February 17th, 2012 | by PENELOPE BASS Food & Drink |

Zwickelmania 2012 Picks for Portland

Almost every brewery in Oregon will open its doors to the public this weekend. Here's where you should go.

zwickelmania-widmer-posterZWICKEL AWAY, PORTLAND!
Ever been on a statewide pub crawl? Unless your designated driver has a batmobile, you’re not going to make it to all 60-plus participating breweries for this year’s Zwickelmania before day’s end. (You’d probably also need Superman’s liver).

Luckily, the Oregon Brewer’s Guild—which hosts the yearly mass brewery open-house—has arranged convenient suggested itineraries to help Portland's zwickelers and maniacs visit as many breweries as possible with free shuttles. Now in its fourth year, Zwickelmania offers behind-the-scenes tours of Oregon’s craft breweries, with complimentary tastings, food pairings, brewer-led discussions, special beer releases and collaborations and other beery events.

“The fact that you can go to almost every brewery in the state and tour it and see what happens behind the scenes is awesome,” says Ben Love, co-owner of Gigantic Brewing, which has yet to officially open but will still be on the tour.

This all goes down this Saturday, Feb. 18 from roughly 11 am to 4 pm. Here are a handful of choice events to help Portlanders plan their day before it becomes one long, hoppy haze.

North/Northeast

The folks at Migration Brewing (2828 NE Glisan St.) just happen to be celebrating their second anniversary on Saturday and will be partying down with live music throughout the day in addition to brewery tours. On draft will be the last of their one-year anniversary bourbon barrel-aged imperial stout along with two of their special releases—Deuce, a double IPA that clocks in at 95 IBUs for you hop heads, and a coffee IPA. If you want some to go, grab a 22 oz. bottle from their limited run.

Further north is Breakside Brewery (820 NE Dekum St.), which will be releasing two versions of their gin barrel-aged IPA, each dry hopped with a different hop variety. From the zwickel they’ll be pouring free samples of a Belgian-style tripel, as well as offering tasters of their Lavender Fudge Stout. Tours and schwag raffles will be ongoing through the afternoon.

While you’re up there, swing over to Occidental Brewing Company (6635 N Baltimore Ave.), which will be giving tasters, tours and talks and playing some good ol’ fashioned cornhole. The last of their Belgian-style tripel will be poured till it’s gone.

Downtown

Get the inside look at a couple downtown breweries on your beer quest. Bridgeport Brewing (1313 NW Marshall St.) will be pouring samples of their newly released black pale ale “Dark Rain” and offering tours on the half hour between noon and 4 pm.

And swing by Deschutes Brewery (210 NW 11th Ave.) for the only day of the year when tours are offered at the Portland location. Finally all that shiny metal behind glass will be close enough to lick—but you probably shouldn’t. Just stick to the beer, of which there will be plenty, including one keg of their Abyss 2009.

Southeast

If you’re starting the day in the Southeast, Green Dragon (928 SE 9th Ave.) should be stop number one for their $10 breakfast/brunch at 10 am (reservations encouraged.) Once you’ve got a solid food base, join one of their hourly brewery tours.

For sour beer aficionados, Cascade Brewing and Barrel House (939 SE Belmont St.) will be pouring samples from their live oak barrels on the production side of the brewery. Up the road at Coalition Brewing (2724 SE Ankeny St.), they’ll be taking tours through the brewery and pouring tasters straight from the tanks. While you’re there, sample their smoked dunkelweizen special release.

Finally, make sure to check out newcomers Gigantic Brewing (5224 SE 26th Ave.), the long-awaited collaboration between brewing vets Van Havig, formerly of Rock Bottom, and Ben Love, formerly of Hopworks Urban Brewery. The pair will be giving tours of their not-yet-fully-operational brewery and pouring tasters of two of their collaboration beers: Schwarzenfreude, brewed with Pelican Pub and Brewery, and Collabo Wabo, brewed with Oakshire Brewing.

For a full list of events happening in Portland, as well as in Eugene, Bend, southern Oregon, the Willamette Valley and the coast, check out the Zwickelmania site. You’ll also find their suggested itineraries for each quadrant, and a schedule for the free shuttles.
 
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