PORTLAND, Ore. — Editor's note: The video above is from Friday, Dec. 10, 2021, highlighting the four semifinalists for the Oregon Beer Showdown.
Yes, our annual Oregon beer contest is down to the dregs.
But those so-called dregs are the most luscious portion of the entire barrel according to Business Journal readers and KGW viewers who have voted in droves to celebrate their favorite local breweries through four rounds and a semifinals to elevate just two out of 64.
One thing is known: The 2021 Oregon Beer Showdown champion will be a brewery that has never won before in the seven-year history of the contest. That's because Breakside Brewery — with multiple Portland metro-area locations and soon opening its second production brewery in Gresham — defeated three-time champion Ecliptic Brewing of Portland in last week's "Foamy 4" semifinals, with 442 to 288 votes cast and 124 picking neither.
Breakside now faces Boneyard Beer, which made its debut in the Foamy 4 last week, advancing farther than ever before. The Bend brewery was acquired in March by its mammoth craft-brewing neighbor, Deschutes Brewery, and has generated mounting reader enthusiasm through each round of the showdown, defeating well-regarded pFriem Family Brewers of Hood River last week by 453 to 368 votes. Only 33 voters chose neither in that battle.
Besides starting with the letter "B," Breakside and Boneyard have a few other things in common. Both were established in 2010 and brewed around 22,000 31-gallon barrels of beer last year, down from about 28,000 in 2019, most likely due to pandemic disruptions. Click here to see the full bracket and how the showdown has shaken out.
Boneyard got its start after co-founder and owner Tony Lawrence, a former Deschutes employee, cobbled together a “boneyard” of old brewing equipment he had gathered from 13 breweries across the country and began brewing beer with co-founders Clay and Melodee Storey. Their popular pub and brewery is a highlight among many breweries drawing beer lovers to Bend.
Breakside was co-founded by another Lawrence, first name of Scott, who retired from selling software in South Carolina to pursue his dream brewery in Portland with brewmaster Ben Edmunds. Four years later in 2014, it won gold medal for best American-style IPA (the most competitive category that year) at the Great American Beer Festival in Denver.
RELIVE THE SEMIFINALS: 4 breweries remain in Oregon Beer Showdown