|Photo by Ezra Johnson-Greenough, who has a great|
report on the GABF at the New School.
When you live in a town and spend most of your time drinking in sessions, you appreciate different things. You appreciate those breweries that can deliver the goods no matter what the beer is-- do a top shelf kölsch, IPA, barrel-aged wild ale, kettle-soured German ale, saison, and a stout, and you have achieved something rare. A good metric for this is that moment when you're standing in front of a barroom taplist and see an unfamiliar beer from a familiar brewery. Do you order it immediately or wonder if it's actually in the brewery's wheelhouse?
If you asked a dozen beer geeks in Portland to name city's the best brewery, I'd be surprised if half didn't say Breakside, and if you gave them top five, probably 11 would include Dekum Street's finest. It rewards the repeated visits locals give it, when, over the course of a year as their mood passes through all these different styles, they sample broadly. That's when beers like kölsches pop--when you're really craving one. If you go to a city looking to be wowed by the best breweries and the most sublime beers, a kölsch is going to be a hard style to make the case.
I bring all of this up because over the weekend Breakside picked up three more medals at the GABF, and the distribution of their nine medals is pretty representative of why we admire them (asterisks equal 2016) :
- Rye beer*
- English pale* (two different years)
- "Australian-Style or International-Style Pale Ale" (Their session IPA)*
- German-style sour ale
- Dry stout
- American-style IPA
- English-style mild ale
- American-style strong pale ale
Oregon took home 21 medals this year, and congrats to everyone who scored some bling. Special kudos to Matt Van Wyk, who picked up a gold in brett beer category with his brand-new project, Alesong.