With the boom of Portland’s craft breweries in the last decade, it’s certain that this is a good city for beer snobs. But beer snobbery can’t be achieved with sophisticated taste terminology alone—a substantial knowledge of the brewing process is also needed.
With the boom of Portland’s craft breweries in the last decade, it’s certain that this is a good city for beer snobs. But beer snobbery can’t be achieved with sophisticated taste terminology alone—a substantial knowledge of the brewing process is also needed. The Second Annual Zwickelmania this Saturday provides the beer proletariat a chance to learn more about local breweries and to make our way toward being beer bourgeoisie.
Zwickelmania is a statewide event that hosts 32 breweries, the majority of which are in Portland. Each brewery will open its doors for tours, chances to meet the brewers and—of course—beer tasting.
The name comes from the term “zwickel.” A valve that attaches to the side of a fermentation tank, a zwickel allows beer to be poured directly from the tank. It is used mainly to check for quality, but it’s also a great way to taste beer at its freshest.
The Oregon Brewers Guild (OBG), who will host the event, is wise enough to supply shuttles for those interested in brewery hopping. Allowing people to visit multiple breweries without the inconvenience of supplying their own designated driver, OBG’s shuttles will run regularly between breweries. The shuttles will be free. Though Zwickelmania will take place extensively in both Eugene and Portland, no shuttles will run between the two cities.
Upright Brewing is one of many local breweries on the list. Coming up on its first anniversary of opening, Zwickelmania should help the young brewery gain a little recognition. One of Upright’s brewers, Gerritt Ill, will be there to lead tours and offer tastings.
Laurelwood Public House & Brewery is another spot worth checking out, if only for the specialty homemade chocolates and beer pairings. Lompoc Brewing Company’s Fifth Quadrant location will also host special beers for the event and its brewers will be pulling beer directly from the zwickels.
Zwickelmania is not limited to Eugene and Portland. Breweries in smaller cities like Astoria, Medford and Bend will also take part. It wouldn’t be a bad idea to talk your valentine into a trip to Astoria’s Fort George Brewery and Public House to take part in its month-long celebration of stouts. At least, that’s what a true beer snob would want for Valentine’s Day.
If that isn’t convincing enough, then consider that Zwickelmania is a cheap date. Each brewery is sure to provide free tastings—some more than others, so it’s wise to check out details on OBG’s website—and some are offering free appetizers to pair with the beer, in addition to other beer swag. Attending the event itself costs nothing, the shuttles are free and the tours are on the house. And since it’s only being hosted for five hours, it’s not a pub crawl that will leave us, well, crawling.