Sunday, November 3, 2013

Thunder Island Brewing Company

Roomy tasting room...
About halfway between Portland and Hood River, you'll find the quaint, riverside city of Cascade Locks, Oregon. According to Wikipedia, the city took it's name from a series of locks that were built to improve navigation past the Cascade Rapids on the Columbia River.

If you have never visited the Columbia River Gorge, you really should. From magnificent Multnomah Falls, to the view from Vista House, to the windsurfers at Hood River, the Gorge provides some of the most pristine beauty found anywhere in the Pacific Northwest--or the entire Nation for that matter.

Thunder Island Brewing Company recently opened their doors in the city of Cascade Locks. The brewery is located in an old port building in picturesque Marine Park. There are a number of large picnic tables outside, with an unobstructed view of the Columbia River, the Cascade Locks, the Bridge of the Gods, and Washington State on the opposite bank.

The large tasting room has a bar and a number of inside tables--good thing, because Cascade Locks averages about 80 inches of rainfall a year. It was pouring down in buckets the day we visited. Nevertheless, the scenery was still worth the 30 minute drive from Stumptown.

We were greeted by brewer and co-owner Dave. Super friendly and the vibe at Thunder Island made us immediately feel right at home. (I have to say the brewery wasn't easy to find. Just take a left turn once you are inside Marine Park and keep going until the road ends.)
$4 pints!

They had three beers on tap: their Scotch Porter (made with a full bottle of Scotch), Pale Ale and an IPA. I really enjoyed the porter. Nice and mildly smokey. The IPA was tasty, too. Dave advised us it was brewed with Falconers hops. There was also a cider on tap from local Fox-Tail Cider. All good stuff!

To me, Thunder Island Brewing Company represents what craft brewing is all about: People with a passion for fine beer, learning the craft and then sharing the awesome results with their neighbors. It's fun and exciting to see these folks getting their brewery off the ground and their doors open.

Whenever I'm taking a trip through the Gorge. Thunder Island Brewing Company will definitely be seeing me drop by, probably with a growler under each arm. I also hope to see their wares in some of the local taprooms.

I'm looking forward to a lot of good things from this brewery in the future. I believe they had a Kölsch in the fermenter when I took a tour of their operation. I highly recommend you take a drive out to Cascade Locks to see for yourself!

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