I love beer and cider. After now having visited over 380 different breweries and cideries, it’s fair to say I have sampled a lot (follow me on Untappd). From post-race pints and run club meeting locations, to beer miles and relays, running and the kegged nectar seem to go hand-in-hand in Oregon. Our Kegs and Legs feature is where beer drinking runners like me can go to find some new favorite beverages.
I love Hood River. It is a small town that is reminiscent of a small Bend. Given it’s location, it is a hub for outdoor sports enthusiasts – from windsurfers on the Columbia, to skiers just up the road at Mount Hood. It’s also a great location for two of my favorite things – beer and running. Today, I am going to feature both of these in the form of a couple of spots to run when visiting the area, and a great spot – pFriem Family Brewers, for drinking either in their spot in Hood River, or in your local bottle shop or taproom.
Probably my favorite spot to the right is on the paved Columbia Historic Highway paved trail. If you had upwards, east of town, you’ll run into the parking area and the trailhead. This location hosts a few races, the most popular being the Columbia Gorge Marathon & Half each autumn. It provides some of the most scenic panoramas around, and the paved trail is lined with beautiful trees. It’s not too often that you can lose yourself in the beauty while still running on pavement, but this is one such location. You can put up to about 9 or 10 miles, out-and-back, or feel free to turn around at any given point to adjust your mileage. I do recommend trying to make it to the Mosier Tunnels, if you haven’t been. There is some up and down elevation shifting, but really not a significant amount. Here is a little background on the trail.
The 4.5 mile Twin Tunnels segment between Mosier and Hood River passes through two climate zones. Starting at the east Mark O. Hatfield Trailhead near Mosier, the 1.5 mile trail leads through semi-arid terrain dotted with ponderosa pine for about a mile until you reach the Twin Tunnels. Spectacular geologic formations tell the story of the gorge’s creation. After passing through the tunnels, you’ll emerge into a forest of fir trees and other common western Oregon plants. Viewpoints along the 3 mile segment from the tunnels to the west Mark O. Hatfield Trailhead overlook the Columbia River.
Another great area that I recently discovered is right along a paved path on the Columbia river waterfront. I would recommend starting on the western end of Hood River Waterfront Park and heading east (for Strava users, use the “waterfront east” and “Hood River Tri Night Run” routes. This will net you right around a total of 3.5 or 4 miles. A perfect length to get your thirst ready for some great beer.
This route is actually made even better by the fact that the start and finish is right near pFriem – one of Hood River’s premier breweries. They have a tap-room with restaurant, which also includes some outside seating options that offer beautiful views of the river and mountains. It is also right across the street from Waterfront Park and their awesome play structures, so if you have little kids in tow (as I often do) you can appeal to them as well.
Last week, when spring finally arose and we had some amazingly nice sunny spring weather, is when I decided to first delve into some of pFriem’s lighter options – a Pilsner, and their Spring seasonal Bright Pale Ale.
The Bright Pale Ale is a refreshing and legitimately flavorful pale ale that really stays true to its namesake. It pours brighter than I anticipated it would and the taste was light and fruity and tasted like sunshine trapped in a bottle. After pouring it into a glass, I ended up just sitting there and smelling the different fruit notes. I’m not the worlds best beer cicerone, but I did end up proving myself correct when pulling out some pineapple and melon scents (there’s also white grapes and passion fruit notes). It actually showcases a blend of new American and new German hops, but I found the pine and hops taste to play second fiddle to the fruit, making this an extremely crushable and refreshing option for many palates.
I am generally hit or miss when it comes to pilsners. There are a handful that I hold high above others. In listening to an Oregon Brewery Running Series podcast interview the other day, the interviewee mentioned that when she goes to a new brewery, she typically starts by sampling their Pilsner as it is a challenging style to make, and make well. I can now add a new one to my list, as pFriem’s Pilsner is one of the more mild and refreshing takes on the style that I have had. This is truly a spring beer, as it has a fresh earthy taste to it (pFriem describes the tasting notes as fresh grass, spring flowers, a touch of lemon zest, and honey. It’s got a lingering spice that follows up a gulp, but it’s unique and understated enough that it is actually pleasant as opposed to uncomfortable. I really like this pils.
Definitely make a trip out to pFriem the next time you next want to get away from the valley, or look for their beers on tap and in your local bottle shops. You can find their take home options in classic 500mL bottles.
- 707 Portway Ave, Suite 101 Hood River
- Open 1130a-9p daily