Saturday, January 17, 2015

Zwickelmania 2015

Action shot from last Zwickelmania 2014
It's almost that time again! ZWICKELMANIA! What the heck is Zwickelmania, you ask? What the heck is a ZWICKEL, you query? If you don't know the answers to those questions, you clearly do not live in Portland, Oregon, my friend. Zwickelmania is an annual event that is only surpassed in popularity by the Naked Bike Ride...and maybe the Adult Soapbox Derby. 

Every year, the Oregon Brewers Guild organizes Zwickelmania, a one day event where just about every brewery in Oregon opens its doors to the general public for brewer meet and greets, brewery tours and...wait for it...this is the best part...FREE BEER SAMPLES! Yes, free beer will be flowing all over the state of Oregon, and especially here in Portland, with at least 50 breweries participating. Yes, it is as awesome as it sounds!

This year, Zwickelmania will be held on February 14th, which is also Valentine's Day. Um, that will make it tough for those of us with wives, husbands and/or sweethearts who do NOT like beer and may not consider marathon brewery touring to be "romantic". If that is your likely scenario, I recommend you start planning on an extra large box of chocolate and a more expensive Valentine's brunch right now. Don't say I didn't warn you. 

As for transportation, it can get a little daunting planning your travels from brewery to brewery. Many participants can be reached by public transportation and that is my best recommendation. I charted out a multitude of Portland breweries by bus route a couple of years ago, and most of the info is still pertinent. Check those out here: An all day bus pass costs five measly bucks. Much cheaper than a cab.

Brewvana Brewery Tours is also providing shuttle service to a number of participating breweries again this year. It's a fairly convenient way to get from spot to spot and make a bunch of new friends. Here's the schedule:

Whatever you do, don't drink and drive. We don't need any car-bike-moped pile-ups clogging a bridge or sending multiple Zwickelmania revelers to the ER. Got it? Awesome!

Some of my favorite places last year:
  • Commons
  • Gigantic
  • Burnside
  • Hopworks
  • Base Camp
  • Laurelwood
All were most generous, both with information and free samples.

Everything will begin at 11:00am and end when your knees give out. I'll see you out there, rain or shine!

FYI: "Zwickel" is NOT the name of a legendary, Bunyan-esque, Oregon brewer. It's a little valve that brewers use to take samples of beer straight from a tank. The more you know!

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