Friday, February 28, 2014

Zwickelmania 2014

Once again, I happened to be in Portland for this great event.

Once a year, breweries across the state of Oregon host tours in an open house format with short brewery tours and samples directly from the conditioning tanks. In Portland alone, 41 breweries participated.

My friend and fellow blogger, Red, picked me up and off we went.

First stop was Ecliptic Brewing. A fairly new place, it's helmed by John Harris, who worked many years at Deschutes, where he developed many of their flagship brews.

John gave a brief history the brewery and explained some of the steps in the brewing process, while we enjoyed samples of Coalsack Cascadian Dark Ale.

He mentioned that their brew kettle came from a defunct brewery in Japan. When I asked him about it, he said that it came from Fukui but that he wasn't sure of the exact brewery. We had a look at the control panel and indeed the labels are in Japanese.

Next up was Stormbreaker Brewing, which opened two weeks ago. Actually, it is more or less a reopened Amnesia Brewing: same location, same equipment, and same brewer. Had a nice glass of their Mississippi Red.

We wanted to go to Widmer Brothers. Red said that the tour there has beer and food stations along the way. But the line was much too long, and so we skipped it. One of our group is a big fan of hefeweizen, and I imagine that he was a bit disappointed.

Next we went to Lompoc/5th Quadrant, where we sampled their Batch 69 Baltic Porter.

We took a lunch break at the Burnside Brewing restaurant, first visiting the brewery for samples of a new brew, Hasselhofbrau Lager, and then their Spring Rye.

Lucky to get a table there. It got very crowded just a few minutes after we sat down.

Base Camp Brewing is a popular place. We waited in line for about 20 minutes before we got in. Whereas most breweries offered samples of only one or two beers, Base Camp gave us four: Ctrl+Alt+Del (a new altbier); Ripstop Rye Pils (a regular); Celestial Meridian CDL  (dark and spicy); and In-Tents IPL (an IPA style brewed with lager yeast and conditioned on oak chips).

Last was The Commons Brewery. This place has become known for its Belgian farmhouse styles, and we had Urban Farmhouse and a light pils from the zwickel. Then, as a final brew, I had a glass of Brotherly Love... and I loved it.

What a day! Six breweries, three friends, and lots of samples. I'm looking forward to doing it all again next year.