Up in Portland, Oregon recently I found myself looking for food and beer at the end of a long day on the road. Fortuitously for me, Breakside Brewing’s original taproom and brewpub was close by. They have been a favorite of mine since moving to Oregon and I was excited at the chance to check them out. Having been around since 2010, they have grown rapidly to three taprooms scattered around the various districts of Portland. This review will focus on the Dekum street taproom in northeast Portland, so pour yourself a cold one and grab a seat as I break down my trip to Breakside Brewery.
- Beer – This is another one of those breweries where I have had many of their beers from the store since moving to Oregon but have never had the chance to visit. What I have had so far, I have liked, and the ones directly from the well-spring (beer-spring?) were no different. Their tap list has plenty of variety, though most of their year-round selections favor the wheat beer and IPA varieties. What makes their brews unique is the spotlight they place on bright, fruity flavors in almost all their creations, making them very crisp, exceptionally refreshing, and so very crushable. They have an excellent variety of rotating taps with offerings ranging from stouts to sour beers for every palate option out there. My top-rated beer was their limited release red ale, though in all honesty I enjoyed everything I have drank from Breakside. Score: 4/5
- Brewery – As you walk up to the Dekum pub, the first thing that catches your eye is the spacious outdoor seating area that in the summer months is guaranteed to be packed. Stepping inside, you will find an equally crowded yet surprisingly spacious split-level interior, one with tons of wood accents and an industrial feel to it. One of my favorite parts were the large rolling doors that let in enough light to give the place a bright and airy feel, even in the dreary PNW winters. Seating is mostly relegated to tables and booths, though there is a modest sized bar off in the corner that you could park at if you are just there for the beer. The menu would best be described as pub-style fair, dominated by wraps, sandwiches, and burgers, interspersed with appetizers and salads. My meal was darn good, with a decent portion size, and prices that fit for a place like this in Portland (read: a sandwich or burger will run you around $10-15). A flight of beer will get you six tasters and cost you around $12, with generous pours that will somewhat make up for the steeper price. Score: 3.5/5
- Ambiance and Entertainment – The main form of entertainment you will find here is that which you bring with you. Yes, there are televisions available to watch the Timbers or whatever other event is on, but most people will come here to eat and drink with friends, and hopefully stay and enjoy lots of beer. Occasional bottle releases dot their event schedule, yet I see no mention of live music, trivia nights, or any other fun things that could drive up foot traffic. It would be nice to see some of these as I think this location would be a great spot for relaxing with friends while enjoying some tunes, and without it makes me less inclined to come back unless I wanted lunch or dinner with a group. Score: 2.5/5
- Location – Set in a mostly residential neighborhood, I loved the walkability around the brewery. Small restaurants and shops are interspersed between apartments and houses, giving you lots of options if the food menu just isn’t your bag. Parking is mostly street level, and I had no trouble finding a place despite it being a busy afternoon. For those eco-friendlier folks, they have a large bike parking area out front and the streets around the pub are relatively bike-friendly, par for the course in Portland. Score: 3.5/5
- Customer Service – I loved the service here! Despite it being very busy, we were greeted and seated swiftly, and our server was extremely attentive throughout the evening. Just watching the entrance and other tables, high level customer service was the norm here as wait times for everything were minimal. Score: 4/5
Total Score: 17.5/25
Favorite Beer: Rye Curious? – 5.1% ABV American Red Ale
Final Thoughts: I can say my experience here lived up to my hype. The beers were plentiful and delicious, the food was great, and the pub experience was excellent. I highly recommend making Breakside a beer stop should you be in Portland!