Get ready to celebrate Oregon beer, from the comfort of indoors, without the burden of slipping your mask off and on. Zwickelmania, the state’s massive version of an open house for breweries, will return this month with no pandemic restrictions.
The Oregon Brewers Guild announced this week that the 15th annual industry celebration, which invites the public behind the scenes and into the brewhouse, will take place as normal during February, which is also Oregon Craft Beer Month.
Last winter, Zwickelmania was held in person for the first time since the start of the pandemic, however, masks were still required indoors unless you were actively eating or drinking. The guild also closely monitored public health data leading up to the event in case it needed to adjust by implementing an attendance cap or canceling altogether. Many individual breweries also had their own COVID safety requirements in place.
“We were excited to bring Zwickelmania back to in-person last year, but were uncertain of attendance due to the public health situation we were still in,” guild executive director Christina LaRue stated in a press release. “We feel confident that craft beer lovers across the state will be excited to visit their favorite breweries and brewpubs this year.”
As during previous years, the festival will be broken into two weekends: Portland breweries are scheduled to throw open their doors Saturday, Feb. 18, while the rest of the state’s producers will hold events Saturday, Feb. 25. You can expect a robust lineup of educational talks, food and beer pairings, specialty beer releases, and meet-the-brewer sessions.
For the uninitiated, Zwickelmania takes its name from the zwickel, a valve that provides pours from batches in the making straight from the tank. The event is held in February to help breweries get through what is traditionally one of the slowest months businesswise of the year.
“Winters can be difficult for Oregon craft brewers, which is why we wanted to use our platforms to help spread the word about our members and any special events or offerings they have going on during the month,” LaRue added.