Brewery News: WA: pFriem Family Brewers arrives stateside, in Washington. Welcome back Josh

Imagine this writer gave you the keys to a McLaren MP4-12C Spider. What would you do with those keys? Would you wear the softest clothing you owned, to avoid scratching the interior? Would you lightly tap the accelerator, to avoid stressing the engine?

Or would you drop into hand-crafted interior, start the throaty V8 616 horsepower engine, and slam the accelerator to the floorboard, leaving a thick layer of rubber behind?

Either option are the dreams of many, modestly-priced, car owners. For a brewer there are similar dreams, like owning brewery. Unfortunately not everyone can recover bank financing for a multi-million dollar brewery. But if you are Josh Pfriem, it’s enough to simply start one, let alone lay claim to ownership.

the face of a young Josh Pfriem 'borrowed' from an undisclosed location. Cheers

And dreams have to start somewhere. For Josh it started in Salt Lake City (Utah) at Utah Brewers Cooperative, makers of Wasatch beers (aka, Polygamy Porter).

But this writer won’t dull your senses with tales of long hours spent cleaning kegs, scooping buckets of spent grain, or inhaling dust from the mill.

Instead we’re happy to say that it didn’t take long for this snowboarding, outdoor-minded, brewer, to miss Washington state. Not to mention grow anxious regarding the slow migration towards small-business ownership.

In fact most would be surprised to learn of Josh’s roots in Washington, prior to living in Salt Lake City (Utah). Which is why, in 2008, Josh packed up the van with his wife Anne & child to Bellingham.

Why Bellingham? Will Kemper that’s why.

With the idea of brewing traditional German-style lagers, Will hired Josh as a sort of surrogate, young, version of himself. And this investment paid off well as Josh brought the brewery luck in the form of multiple medals, including some from Great American Beer Festival.

During this same time the Pfriem family took the opportunity to enjoy the outdoors, visit with friends and family, while still pondering the next brewing adventure. You see Josh had a love of Belgian-style beers and it showed mostly through his personal brewing at home.

image of Josh Pfriem & Mike Armstrong circa 2012 at BelgianfestFor this writer, Josh’s goals of production-grade Belgian-style beers was witness when I enjoyed his collaboration with Skagit River’s Mike Armstrong, a Strong Dark Ale.

Josh inevitably would sign his last time card at Chuckanut, in 2009, departing for Hood River and Full Sail Brewing. There he would assume the role of production brewer, learning about the pressures of operating a large production, craft brewery.

Speeding things to 2012 and multiple discussions with silent partners Ken Whiteman and Rudy Kellner, Josh secured a location near the shores of the Columbia River. At 6,000 square feed (out of 20,000) pFriem began to take shape, starting with the 15 barrel brewhouse. Add a decent-sized kitchen, a entrance-facing bar, and bam July 2012.

July 2012? Yeah, that’s when owners Josh, Ken, and Rudy opened the doors to the public. Which so far has proven for the brewery and kitchen, successful. In fact the brewery has high hopes to produce between 2,5000 – 3,000 by end of 2013. To put this into perspective when the brewery and kitchen moved into the 20,000 square foot location, they took over only 6,000 square feet. But after talking with Josh he has indicated they are in the process of acquiring and additional 4,000 square feedt this week. This would increase pFriem’s overall operating space to 10,000 or roughly half of the 20,000 square foot building.

Which is why, after reading that lengthy story, I want to welcome Josh back to Washington state. And before you assume, you should know that this is to promote pFriem Family Brewers. So congratulate him if you seem him.

Starting with Brouwer’s Cafe on March 12, Josh is coming to town to promote his vision of Belgian-style beers in the Northwest. Then on March 13th the brewery takes their beers to Naked City Taphouse & Brewery, before stopping into The Pine Box on March 14th. Finally on March 15th, Josh entertains the crowd in West Seattle with speeches about his favorite Abbey or Abbey-style beer.

For your benefit we have included a schedule breakdown below.



March 12, 2013 6:00 PM – 9:00 PM
pFriem Family Brewers comes to Brouwer’s Cafe
400 N 35th Street Seattle, WA 98107

March 13th, 2013 6:00 PM – 10:00 PM
pFriem Family Brewers comes to Naked City
8564 Greenwood Avenue N. Seattle, WA 98103

March 14th, 2013 6:00 PM – 10:00 PM
pFriem Family Brewers comes to The Pine Box
1600 Melrose Avenue Seattle, WA

March 15th, 2013 7:00 PM – 10:00 PM
pFriem Family Brewers comes to Beveridge Place Pub
6413 California Ave SW Seattle, WA 98136


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