The Oregon Beer Awards were held Tuesday, Feb. 18, 2020, at Revolution Hall in Southeast Portland. According to The Oregonian, "Breakside Brewery of Portland was the big winner in Tuesday night’s Oregon Beer Awards, leading the competition with 12 medals – four golds -- and pulling in the honor of Large Brewery of the Year.
10 Barrel Brewing, based in Bend and with a brewery in Portland, was second with seven awards, including two golds and five silvers. Other big winners in Oregon’s largest and most-prestigious beer awards included Sunriver Brewing of Bend with five medals and Stormbreaker Brewing of North Portland, pFriem Family Brewers of Hood and Baerlic Brewing of Southeast Portland with four medals each.
Breweries that garnered three medals included Culmination Brewing -- which was also named Medium Brewery of the Year -- Hop Valley Brewing, Falling Sky Brewing, Von Ebert Brewing and Zoiglhaus Brewing. Immersion Brewing of Bend was named the Small Brewery of the Year. Boss Rambler Beer Club of Bend was named Best New Brewery.
Fort George’s Fanize IPA won gold in the high-profile American IPA category. The Astoria brewery collaborated with Camas’ Grains of Wrath Brewery on the beer, which was judged for the contest but will be released “soon,” according to the Fort George website.
Culmination took gold in the Hazy or Juicy IPA category with Drone Logic.
Breakside’s medals included the four golds, five silvers and three bronzes. Brewmaster Ben Edmunds, who has overseen brewing at Breakside since its inception in 2010, said it was the best showing ever for the brewery.
“We were obviously thrilled,” he said Wednesday. “You want to think it’s a predictor of future success, but in reality, it’s day in and day out work. You celebrate this for about five hours then tomorrow morning it’s back to work.”
Edmunds said that over his 10 years, there have been times he felt Breakside had been strong in particular areas but needed improvement in others.
“But right now, I think we have a team that’s performing at a really high level,” he said, “and that kind of teamwork ultimately trickles down to the glass and is reflected in the quality of beer we put out.”
The night also featured a video tribute to Widmer Brothers Brewing co-founders and brothers Rob and Kurt Widmer, who were inducted into the Oregon Beer Hall of Fame.
The awards ceremony passed out 90 medals in 30 beer-style categories, with entries from 113 breweries. In January, more than 1,200 beers were evaluated by 95 judges, including brewers, industry veterans and journalists in a double-blind presentation to ensure anonymity. An academy of over 200 beer awards members also voted on other industry awards.
Tomas Sluiter, founder of six-year-old Culmination, said being awarded the state’s best medium-size brewery “feels good,” and he’s exceedingly proud of his crew and the work they’ve done. He attributes the award to “the dedication to quality we’ve had over the past five years and the continual ability to be creative and push the boundaries on beer styles,” he said Wednesday.
Culmination is amid a period of change, after recently losing head brewer Conrad Andrus.
“We’re sad to see him go -- not only was Conrad a good colleague but a good friend to us all,” said Sluiter, adding that he has wrapped up other projects that kept him away from the brewery. “I’m maintaining creative direction, and I’ll be here more present now, so it worked out pretty well.”
Sluiter said he was also hoping to transform the taproom -- expanding the kitchen and creating a four-season outdoor area, as well as adding to brewing and packaging capacity.
“We’ve always been known for great beer and friendly service,” he said, “and now we want to give the taproom a facelift.”
View the full article by Andre Meunier of The Oregonian/OregonLive and rundown of the awards in order of presentation at oregonlive.com