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February 5th, 2014 12:01 am WW Staff | Beer Guide

Beer Guide 2014: Nine of Our Favorite Ten Beers of 2014

5. Passionfruit Sour (Breakside)

When the world asks, “Why?” some people answer, “Why not?” And like a man trying to get into Guinness World Records by eating an entire pickup truck, Breakside’s Ben Edmunds seems particularly fond of setting himself near-impossible tasks just for the pleasure of seeing whether he can accomplish them. In December, WW wrote about Breakside’s feat of putting out 62 brand-new recipes last year, for a total of 100 beers produced in one year. Of all those beers, the Passionfruit Sour was one of Edmunds’ own favorites.

In technical terms, the beer is an impressive achievement. With little experience making traditional Berliner Weisses, Edmunds tinkered with a recipe developed by brewer Sam Barber on the 3-barrel system at Breakside’s Dekum brewpub. After two tries, he decided to jump to the 30-barrel system in Milwaukie. “Our director of operations said, ‘Are we really going to do this?’” Edmunds laughed. “I said, ‘I think we can pull this off.’” Few brewers would attempt to sour a beer in this volume at a single batch, and even fewer would do so without extensive testing.

The beer has less than a handful of IBUs, because hops—a natural antiseptic—kill the bacteria that sour the beer. Edmunds’ choice of passionfruit is also inspired, since it’s most commonly seen in sticky-sweet concoctions described as “exotic” or “erotic,” with pictures of cartoon hula girls on the label. Here, the fruit adds just a bit of tropical tang to the beer’s brightness, which fades quickly to a clean finish.

The beer won a bronze at the Great American Beer Festival last year, and owner Scott Lawrence notes that Breakside will be bottling it later for summer distribution. It’s a worthy addition to your warm-weather lineup, and should cut the grease off an entree of engine parts very well. ADRIENNE SO.

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