The Microbrewery with an Altitude!Utilizing the freshest, locally-produced ingredients and Mt. Hood's pure glacial water, Head Brewer Tom Rydzewski and Jeff McAllester produce an exciting line up of ales for every palate. Located on the 1st floor of the Ice Axe Grill, the brewery is in the center of High Cascade Mountain action.
The Mt. Hood Brewing Co. began operations in January of 1991 serving locally-produced beers and hearty pub-style cuisine in a warm, friendly, family atmosphere. One year and ten months later, in October 1992, the newly constructed ten barrel-sized brewery rolled out its first barrel of beer under the watchful eye of Brewmaster Jon B. Graber. Eight distinctive ales are produced by the marriage of pure glacial water, Pacific Northwest grown barley and hops, and the inspiration of the Mt. Hood Brewing Co.'s brewers. Oregonians can also find these ales on draft in accounts throughout the state, and many seek them out after returning home from a trip to the mountains.
Resurrected from the time of the first heyday of American brewers in the late 1800's, the current Mt. Hood Brewing Co. is named for a brewery originally founded around the turn of the last century in the Southeast part of the city of Portland, Oregon, 60 miles to the East in the Willamette Valley. Operated by the Wilhelm family for a number of years, it was eventually absorbed into the historic Henry Weinhardt Brewery. Like many other smaller breweries, it was founded by an old-world brewer, built up successfully and eventually purchased by a much larger company.
The new Mt. Hood Brewery has been founded upon the notion that, like the best wines, bakery goods, and other perishable products, beer is best produced in small, hand-crafted batches; with the highest quality ingredients obtainable; and sold for consumption very close to its source. With this concept in mind, the brewery has been kept intentionally small and the geographical range of its distribution within Oregon borders. Thousands of skiers, fisherman, hikers, tourists and locals have enjoyed the pub that has now become an institution on the south slope of Mt. Hood.
The cascadian stone and timber lodge that houses the pub was originally a ski rental, gift shop and cafeteria business that flourished in the 1960's and 70's. Take note of the unique flagstone walls quarried from an ancient lake bed in Oregon's High Desert; relax in the warm glow of knotty pine and spruce interior, and enjoy the decor of fishing prints, paraphernalia and carvings.
The Brewing Process
The process actually begins the day before, in the milling room where a variety of specially malted barley and other grains are cracked to make grist that will be used in the mash. The mash-tun (on the left in the brewhouse) is filled up with hot water and grist and held at a temperature of 154-157 deg. F. for one hour, allowing enzyme activity to convert starches in the grain to fermentable sugar. The resulting wort is then transferred through a screen to the kettle (on the right in the brewhouse) where it is boiled for ninety minutes. Hops are added during the boil for bitterness, flavor and aroma. In a batch of beer produced by the Mt. Hood Brewing Co., a formula will call for 550 to 1200 lbs. of malted barley, and from 6 to 16 lbs. of hops; the end result is eleven 31-gallon barrels (22 kegs) of beer.
At the end of the boil, the beer is whirlpooled to separate hop and protein solids from the finished wort, and the wort is transferred down to the cellar, chilled by passing through a heat exchanger, and into a waiting fermenter (the tanks with the cone-shaped bottoms in the cellar) where yeast has been pitched. One to three weeks later, the beer has completed its fermentation and conditioning, and it is ready to filter and keg. As the beer is filtered, it is transferred to a bright-beer tank for storage; then eventually kegged and shipped to waiting thirsty customers.
None of Mt. Hood's beer is bottled, and none leaves the State of Oregon. The brewery's commitment to serving fresh, high-quality, hand-crafted beer demands that each keg arrives at its destination while still in its prime; fresh and wholesome.
Looking for a distributor?
We work with two distributors in Oregon...
6840 N. Cutter Circle
Portland, OR 97217
Mid-Columbia Distributing (Hood River area only)
1110 ½ Pine St.
Hood River, OR 97031