Friday, February 25, 2011

zwickelmania 2011

This past weekend was the annual Oregon Brewer's Guild Zwickelmania event, when breweries across the state open their doors for tours of their facilities and tastes of their beers. There are way too many stops to see in a day, even among the ones within city limits, so this year I decided to limit myself to a few of my favorite inner east side breweries.

I started out by meeting a few friends at Hopworks, where we lined up in front of the large overhead doors of the brewery, and received free pint glasses and tasting tickets for the tour. I enjoyed a hopworks IPA from the bike bar out front, and when our assigned time came, a group of us pushed in to start the tour. Working out way through the workings of the brewery, we were invited to taste several types of malts, as well as secession and a new maibock. Of all the stops we made throughout the day, hopworks was the most organized and informative of the bunch. The free swag and ample tastes were a big plus too. It was a great way to start out the day.

From Hopworks, we drove north to the Cascade Barrel House, where we parked for the day to continue the tours (and drinking!) safely on foot. On the production side of the brewery, we grabbed some tasting cups, and were treated to several tasty options, straight from the barrel. The first was a soured honey rye, that we were told would be blended with lime and ginger in the future. From there we tried a spiced sour belgian quad, and finally a a sour tripel that had been aging on raspberries for the last few months. We also were able to check out the climate controlled barrel aging rooms and take a peak of some of the beers that cascade currently has up it's sleeve.

After Cascade, we headed toward the river to see what was going on a few blocks away at hair of the dog. We arrived just as the rogue tour bus (which carried crowds we tried desperately to avoid all day) was about to leave. To kill a little time as the crowd filtered out, I enjoyed a doggie claws on tap from the bar out front. Eventually, we made our way back to the brewery, where there were tastes of Adam and blue dot (as fresh as it gets!) straight from the tank. The event at HotD was very loose and self-guided, which allowed time to poke around and explore a bit. Among my favorite parts of the stop was looking through the various barrels aging in the back to see what we might expect from Alan in the future. Some barrels were clearly marked like the latest batch of Michael and Fred Flanders shown here to the left. Others were marked a little more cryptically, which left one to speculate about their mysterious contents.

From hair of the dog, we went north a little bit to check out one of Portland's newest breweries, Burnside Brewing. The tastes that were being handed out for the event were of their Oatmeal Pale, but Jason was kind enough to take me into another part of the brewery and let me try his new stout a few days before its debut. The pale I had (and had enjoyed) in the past, but the stout was a new experience for me. Chocolaty and delicious for sure. After the tastes and a little peeking around, we set out once again for another brewery.

The last zwickel event we hit was further north still, over at Upright Brewing. It's always fun taking someone new to Upright; navigating your way through the quiet and mostly empty building to the basement were the noise of cheerful drinkers and the smell of wort greet you from down the hall. It was pretty packed inside, and the line was long for beer, but it was a worthwhile stop none-the-less. I had the upright coffee stout for the first time.

After all that drinking, we were ready for food. We walked south back to Burnside and ate a bunch of pizza at Sizzle Pie. Full and drunk, my comrades made the right decision after dinner and threw in the towel. I ended up back at Cascade for a bit, and then closed out the night at Sassy's. It was a long day.

1 comment:

  1. Oh good, now I can talk to people here about all the places we went! My memory got a bit fuzzy after Hair of the Dog. :)