Jacob Leonard, brewer at Oregon's Breakside Brewery, will be in New Zealand next month for Beervana. While he's here Jacob will produce a collaboration with Fork & Brewer's Kelly Ryan.
BeertownNZ: Tell us a little about Breakside Brewery and how you came to be brewing there.
Jacob Leonard: We have become know for our hop forward beers like IPA and Wanderlust IPA, mostly because of the Great American Beer Fest awards last year. However, last year, and the year before, we produced over 100 different styles of beer. Ranging from hoppy IPA's to malt forward to traditional European style beers. With some eclectic beers thrown in for the mix. We make a beer with Sun Gold tomatoes, Genovese Basil, and Pluots, as well as multiple wild and sour beers, and beers brewed with indigenous ingredients from the Pacific Northwest. So hop-driven beers aren't our only focus.
We are half way through our fifth year at Breakside. I joined the company three and a half years ago when we started the production facility. The pub has a small brewery that handled all of the beer production for two and a half years before we made the first batch at our Milwaukie (production) facility. I knew the Owner Scott and the Brew Master Ben from the industry, and we would have beers together regularly. I was working at Widmer Brothers Brewing, the largest brewery in Portland, when they approached me about joining the team. I was very excited about the prospect of building a brewery and working with Ben and Scott. It's been nothing but growth and learning since.
BeertownNZ: Portland and the north west has many brewers producing hop-forward beers with local hops. How does any single brewery stand out from the crowd?
JL: It's true that Portland and the NW is very hop focused. We are lucky that we live so close to one of the largest hop growing regions in the world (Yakima, WA.) I think the way to stand out from the crowd is consistent, focused hop character in your beers. It's not just about overwhelming people with hop flavor and aroma. It's about creating beers with a skillful use of the right combination of varieties to showcase interesting profiles.
BeertownNZ: What do you know about the New Zealand craft beer scene? Is there anything in particular you plan to check out while you're here?
JL: I know that New Zealand has a great beer scene that seems like it's growing pretty well. I haven't had much opportunity to try New Zealand beers, but I'm looking forward to it. I did have some brewers from New Zealand visit me last year and they seemed to know a lot about beer and they sounded very creative.