The Milwaukie Update

As many of you know, we are in the middle of building a new brewery that will be located on International Way in Milwaukie, OR, just off of route 224 near Bob’s Red Mill and Dave’s Killer Bread. The new facility will house a 30 barrel brewhouse (that’s 10 times larger than our current setup), and if we max out the system we would be able to produce as much as 30,000 barrels per year out of this new space. We’re incredibly excited about what this means for Breakside as a company and for us as brewers.

From this new facility, we will finally be able to meet demand in our pub, open a new tasting room, sell beer out of house to draught accounts around the Northwest, grow our barrel-aging program and expand our distribution eventually to include bottles and cans as well. There are thousands of reasons that this excites the brewing staff, but that is fodder for a future post.

One of the questions we’ve been getting from friends and followers of the brewery lately is ‘how is the expansion coming along?’ Here, in black and white, is the most official update we’ve released yet:

The space we’ve procured is roughly 14,000 square feet and, up until earlier this year, was used as a warehouse by an emergency response supply company. The building is relatively new, and, fortunately for us, in very good shape. We’re in full on demolition and construction mode this month, and we expect that to be finishing up the first week of September. By middle of next month, we’ll be epoxying floors, taking delivery of our grain silo, and piping all of the gas, steam and water lines.

We’ll see our new brewhouse be delivered the final week of September. We’re getting a beautiful 3 vessel brewery from Metalcraft, a fabricator right here in Portland, who also designed the tanks for our friends at Burnside Brewing and Gigantic Brewing. Similarly, all of our fermentors and brite tanks will arrive that same week, and they’re supplied by local brewery equipment broker Jason Ager. We’ve used Jason’s fermentors at the pub for the last two years, and we love how sleekly and simply designed they are. Our cellar package is a little unconventional: we’ve chosen to bring in 5 brite beer tanks of various sizes as well as 4 conical fermentors. The extra brite tank will give us excess cellaring capacity, which in turn will allow us to produce a full-time lager as part of our new beer lineup.

For the last two years at the pub, we’ve done what is referred to as ‘unitank fermentation,’ where you use a single tank to ferment, condition, and lager a beer. This setup minimizes the equipment needed to produce beer and can yield great beer, but it creates a significant bottleneck for beer production. For example, if a beer takes an extra day or two longer than expected to move through the cycle of fermentation and lagering, the whole brewhouse gets stopped. With dual tanks for all of our fermentors, we’ll be able to increase our output of beer while also giving each batch ample time to clear up and mature before serving.

If we hold to this schedule, we should have the brewery fully installed and online in the second half of October, and as soon as it’s ready to go, we’re going to brew! We’ll likely run a calibration batch of something simple, maybe an oatmeal stout or an American pale ale. This will give us a sense of how our pub recipes will scale up to the new system, what hop loads the new brewery can take, and how we need to adjust all our processes to make great beer; plus, by brewing a recipe that not one of our current products, we won’t be as constrained by making sure the first batch is ‘true to brand.’

Once we’ve had a calibration batch or two under our belts, we’ll try scaling up one of our year round recipes, like Dry Stout or Aztec. Following suit will be our two IPAs, our Pilsner, and a host of new beers that we expect to start releasing in late November. But that’s right around when putting official dates to things gets a little dicey…so, we’ll all have to wait until November to see what exactly happens when.

As you can tell, it’s going to be a big and busy fall for us; we hope you’re as excited to visit our new space and enjoy the beer from it as we are to work there. We’ll be sure to post pictures and updates as the build out unfolds!

Cheers!

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