My fourth stop in Hood River brought me to the newest brewery in the area, Ferment Brewing Company. Founded in 2018 by a former pFriem head brewer, who also had stops at Full Sail and Brooklyn Brewing, and his wife who has extensive culinary experience, Ferment was created to pair science and brewing, beer and cuisine to create a uniquely Oregon experience at the feet of Mt. Hood. So, grab a seat and your favorite fermented beverage and read on as I recount my experience at one of the newest breweries in the gorge.
- Beer – Their core beers are all under 6% ABV and encompass farmhouse and English ale styles, while the premium beers are limited to multiple barrel aged offerings. This brewing style focuses more on bold flavoring with an emphasis on food pairings. One unique component that reflects the head brewer’s attention to detail and history as well as his microbiology background is how the saison is fermented with wild yeast that has been isolated and grown from the slopes of Mt. Hood, adding a local flare to the beer. Truly, Ferment shows off a solid grasp of brewing techniques and attention to detail that reflects their love of craft beer. Score: 4/5
- Brewery – Modern, bright, airy with ample wood work that feels like a forest cabin, with floor to ceiling windows that let in natural light and provide excellent views to the Columbia River and kite surfing. The brewery is two stories, with the ground floor devoted to making the beer and the second to drinking it. The tap room is set up in a u-shape with windows facing out onto the brew floor, allowing one to watch every step of the process. The whole set up and design is smooth, elegant, and perfectly embodies Oregon and the Pacific Northwest. As for an outdoor space, they share a large patio area on the second floor with the other tenants of the building, where you can enjoy views of the gorge while chatting with someone who works next door. The food menu is a Mediterranean influenced affair that offers unique takes on pub food and is styled to pair with their beers. Fear not, however, for they do offer a few more traditional dishes for those who just want a burger (locally sourced of course). Another unique offering is the in-house brewed kombucha, made from spring water off Mt. Hood, select teas from around the world, and no added ingredients. The prices are reasonable, with a flight of beer at $9.00, and they are open until at least 9 pm every day of the week. Score: 3.5/5
- Ambiance and Entertainment – Being so new, they can be forgiven for not having a large repertoire of events and things to do yet. What I do love is that they have already started having live music and other events hosted at the brewery, including a brew fest and a New Year’s Eve party. While I did not see any televisions or games, you can find some entertainment watching the brewers downstairs work their magic with grains, hops, and yeast. Score: 2/5
- Location – With views of the gorge and Columbia river in one direction and Mt. Hood in the other, several excellent breweries within walking distance, and plenty of shopping and dining equally close by, Ferment is in a great spot. With plenty of street parking, walkability to everything around it, and a lovely park along the river for an after-beer stroll, it’s hard to find a flaw in the spot they chose. Score: 3.5/5
- Customer Service – The only slightly disappointing aspect of my visit was in this category. While I was greeted warmly and directed to the bar, it took a little while for my order to be taken. Once taken, the service was swift, but after that I was mostly ignored until asking for my check. This was not limited to me as I noted several other patrons who received similar treatment. While not a deal breaker, it would have been nice to see a bit more attention to the customers, though perhaps they just wanted to give us our space to enjoy the beers. Score: 2.5/5
Total Score: 15.5/25
Favorite Beer: Dry Stout – 4.5% Dry Irish Stout
Final Thoughts: A gorgeous tap room and interesting take on beers is certainly intriguing and worth a stop at Ferment Brewing Company, though some mild concerns about customer service do give me pause. Aside from what was likely just an off night, this place is worth checking out if you are in the area and certainly makes a strong case to be included right along side the giants of craft beer in the area.