Beers that got us through the winter: Breakside India Pale Ale; Portland, Oregon.
Date: April 28 ,2019
The Story— This beer took a long journey from Portland, Oregon, to Bethesda, Maryland via Westboro, Mass. I’m pretty sure it would be brighter closer to the tanks, but there was enough there to still make it one of our better beers this winter.
Breakside operates three breweries in the Portland area. We suspect that any brewery that can make it in that packed market has to be worth a close look. Their claim that their brewery has been recognized as one of the best breweries “in the area” says a great deal. (They’re talking a section of Portland, not the Northwest of the US).
We love IPAs and did our share to popularize them in the East. But goodness, there are a lot of them now. the meticulous note taking that we once thought would end up in the Smithsonian seems pointless when there are thousands of IPAs that I know I could not differentiate even with a gun at my head. Still, this one held up well and stands out for a brilliant combination of hops that leaves it nicely separate from the herd.
“Tastes like vinyl sounds,” about their flagship beer in a market that really is not kind to flagships. The vinyl probably plays as well in Portland as IPAs and this IPA has a right to its shelf space. Citra and Chinook keep each other from aggressiveness, but the breadth of Falconer’s Flight and CTZ also keep any one flavor from annoying while providing a satisfying depth of hoppiness. We’ve gotten really fond of the dankness that many beers show — it’s a step back from fruit juices and echoes the spiciness that big hopped beers used to show. This one hits the dank button, but includes much more.
The Beer— “Splendorous” hops they say, and they’re right. The chewy caramel malt is gobsmacked by floral, dank, earthy, oily, and resiny hops. An edge after its long journey can’t mask the the beauty of the hop orchestra in this IPA.
Value — Good. Bombers are expensive, but I’d buy this again. Breakside is at the top of our list to visit next time we’re in Portland.
About these posts: We taste and evaluate over a thousand beers every year. The beers posted here rank in the top quarter of those tastings. Values: “fair” is a good beer at an above market price, “good” is worth the money, “very good” is a bargain, and “excellent” is a steal.Next week we’ll return to visiting fun places to explore beer — and much more–a different destination each week. Our beers of the day will feature beers from this wonderfully wet destinations. For this week, though, we’ll take a quality break and give a shout out to brewers from all over that made the winter a bit warmer. The upside is that some of these beers may be available in a good beer store near you.
A caveat as always: the vast majorities of craft breweries may have a few beers that are usually available, but their most interesting beers are usual season or one-off brews that we may rave about, but you can’t find. Our specific beer descriptions, can tell you what sorts of beers the brewery does well; if you don’t find the exact beer on tap, you’ll probably find something similar.