Full Sail Brewery, Hood River, OR

Full Sail Brewing Co., Hood River, OR has views of the Columbia right outside the Pub.
Full Sail Brewing Co., Hood River, OR has views of the Columbia right outside the Pub.

Lunch was a necessity by the time we got done wine tasting as we had skipped having breakfast and just nibbled on the nuts and snacks we brought with us as we left Newberg earlier in the day.  Full Sail Brewery was our choice; I was really in the mood for fish and chips with some cold brews.

Sunday afternoon in mid-February we didn’t think we would have too much of a wait for a two-top, so we were really surprised when they told us a minimum 20 minute wait.  Hungry as I was we decided to accept the conditions; 10 minutes later we were seated and placing our order.  The place was overflowing with customers and the wait staff were hoofing it.  Our poor server was hit in the face by a glass before it fell and shattered (all of this happened behind a wall behind the bar) making everyone in the place pause for a few seconds after the noise of the glass as she was getting our flight together.  She was ok, thankfully, and she did a terrific job keeping up with everything for us.


  The ‘Classic’ Taster Tray and the ‘Seasonal’ Tray were our flights of choice.  It was everything from the lightest lager to the most complex, intense ‘Wassail’ winter ale.  It took a little bit of coordinating to make sure we tasted everything light before moving onto the more expressive and fuller bodied beers.  ‘Session’ label, which is very widely distributed, was well represented on both trays.  If you haven’t tried them, grab some for a gathering and compare them to your favorites – I would love to know what you think.

Our Session label beers were:

Session Premium (red label) traditional pilsner, just as it should be 5.1% ABV 18 IBU

IMG_2341Session  Black (darker steel-blue label) is a bit on the sour side if that is your preference, still good 5.4% ABV 22 IBU

Session IPA (orange label) is 5.1% ABV 47 IBU with a hoppy bite in the Northwest style, especially for a Session beer

Session Export (lighter steel-blue label) is my favorite, smooth, rich and mild 5.8% ABV 28 IBU

Session Fest (dark green label) is a Czech-style red lager is a fruity, semi-dark lager; I think I will revisit this one in the summer if it is around 6.2% ABV 26 IBU

There are also the two current ‘Brewer’s Share’ on the seasonal tray.  A portion of each of these beer sales goes to a local charity:

  • Powder Stash Pale Ale is a traditional grapefruit-hop pale ale, would be fabulous on a hot summer day after working in the garden for a few hours 5% ABV 50 IBU Charity of choice is Hood River Crag Rats (mountain search and rescue)
  • Mathias’s Main Ingredient Oatmeal Stout is a rich, full-bodied dark beer, it tasted a bit burnt to me, but it could have been the temperature it was served at and it was definitely too much beer for my fish and chips benefiting the Sandy, Oregon VFW Post 4273 (we drove through Sandy on our way to Hood River that morning) 5.58% ABV 51 IBU
Outside tanks give you an idea of the production volume of Full Sail Brewing.
Outside tanks give you an idea of the production volume of Full Sail Brewing.

Full Sail classics and one seasonal remained in our tasting:

  • Cascade Pilsner is a nice mildly spicy, grapefruit pilsner 6% ABV 60 IBU
  • Amber is a classic amber ale, especially since it was an original 1989 craft beer bottled, distributed and beloved with gently malts and floral hops 6% ABV 31 IBU
  • IPA, when you know Full Sail’s clientele through the year is primarily skiers, snowboarders, kite boarders, wind surfers, and rock climbers you can almost taste the crisp, citrus rind puckering IPA after playing as hard as you can in the playground that is Hood River 6% ABV 60% IBU
  • Double Bock, the only ‘seasonal’ Full Sail in our flights, was probably my favorite of the day 7.0% ABV 34 IBU as a rich, smooth, full-bodied caramel and chocolate malt beverage – very easy to drink and it went very well with my fish and chips!

We have a full complement of Full Sail and Session bottled beers in Walla Walla, but it was fun to experience the Pub.  Another day, when we aren’t rushing off to someplace exciting we will take the tour of the brewery that is offered most weekend afternoons.  Knowing we needed to get home, do laundry and get back into our ordinary lives we didn’t even consider it.  My partner in wine was due to fly to the midwest very early the next morning and I had more than enough school work to do that was put on hold to enjoy this lovely little get-away.


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