Portland’s Breakside Brewery’s creative staff plots and plans delicious beers with Head Brewer Ben Edmunds at the helm, but how does this benefit Milwaukie? While a recent NPR article on beer production in the US indicated that craft breweries account for more than 95% of the breweries in the United States, they still only make about 6% of the beer. Cue the need for more production breweries for craft beer! Breakside’s production brewery will be able to handle 10,000 barrels at the beginning of the operation, and by the end of the year, estimates Edmunds, “if we max out the cellar with more tanks, we might be able to push 30,000 barrels out of the space.”
Opening in May of 2010, Breakside has become synonymous with delicious food and ingenious beer creations at their pub in NE Portland. In 2011, Breakside rolled out 92 different beers. This year? They’re on track to do 80, including returning beers from last year. How does Edmunds come up with so many ideas for innovative taste sensations? He credits his mom with his creative brewing and exploration of flavor. In his younger years, he explains, he was exposed to a “wide range of cuisines and eating experiences, and I think that my interest in beer is rooted in my broader interest in food and drink. Homebrewing clicked for me as an outlet for creativity in a way that no other hobby ever did; I feel a lot of understanding for the motto on the labels of New Glarus’s Unplugged series of beers, where it quotes Dan Carey saying something like ‘Some people paint, some sing, others write … I brew.’”
Artistic expression is apparent in each beer Edmunds and co-brewer Sam Barber craft. Says Edmunds, “(We) have to believe that the finished beer will taste delicious. Whether we brew a very traditional style, like a German helles, or something experimental — like our Gin Barrel-Aged Sour Golden with Thai ginger and kaffir lime leaves — the most important thing is that the beer be drinkable, refreshing, and tasty.”
The production facility will offer up additional jobs in the Milwaukie area – and the expansion is a welcome one to Edmunds. “Currently, Sam (Barber) and I do all of the brewing. Our current business is so busy that 95% of what we produce is sold right over the bar. We’ve actually had to pull back on outside accounts because we can’t keep up with demand given the limited amount we can produce from our pub system.” Continues Edmunds, “It was always our plan to grow the business to have distribution beyond the brewpub, and our new production facility in Milwaukie will set us on that path.”
In addition to the production brewing, the new placement for Breakside will include a tasting room with growler sales. Says Edmunds of the Milwaukie destination, “Hours are TBD, but will likely coincide with weekday happy hour (3 – 7ish) and Saturdays.” With brewers doing double duty as barkeeps, those visiting the taproom will be able to discuss more nuanced details of the beer and the brewing operation. There are no plans to serve food at the Milwaukie location, but keep an eye on the facility as your new neighbors move in, and make sure to welcome them as a pioneer in great beer alongside Short Snout Brewery in your Milwaukie neighborhood. In the meantime, come on up to NE Portland for some of Breakside’s tasty treats and try a glass of the Aztec – a spicy twist on an American Strong Ale with cocoa, Serrano and Habanero peppers, and a sneakily smooth finish on a 9.4% ABV beer. Pair it with the grilled Portabella or smoky Cubano sandwiches, or nosh on the Mussels in red coconut curry and a glass of Quick Wit. You’ll soon discover a reason why Breakside’s impending residence in Milwaukie does, in fact, rule.
coming to International Way 2013
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