Freebridge Brewing is based in the North Central Oregon city of The Dalles, and was established in January 2016 by Steve Light and his wife, Laurie Petroff-Light. This 10-barrel brewhouse is the first brewery in city in more than a hundred years, occupying a renovated US Mint building. After working as their cellar person for several months, Sarah Resnick took over the Head Brewer role last August. She brings experience from Wyeast Laboratories, Syncline Winery, and Logsdon Farmhouse Ales.
Location: Inviting, historical space
Beer: Northwest ales & German lagers
Branding: Conventional vintage badge with monogram
To get a beer at Freebridge Brewing, you’ll need to walk around the left side of the building, then through the brewery, then into the bar and restaurant area. Don’t worry, there are signs.
Resnick’s brew operation is unique. It’s bright, open, and seen from almost every angle of the brewpub. She may feel a little like she’s living in a zoo exhibit, but I’m sure those who drink there appreciate seeing what she’s working on. She has a great view of the old mint building facade from the brewery. The space is quite grand, something that takes a minute or two to soak in.
Once you go up the stairs into the brewpub, the space is warm and inviting. Many soft lights line the room, a nice compliment to the wooden bar top and rich color palette. For as large as the brewery is right outside, the brewpub feels intimate and welcoming. Fresh flowers on every table help complete the ambiance. I loved the corner of the room with the mounted elk head above vintage couches. It brought texture and character to the space in a very visually appealing way.
Freebridge features a locally-sourced menu, full of American-style pub favorites such as salads, appetizers, sandwiches and pizza. The kitchen is in the basement, a space that also houses their barrel program. I wish it was open for public tours, as it’s a cool part of the building’s history.
Overall Taplist Impression
Freebridge Brewing offers mostly Northwest ales and German lager styles, created by the previous head brewer and fine-tuned by Resnick. The seasonals are fully her creation, and aside from the pilsner, were my favorites on the taplist. Besides having a solid grasp on German styles, she clearly has an affinity for creating well-balanced, citrus-forward brews. I look forward to seeing what she does next!
Taster Tray Favorites
🍺 The Dirty
7.6% ABV 53 IBU 🌟🌟🌟🌟 (4.5)
Super hazy & extra juicy
🍺 Dryland Wheat
5.2% ABV 35 IBU 🌟🌟🌟🌟 (4.25)
Slightly hazy American Wheat Ale
🍺 Scandalous Pale
5.6% ABV 35 IBU 🌟🌟🌟🌟 (4.25)
Nearly 100 pounds per barrel of wet Mosaic hops put the “scandal” in this “Scandalous Pale Ale”. This bright and bold pale offers a burst of juicy fruit with a crisp and clean finish.
🍺 Pulpit Rock Pilsner
4.3% ABV 45 IBU 🌟🌟🌟🌟 (4.25)
Pulpit Rock pours a rich golden body with a brilliant white foamy head that fades into a fine ring around the glass.
Logo: Freebridge Brewing’s brand was produced by Wilde & Co, a Portland based creative studio that focuses on outdoor companies, action sports, and breweries. While they’ve done brands for other Oregon breweries (Bend Brewing and 10 Barrel), Freebridge is their first outside the Bend area. Compared to other items in their portfolio, Freebridge is pretty tame. It seems to fit the studio’s style more than it does the brewery’s, using vintage badge style artwork that relies mainly on the typography. At least the fonts they chose have some character. Considering the history and uniqueness of the building, the branding is a missed opportunity.
It’s not a bad logo by any means, it just lacks originality. This could have been achieved with the addition of a service mark, but instead takes the form of basic circle and shield shapes to contain the FB monogram. I did cringe at the “ORE” and “PNW” letter arrangements. They’re stacked vertically, one of the most introductory of type crimes taught in school.
Favorite Brand Elements: The tap handles immediately caught my eye. The FB monogram is etched into the wood beautifully. The ceramic mugs used by mug club members were also very cool. Each dark piece was original.
(Beer Descriptions in italics are provided from the brewery.)