir –the first bottling of this complex wild ale is coming in time for winter. Lord of Noir is a wine influenced farmhouse ale with a strong biere de garde as a base beer. LofN is fermented with a wine yeast on red wine grape lees and aged primarily in pinot noir barrels from Idiot’s Grace in Mosier, Oregon. Look for bottles of Lord of Noir is set to be bottled this November and then bottle conditioned for a holiday release.
For more information, visit FermentBrewing.com and engage with the company on social media at @FermentBrewing.
About Ferment Brewing Co. Ferment Brewing Co. was founded in 2018 as a 20-barrel brewery and tasting room in Hood River, Oregon. Born out of an appreciation for the art of fermentation, the company prides itself in providing a modern brewery and tasting room experience that fuses traditional farmhouse techniques with a forward-thinking scientific approach. Ferment offers a unique family of beers and kombuchas that tap the wild terrain of the Columbia River Gorge for inspiration.
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.