In 2010 — with his Siebel Institute education, training in Germany and Belgium, and degree from Yale tucked under his arm — Ben Edmunds opened Breakside Brewery in the quiet Woodlawn neighborhood of Northeast Portland as a restaurant and nano-sized brewery. Breakside expanded to a 3.5-bbl brewhouse while winning their first medal at the Great American Beer Festival in 2011 where they have earned medals each year since. In late 2013 the brewery expanded operations to Milwaukie, Oregon with a 30-bbl production brewery. In 2014 Breakside was awarded with the highly coveted Gold Medal for American-style IPA at the Great American Beer Festival for their flagship IPA that was also named to Men’s Journals 100 Best Beers In The World and Sip Northwest’s Best IPA in the Northwest. Peaks and Pints salutes Breakside Brewery today with the five-beer sample flight Craft Beer Crosscut 7.27.18: A Flight of Breakside Brewery.
6.7% ABV, 3 IBU
Qualia is the second in Breakside’s new wood-aged sour beer series, simply dubbed “Breakside Sour.” This is the first year that the Portland brewery is releasing its award-winning, barrel-aged sour and wild beers to wide distribution. A result of a complex blending process and months of aging, Qualia is blended from 15 casks of mixed culture beers. Aged on mangoes after blending, it shows balanced acidity and a kiss of Brettanomyces. Dip your nose for fresh tart mangoes upfront, with some Brett and light oak barrels. The flavor is intensely sour, with lots of fresh, juicy mangos, fairly assertive Brett and oak barrels. It’s complex and with a great balance between Brett and mangos.
6.7% ABV, 28 IBU
Breakside Brewery’s popular Salt & Straw collaboration is a deliciously dessert-worthy beer. Made with specially made caramel and a pinch of sea salt, this is a delicately balanced ale that pre-dates many of today’s cloying monstrosities, offering a full-bodied roast, and leaning on the salt to invite you back for more. A creamy mouthfeel carries roasted marshmallow flavors, sweet caramel and just a hint of salt in the finish. After a few sips, its flavor profile falls somewhere between caramel brittle and salted caramel ice cream.
10.5% ABV, 30 IBU
Breakside Brewery’s Cultivating Mass Imperial Baltic Porter is smooth as silk. Breakside layered on one dark malt after another, performed two mashes to get the rich body where they wanted it, coaxed it through a long and cool fermentation, and aged it for nearly 18 months in bourbon barrels from Kentucky’s storied Heaven Hill distillery. The aroma is loaded with bourbon character, with lots of vanilla and caramel. Flavor is very sweet, with lots of bourbon character upfront, followed by vanilla, caramel and molasses. It’s quite sweet, but not cloying.
6.4% ABV, 69 IBU
Breakside Brewery’s latest Rotating IPA Series release, Thirst Trap IPA, is an experimental combination of hop flavors and aromas with a surprising rich profile described as “Christmas in the tropics.” Edmunds has taken tried-and-true Chinook hops with its huge grapefruit notes and pairs it with Mosaic and Simcoe for a real symphony of hop flavor. The hop trio is balanced with a blend of four malts, including Two Row, Flaked Wheat, Munich and Light Crystal. Breakside brewers brought all these ingredients together to create a beer that has big notes of ruby red grapefruit, citrus zest and pine needles, paired with aromas reminiscent of guava, Sauvignon Blanc grapes, pineapple and mango.
6.8% ABV, 70 IBU
Edmunds is on record saying he adjusts the hops bill regularly for the awarding-winning flagship IPA, depending on the changes in varieties between harvests and hops lots over the course of the year. The combo of Columbus, Citra, Centennial and Chinook is one of their favored combos, which is typically used to brew this delicious IPA. This copper-colored beauty smells of citrus without being too citrusy, tastes of pine without being too piney and shows off its C hops without being over-hopped. It would almost be boring, if it weren’t so good.