The fifth annual Oregon Craft Beer Zwickelmania is in the books, and, like last year, my wife and I were joined by our friends Paul and Sandi and we managed to visit seven Bend breweries over the course of the day. And yes, we played Bingo along the way! Here are a few notes about the day and a photo roundup (with the full gallery at the end).
(Of course, a caveat: as the day progressed and the amount of beer samples consumed increased, there is always a noticeable drop in quantity (if not quality!) of pictures taken. After 7 breweries I think we hung in there pretty well though!)
The day started at Crux Fermentation Project at 11, where we scored the first tour of the day (led by co-owner Paul Evers). In addition to cellar samples of their Pilsner and a tour of the beautiful brewhouse (seriously might be the best-looking brewery in Bend), there were sample pours of Crux’s very first barrel-aged Imperial Stout waiting at the end of the tour.
Yes, the Imperial Stout was quite tasty! It’s being aged in Maker’s Mark whiskey barrels.
Our next stop of the day was Boneyard Beer. They were pouring samples of Diablo Rojo and RPM IPA at 6 days of fermentation, as well as $1 samples of many of their other beers (including the much-coveted Suge Knite Imperial Stout). They had some fun and games set up in the brewery as well; I tried my hand at tossing a bung into the hopback to win a prize. (I didn’t make it.)
McMenamins Old St. Francis School was next on our route. In addition to samples of Rum-aged Hammerhead and an Imperial IPA, brewer Mike “Curly” White had prepared a special French-pressed hop tea (Cascade hops I believe) so folks could get a direct blast of hops to help understand the potency and character of what goes into beer. It was quite bracing actually.
Next up: Bend Brewing Company (where we also broke for lunch afterwards). As always, it truly amazes me the quality and quantity of beers that come out of such a cramped space in the brewhouse upstairs of the pub and restaurant. They were pouring three samples: Doppelbock, HopHead Imperial IPA, and the fantastic Sexi Mexi (of which I also bought a couple of bottles).
After lunch at BBC, Silver Moon Brewing was our next destination. It had been a number of years since I’d actually seen the brewery space itself, so this was a good stop. As with McMenamins and Bend Brewing, it’s really quite impressive the amount of good beer that Silver Moon brews in (relatively) little space under guidance of Head Brewer Brett Thomas.
Afterwards we headed east, to check out Worthy Brewing. Though relatively young compared to the other breweries in town (they’ve only been brewing for two months, tops), Brewmaster Chad Kenndy and Head Brewer Dustin Kellner had samples of Kolsch pouring that will be soon released, along with their Pilot Butte Bitter. And, we persuaded Kellner to draw a few zwickel samples of a Doppelbock they have in the fermenters, only a few days old: it’s already tasting yummy and one to look forward to for sure.
Our final stop of the day was at 10 Barrel Brewing, their large production brewery at the north end of Bend. 10 Barrel is always a popular draw for good reason: with 7 beers on tap to sample and free BBQ (though they were done with the BBQ by the time we got there) and brewers like Jimmy Seifert and Tonya Cornett on hand to talk all things beer, you simply can’t go wrong. Beer highlights included Seifert’s Malt Ball (which tasted like a chocolate malted milk ball candy!) and samples of Cornett’s sours. It was a good way to end the day.
And if you’ve made it this far, here’s the full gallery of pictures from the day: