Each Presidents Day weekend for the past eight years, Oregon breweries have opened their doors for a “statewide open house” known as Zwickelmania. Originally conceived as a day to offer special tours and beer samples from the zwickel — the sampling valve on the side of a fermentation tank — it has expanded over the years into a festive Oregon beer holiday. Many breweries not only offer tours and samples but also food, specialty beers and more.
Zwickelmania has grown so successful that this year it is split into two weekends. Saturday will focus on Portland-area breweries; the rest of the state follows the week after, on Feb. 25.
The size and popularity of the event necessitated both weekends; the Oregon Brewers Guild, which created and organizes the event, reports that more than 42,000 people toured 120 breweries statewide in 2016. This year, the number of participating breweries is estimated at 150, according to the guild’s press release.
In Central Oregon on Feb. 25, at least 15 breweries are participating in this year’s Zwickelmania, according to the website’s official listing. The event runs from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., though many will go longer. Here’s a rundown of participants as of this writing. Be sure to check oregoncraftbeer.org/zwickelmania for updates.
Bend Brewing Co. opens the doors to its upstairs brewery, where staff will be pouring free samples and offering half-price bottles for sale.
Boneyard Beer’s annual “Pickles and Zwickels” parking lot party returns to its Lake Place tasting room. In addition to brewery tours and beer tastings, staff will be pouring full pints of beer and offering up food and music, with an emphasis on pickles.
Cascade Lakes Brewing Co. will celebrate at its Bend lodge with 6-ounce samples of its winter seasonal ale, special gift bags while supplies last and live music with KC Flynn from 2 to 5 p.m.
Craft Kitchen & Brewery will offer beer samples and the chance to meet the brewer.
Crux Fermentation Project will offer brewery tours until 6 p.m. with zwickel samples and the opportunity to chat with the brewers. Limited barrel tastes of the [BANISHED] project beers are likely, and the brewery is also planning a special Zwickelmania food menu.
Deschutes Brewery will host a “Beer Brunch Bash” at its production brewery, with self-guided tours of the facility, free beer samples and brewers on hand to answer questions. Live music with Wayward Soul is planned from 12:30 to 3 p.m. in the parking lot along with brunch-inspired burritos and sandwiches from Pilot Butte Drive-In. Full pints of beer will also be for sale.
GoodLife Brewing will feature an open house of its brewing facility along with sales on merchandise and packaged beers.
The Central Oregon Homebrewers Organization will be on hand at GoodLife, talking about homebrewing and answering any questions about beer and ingredients.
Bend’s newest brewery, Immersion Brewing, will host brewery tours as well as samples and a chance to meet the brewer.
McMenamins Old St. Francis School is a personal favorite Zwickelmania stop, as it opens up the basement brewery to tours, beer samples and appetizers. In recent years, brewer Mike White has also invited a brewer from another McMenamins location to bring a special beer.
RiverBend Brewing will open up its brewery, located in the building across the parking lot from its pub, and will feature beer samples, tours of the facility and the opportunity to meet the brewer.
Silver Moon Brewing will conduct tours of its downtown Bend brewpub, with zwickel samples right off the tank and other samples.
Sunriver Brewing Co. will open up the heated back patio of its Galveston pub in Bend for a specialty beer tasting, the chance to meet the brewer and food-pairing specials.
Three Creeks Brewing will host tours at its production brewery in Sisters and will start out the morning with a Pre-Zwickelmania Breakfast event at 9 a.m. It will offer coffee, breakfast snacks, breakfast beers, zwickel samples, and tours of the facility until 11:30 a.m.
Wild Ride Brewing in Redmond opens its doors to brewery tours, beer tastings and food pairings, along with the chance to meet the brewer.
Worthy Brewing will host its open house in the main brewery with tours and beer samples, including beer pouring through a randall, a device that runs the beer through a jarlike container full of hops or other ingredients. It’ll also offer giveaways and discounts on merchandise.
Zwickelmania is a terrific opportunity to explore the local beer scene and meet many of the people behind our favorite beers.
Most importantly, with so many opportunities to sample beer throughout the day, it is imperative you arrange for a designated driver or alternate transportation. Have fun and stay safe!
— Jon Abernathy is a local beer blogger and brew aficionado. His column appears in GO! every other week.