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Review: Breakside Brewing

Breakside has two locations. Their primary location is 820 Northeast Dekum Street in Portland and their new taproom, opened January 30th 2013, is 5821 SE International Way, Milwaukie. We have visited Breakside a total of three times. The beer we have described is a compilation of all three journeys.

The Portland location is a split level establishment. You find yourself in a foyer, obvious exits are UP, DOWN, and BACK OUT. If you choose to go UP you find yourself in the restaurant seating area. If you choose DOWN, you find yourself in the bar area. If you choose to go BACK OUT without first getting the Amulet of Yendor (or at least a pint), you may well find a gruesome end at the hands of an ogre.

The bar area is really swanky, lots of mirrors, glass, and lights. The seating area upstairs is restaurant-y, with tables and booths and shit.

The Milwaukie location looks like a warehouse from the outside, because it is. As you walk in, you’ll be facing the brewery proper, with the tasting area off to the right. The bar is really neat looking, with a large clapboard wall behind it. The tables are also barrels, just like Upright Taproom and The Commons Brewery. Also, outside you might see a foodtruck that makes the best grilled cheese sammiches this side of the Grilled Cheese Grill. Apparently they’ll give you a cookie if you tell them a joke (or the cook was really bored).

Insider tip, the joke that will get you a cookie is:

Q: Why did the fish get kicked out of school?

A: Because he was caught smoking seaweed.

Hilarity ensues, and cookies are given freely.

Portland location:

Milwaukie location: Unfortunately (or fortunately?), there are places Google has not captured yet. This photo will have to suffice.

Artist’s representation of Breakside’s Milwaukie location.

blah blah blah

Now on to the beers!

  • Neo-Creme Ale: K and I tried this the first time we went. We thought it was pretty good, however there wasn’t anything distinguishing about the beer. We noted that it was not creamy, although it claims to be by name.
  • Italian Amber: It tasted smokey or malty, without any hop flavor. There was a rich middle flavor, K thought it could be coffee, but he wasn’t sure. There was a malt aftertaste, but nothing else. We thought this was a pretty good beer. Simple, in a good way.
  • IPA: What a boring name. It had front end hops that were not terribly strong and the aftertaste wasn’t too bad. N did not mind it and said it was exactly what an IPA should be. I said there was hops and then nothing. Strangely enough, it was pretty refreshing. K thought it was a very straight forward version of the IPA.
  • Aztec: It sure tasted like a 9.2 ABV beer. I thought it needed a chaser. It was burny terribleness and had a “WTF spicy” taste. K said there was too much heat in the beer. On our Milwaukie trip, N said he forgot how weird this beer was. It was spicy, in a hot way, not spiced like cloves or banana, but like tamales. K said he could smell the spice on the nose and that it was like drinking whiskey to some degree. It wasn’t bad, but he would never drink a pint. N didn’t like it when he tried it the first time and I have to agree. It is a funky ass beer, very experimental and an acquired taste.
  • Dark Lager: Possibly the Pok Pok. It was a light beer that was dark. I’m unclear if that means it was light in color and tasted dark or a dark beer that tasted light. Oh the mysteries of life. Whatever it is, it drank smoothly without any aftertaste and it was pretty good.
  • Dry Stout: I said “yes.” There was some dry malt taste with hints of coffee. N said “huh” and that it tasted like dark beer. Possibly “an dark beer?” K said it was kind of bitter and N agreed. Between the two of them, they couldn’t tell if the flavoring was coffee or chocolate. There was some nose, but not a powerful smell.
  • Cedarbaumbier: N said it best: “Tastes like tree.” And a quote from a 1974 TV commercial for Post Grape Nuts, ” Ever eat a pine tree? Many parts are edible.The things he says, I can’t make this shit up. He said it didn’t smell like a tree and that is was weird. Just before we tried the taster in Milwaukie, we had some bomb ass sammiches from the food truck in front and they may or may not have influenced N’s tasting perception. He continued to amaze us with his randomness when he said that the beer tasted like a Yankee candle smells, the cedar. I also had a sammich and I wasn’t sure if the grilled cheese complemented the cedar taste of the beer. K said it smelled like cedar and that he kind of liked it. It was light and fruity to some degree and reminded him of Rogue’s Spruce Gin. We had a brief conversation with a fellow we later found out was the owner, and even he said “it tasted like tree.” Kudos for the attempt at a beer that is unparalleled in comparison to other beers.
  • Hoppy Amber: We thought this had a definite IPA taste and we didn’t know if we liked it or not. It wasn’t bad or good, but there was hop flavor in the front of the taste. Note: You can tell when we tasted each beer by the length and comprehensiveness of the review. Obviously, we couldn’t articulate shit for this beer at the time.
  • Chestnut Honey Bock: K said it was Rogue’s Hazelnut Brown with honey and N compared it to the Honey Brown by Dundee Brewing. It was too sweet for a pint, however it was the best take of a honey brown style he has ever tasted. K said it was almost awesome. I don’t know what I thought of it since I didn’t write that down…
  • Brown Porter: N said it smelled almost spicey and it tasted like dark chocolate. K said it was smokey and I thought it wasn’t bad.
  • Pilsner: I liked it but there wasn’t too much taste to it thought. I actually said it was like a fuller bodied Bud Light. I apologize, since that is just mean. N said there wasn’t too much to it but it was a pretty clean finish with a little hops and a bit of a malt aftertaste. K said it was moderately malty on the front end and that it had slightly more flavor than a boat beer.
  • Woodland Pale Ale: N said it was not too bad. It reminded me of Rogue’s Juniper Pale Ale. N said he actually liked the IPA better. K wondered if the brewers used a mellower type of hops with this pale ale. I thought it had flower notes to it and N said there was some kind of different taste.
  • Toro Red: I thought it was a smooth red. Very good without much of an aftertaste. N said there was a smokey taste that he didn’t like. K said “whoa…” and that he could easily drink a pint. He disagreed with N and said that the smoke flavor wasn’t too powerful, which he liked. Every tone in the flavor palette: the red, the smoke, and a slight hop, were well balanced and very even. K wasn’t sure which style the beer best fit but I thought it fit well as a red.
  • French Fennel Farmhouse: I thought it had a funky spice flavor. That’s typical for a farmhouse style beer. I would never be able to put down a full pint. N said it wasn’t as spiced as Stone’s Vertical Epic 11.11.11 and that it was more on par with Stone’s Vertical Epic 12.12.12. K compared it to Max’s Fanno Creek’s Reverend’s Daughter. It was light with some spice.
  • Szechuan Blonde: After K tried it, he told N “God speed, John Glenn.” N tried it and likened it to a kick in the throat that made his eyes water. It is waaaay hotter than any “Fire Beer” we’ve had. N said that it didn’t taste bad, but he would never drink it willingly. He would rather go to the liquor store and do some shots instead. I said. ” wow. Throat burns. Holy shit.” K said it was like he drank some gasoline and someone threw a lit match on his throat.

And now, without any ado, our first epic phone fail:

“God seeps John Glenn. N says pooh damn. Franco would lot burn like that. Would rather romp trip to get the alcohol. K says damn you weren’t kindling. Like I drank gasoline and someone threw a match Ono t. Holy shit.”

  • Breakside Black: The tap blew.

Boom.

  • Ale to the Chief: This is Breakside’s take on Obama’s honey ale recipe. N said it had a little bit of hops, but not much and there was a little bit of malt. It was good, but not too stand-out-ish. I said there was a kind of funky aftertaste. K said it was really light. N then said it was a little boring. We didn’t get much of the honey.
  • Oatmeal Stout: N said “Yes, an oatmeal stout. That is exactly what it is.” I thought it was pretty good with hints of chocolate. K agreed with N that it was indeed an oatmeal stout. Works as directed. A solid beer.
  • Oude Noir: N said it was slightly spiced, again comparing it to Stone’s Vertical Epic 11.11.11. The spice was not heavy, but it was there. I thought it reminded me of a beer I’ve had before, but I couldn’t place it. The spice goes away after a few sips. Phone says “L says Linda creamy.” I think K said it wasn’t bad and would drink it if someone bought it for him.

Pints:

K: Chestnut Honey Bock on the second trip, Toro Read then Oude Noir or Cedarbaumbier on the third trip.

N: Dark Lager then the Neo-Creme Ale on the first trip, Chestnut Honey Bock then Italian Amber on the second trip, and the Pilsner then the IPA on the third trip.

B: Neo-Creme then Italian Amber on the first trip, Italian Amber on the second trip, and the Pilsner followed by the Woodlawn Pale Ale or Cedarbaumbier on the third trip.

If I didn’t know it, there are several decent beers on Breakside’s lineup.

Verdict:

They have a metric assload of good beers. Both locations are legit and we can’t pick out one beer that is terrible. They also have nice pint glasses with the cool Breakside logo and a pint fill line. If I can recall correctly, the Milwaukie location has 20-something taps, so there is definitely a pint on tap for everyone and any pint would be a wise choice.

The taster flight.

Milwaukie El Warehouse-o.

A blurry-ass pic of Milwaukie’s interior.

Brew area.

View from the door at Milwaukie.

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