This Saturday, February 16th, is Oregon’s fifth annual statewide Zwickelmania event: organized by the Oregon Brewers Guild, breweries across the state hold special open houses from 11am to 4pm, offering up tours, tastings, and often special extras just for the one day. As OBG’s blurb says, “Your once-a-year backstage pass to tour Oregon’s breweries.” And here’s their capsule description:
2013 President’s Day weekend, dozens of Oregon breweries and brewpubs will open their doors to visitors for the state’s 5th annual Zwickelmania. Zwickelmania, hosted by Oregon Craft Beer, is a free statewide event that offers visitors a chance to tour Oregon breweries, meet the brewers and sample their favorite beers.
This year’s Zwickelmania looks to be the best one yet, with a fantastic lineup encompassing some 93 brewery locations, and with special beer shuttles running in the major metro areas (Portland, Bend, Eugene/Willamette Valley) which I believe are all free: hit the site for those schedules plus a great list of suggested itineraries to follow.
With 93 different possibilities to choose from, there’s a cornucopia of choices to pick from and visit; here are a few highlights that caught my eye:
- Crux Fermentation Project (Bend): “Get up close and personal with samples pulled straight from the zwickel on tours given by the founders and brewers. We’ll also be featuriing tastings of our soon-to-be released Imperial Stout from the very barrel it’s aging in.” (First taste of their first barrel-aged beer!)
- Barley Brown’s Brewpub (Baker City): “Offer a sneak peak at Baker City Brewing Company’s new facility across the street, Barley Brown’s Beers will be served both places.”
- Breakside Brewery (Portland): “Brewery tours with two of the brewers; special barrel-aged beer release on draught; free samples from the Zwickels; swag raffles; debut of our Mosaic Farmhouse Pale Ale.”
- Hopworks Urban Brewery (Portland): “Tour Oregon’s only all-organic brewery with samples straight from the tank and the world-famous Bar Bike. Hopworks will also have food pairing samples, sweet free gear for your beer and bottle and can sales.”
- Migration Brewing (Portland): “We will be celebrating our three year anniversary and Zwickelmania with live music, select bottle sales, free swag giveaways, brewery tours, and a variety of zwickel tastes and beer samples”
- Oakshire Brewing (Eugene): “We will release Hellshire III (Foreign Style Stout aged in bourbon barrels), sell vintage Brewer’s Reserve beers, and offer other specialty barrel aged beers on draft. Tours & live music by the Whiskey Chasers will also be provided”
This year, too, the Salem-area brewing are making a strong showing for the first time—with Gilgamesh, McMenamins Thompson Brewery, Pale Horse, the Ram, and Santiam Brewing all participating.
But there are of course many, many more things going on and pretty much anywhere you end up, you can’t go wrong.
And I will of course be participating here in Bend—my friend Paul and I have been planning out our route, even, and it’s going to be good. Two words: