DOUBLE MOUNTAIN WAS FOUNDED IN 2007 WITH A CLEAR MISSION: MAKE GREAT BEER FOR CRAFT BEER FANS! Ours is a “brewers’ brewery”, with an uncompromising focus on beer quality. From the beginning, our goal was to make beers that we liked to drink. All of our beers are served up unfiltered and long-aged, to deliver maximum flavor and character. The beers can be very complex and assertive, but with the ultimate goal of proper balance. We aim to satisfy both the hardcore aficionados and the more casual craft beer fan, all in the same glass. With all great beer…. comes expansion! We are growing, you are drinking, so we’ve added a new bottling line to compliment our draft beer selections and fulfill your desire to drink fine beer wherever you are!
GREAT BREWING STARTS WITH GREAT INGREDIENTS All of our beers are built on a foundation of two-row Pilsner malt (malted barley) from Gambrinus Malting in British Columbia. The Pilsner malt provides the backbone of the fermentable sugars without the grainy proteins so prominent in most US barleys. Although lower yielding than other North American barleys, the flavor is worth the extra costs. Our specialty malts come from a wide variety of the world’s best suppliers, including Crisp and Simpson in the UK and Durz in Germany, depending on the needs of our recipe. The vast majority of our hops are grown within a two hour drive from the brewery, in the Yakima Valley of central Washington and the Willamette Valley just south of Portland here in Oregon. Our location affords us the opportunity for regular contact with the hop growers, and we make a point of traveling to the central storehouses in Yakima at harvest time (usually September) to “rub” hop flowers from different field lots in search of the best aromas. We use lots of hops in our beers, so this is important! We currently maintain two house yeasts, which come from Wyeast Labs, the nation’s premier craft brewery supplier, located ten minutes up valley in Odell. The primary strain, which ferments the majority of our beers, is a unique ale yeast that was sourced from a Belgian abbey brewery. While this yeast doesn’t sport the typically estery aromas most often associated with Belgian beers, it does bring provide an extra layer of complexity and subtle European character. Our second yeast is a top-fermenting yeast sourced from Cologne (“Köln” in German), which we use to ferment our Kölsch and a few other beers, particularly our stouts. This yeast has a nice rounded profile and a restrained fruitiness when compared to most other ale yeasts. While our two house yeasts provide us with great flavors and character, we also employ other yeasts as needed. Our Pilsner and Carry Ladd, for example, were brewed with an authentic Czech lager yeast, and we’ve used various other Belgian strains for seasonal experimentations. Our Devil’s and Tahoma Kriek, Lambic-styled sour cherry beers, employ the wild brettanomyces yeast for a full year of fermentation to provide the earthy/tart character dominant in many Belgian-style beers. Last but certainly not least, we use water from our local district here in Hood River. It’s some of the softest water anywhere — even softer that the famed source at Pilsen in the Czech Republic, where the first Pilsner beers were born — and is exceptionally pure and clean-tasting.
BREWING PROCESS Our 20-barrel brewery features a number of hand-me-down pieces of equipment from other fine craft breweries, many of whom were eager to help us get going. Thanks to the folks at Widmer, Bridgeport, Breckenridge, Great Divide and Terminal Gravity, we were able to build a sizable system that will allow us to meet market demand for some time. AAA Metal Fabrication in The Dalles has provided us with some new cylindrconical fermentation vessels as well. In the tradition of the great brewers of the past, Brewmaster Matt Swihart places a strong emphasis on gentle handling of materials and minimal processing. Bucket conveyors make sure our malt is treated with due respect, and our steam-fired kettle provides an even boil. Our bottling line and keg line is state of the art to minimize oxygen ingress into the final beer and provide absolute cleanliness in our packaging. We use copious quantities of whole flower hops in many of our brews, and our oversized hopback (see photo above) is a key part of our process. In addition to providing superior hop taste and aroma, hopback flowers also help to naturally strain the wort of protein-rich sediment, which can cause off-flavors in the finished beer. After five to seven days of vigorous fermentation and a warm rest period, our beers typically receive a minimum of two weeks of cold aging. This process, which is much longer than most ale breweries, provides not only clarity but also well-rounded flavor. Our long-aged Kolsch has 4 weeks of maturation in the brewery. The Krieks age for 12 months minimum, and the bourbon brown anniversary beers will spend up to 18 months in Kentucky bourbon barrels, freshly emptied. Last but not least, we cask-condition some of our beers in classic British fashion, adding krauesen (active-fermenting) beer to the keg to deliver a natural light carbonation and fruity overtones. Our cask beers typically age an extra two to three weeks before delivery to the trade. To learn more about the individual beers we produce, go to our Beers page.
HISTORY As luck would have it, on a rainy day in February 2006, Matt Swihart spied a “For Lease” sign in one of the few light-industrial-zoned storefronts in downtown Hood River. Just over a year later, on St. Patrick’s Day 2007, Double Mountain Brewery & Taproom was unveiled to a thirsty public. With Matt at helm in the brewhouse and then partner, Charlie Devereaux focusing on marketing, sales and the finer points of making a killer pizza, the business hit the ground running. Matt & Charlie met many years ago while working brew shifts at Full Sail Brewery. They shared a common bond —a love of good beer and food, and working for peanuts in a wild and exciting location, the Columbia Gorge. Charlie eventually left Full Sail in 1995 to pursue other projects, while Matt hung around, rising to the position of Assistant Brewmaster in 1999. They kept in touch and over the years, whenever the two got together with family or friends, the evening would inevitably end up on a back porch somewhere, drinks in hand, scheming on Matt’s “next move”. Should it be a farmhouse brewery, or a cider company, or maybe even a winery? In June of 2013, Matt purchased Charlie’s shares of Double Mountain, vowing to continue the good work the two partners created.
Well, here is Matt, almost 10 years later, growing one of the most tasteful ‘beer lovers’ breweries in Oregon!