With no professional experience and brewing for a brand new brewery in a city renowned for its beer culture, were you intimidated when you first started?
Yeah, absolutely. For months I had a huge amount of anxiety. I was confident that I could make good beer, but I wanted to enter the market at a level of quality that I was happy with and would make a good mark for us in the beer world here.
We were shooting high and so I was pretty nervous about that. But still, when you’re brewing in this town—there’s a lot of good brewers and really devoted beer lovers—every time you release a new beer you want it to meet the expectations of what Portland beer is meant to be.
What is that community of brewers like and how are you fitting in?
I’m always astounded by how open and interested people are. The people that I feel like I’ve learned from the most are the ones that are the most open. The other day, I was down at Upright Brewing chatting with (owner/brewer) Alex Ganum. I told him I had an issue come up and say, “I wonder what you would’ve done in that situation?”
It’s a great industry where you can do that. It’s a huge affirmation when other brewers come and drink at Breakside and I make it a point to go and taste as many of the new beers that they’re releasing as often as I possibly can.
That can’t be a bad thing to brew at two celebrated breweries in Beervana and find your primary brewmaster demands on the rise.
Yeah, we’ve started looking at our expansion plans. We’ve accelerated our plans to have beer in other markets. At the same time, we’re mindful of not overreaching too much even though we have a very successful small brewpub. We need to scale up appropriately. We’re going to move to a much bigger system and brew under capacity, hopefully, for the first few years.