Head for the mountains
Just as there is great food to be had around Mount Hood, so too are there great beers.
Certainly, just about anything hits the spot after an all-night climb, a three-day backpack, or even a lazy day on the Muddy Fork of the Sandy River. But when discretion is yours, there are plenty of fantastic, locally-made brews available to render mass-produced swill entirely irrelevant.
A few favorites:
Hood River’s stalwart brewery — and the third-largest in Oregon — Full Sail has always been a favorite for post-hike unwinding on the north side of the mountain. (I profiled the brewery’s founder and CEO in 2010 too.) There was a time when the only reason to visit this scenic brewery and pub overlooking the Columbia River was the beer — no real problem with that — but they’ve since renovated the pub and broadened the menu, upping the ante. I’ve long been partial to their hoppy and refreshing IPA, but their Session lager, in its stubby 11 oz bottles, is great for river days, and Wassail is one of the best holiday brews every yuletide season.
A little pricey at times up on the mountain, Mt. Hood Brewing Co. nonetheless brews a few fine beers, namely their Ice Axe IPA. And not only does a pint taste even better when you score a window seat in the Ram’s Head Bar with a clear view of Mount Hood just outside, but their old-school logos and alpine-inspired names — Hogsback Oatmeal Stout for one — make Mt Hood Brewing’s just the right kind of libations for the mountain.
Now in its fourth year, Double Mountain Brewery in Hood River makes a heavy IPA — Hop Lava — and they fire a great pizza. Even better: this small brewery’s beers are on tap at its Hood River pub, at more than two dozen local establishments, and at more than 100 places in the Portland metro region.