Zwickelmania, the Statewide Behind-the-Scenes Celebration for the Brewing Industry, Will Return in Person This February

Pandemic safety precautions will remain in place, and the Oregon Brewers Guild is monitoring the public health situation to adjust as needed.

Zwickelmania, the state’s massive version of an open house for breweries, will be back in person this year.

The Oregon Brewers Guild announced this week that the 14th annual industry celebration, which invites the public behind the scenes, is returning to its more traditional form in February.

Last winter, large gatherings were not only dangerous but also prohibited, and Zwickelmania typically draws anywhere between 30,000 and 400,000 attendees. That led organizers to move the party online. So instead of brewery tours and tastings from the zwickel—a valve that provides pours from batches in the making straight from the tank—participants watched livestream panel discussions and tasted virtually guided flights from home.

At this point in the pandemic, however, pretty much everybody is ready to peel themselves off the couch, but that doesn’t mean Zwickelmania will be the same crowded drinking marathon you may remember from early 2020.

Masks are, of course, still required while indoors unless you’re actively eating or drinking. The guild says it will also continue to monitor the public health situation and adjust or cancel the event if necessary. And before visiting any brewery during Zwickelmania, be sure to check the nonprofit’s website, where each participating brewery will list its specific COVID safety requirements.

As in previous years, the festival will be broken into two weekends: Portland breweries are scheduled to throw open their doors on Saturday, Feb. 19, while the rest of the state’s producers will hold events on Saturday, Feb. 26. You can expect a robust lineup of educational talks, food and beer pairings, specialty beer releases and meet-the-brewer sessions.

“Zwickelmania has been a staple event for the guild for over a decade and we are very excited to be able to transition back to in-person this year,” Christina LaRue, executive director of the nonprofit, stated in a press release. “It’s an opportunity for the public to get a sneak peek into brewery operations that they may not normally have access to. You may get to pull a sample right off of a barrel-aged cask or meet your favorite Oregon craft brewer.”