Zwickelmania 2015 [Portland, OR]

In celebration of Portland’s love for beer, some friends and I celebrated Zwickelmania Day instead of Valentine’s Day (they fell on the same day this year).  We tackled a bunch of breweries over the course of a few hours.  Enjoyed the sunny weather and the constant “problem” of running into friends at each stop. Here is where our trip took us.

First Stop:  Widmer Brothers

Joy, Jeffrey, Joe, Adam and I at Widmer!

Joy, Jeffrey, Joe, Adam and I at Widmer!

With Kirk and Rob Widmer checking IDs at the door.  This is THE place to start of Zwickelmania.  The tour is great, you get tons of free beers and snacks, plus you get to keep your sampling glass!

We tried:

  • Replay IPA – This session-style IPA features an easy-drinking body contrasted by a complex hop aroma and flavor.
  • Alt – The first beer Kurt and Rob ever brewed, and the perfect marriage of malty smoothness and hop bitterness.
  • Hopside Down IPL – The spring seasonal is hopped like an IPA but fermented like a lager.  It features big hop aromas yet finishes clean and crisp.
  • AltBitter – The collaboration with Deschutes Brewery in honor of Widmer’s 30h anniversary is a rye barrel-aged blend of our classic Alt and their Batchelor Bitter, both cult favorites with Oregon beer fans.
  • 2008 X-114 –  Part of the 30 Beers for 30 Years Series – Using what would come to be know as the Citra hop, this extremely aromatic and highly drinkable IPA launched our popular Rotator IPA series in 2008.
  • 2009 Belgian Golden Ale – Described as “ahead of it’s time.”  This ale features spice aromas and flavors from the use of Belgian yeast and Sterling hops.
  • 2011 KGB – Part of the 30 Beers for 30 Years Series – Russian Imperial Stout has a color that is as dark as a torrid past, a body as full as a well-kept dossier, and a taste as compete as a conspiracy theory.  Definitely my favorite beer from this Widmer stop.
  • ’09 Vintage Cherry Doppelbock – Pulled from the depths of the cellar, this beer brewed in 2009 as held on to its cherry and chocolate flavors, but has gained some interesting (sour) components with age as well, like sherry and raisin.

Next Stop:  Ecliptic Brewing

Joy, Joe, myself and friends at Ecliptic Brewing.

Joy, Joe, myself and friends at Ecliptic Brewing.

Of course we ran into more friends here.  Tried some great beers, enjoyed the sunshine and a new puppy friend.  We tried:

  • Procyon Pale Ale – Known as the Little Dog Star, Procyon shines bright in the Canis Minor constellation.  This classic NW Pale Ale is a balance of malts and Cascade hops.  Complete with caramel notes and a slightly dry finish.
  • Orbiter IPA – Combines “C” hops – Cascade, Centennial, Chinook and Columbus – to create citrusy hop flavored IPA with a caramel malt character.
Short Walk Later:  StormBreaker Brewing
Joy, Ashley, Joe and I hanging out at StormBreaker.

Joy, Ashley, Joe and I hanging out at StormBreaker.

This was the first time I’ve been to this brewery.  I think I need to come back again to get a better sense of the place.  We had to wait a fairly long time to see the place, but then given the size of the brewery and the space it makes sense.  (To be fair – we were warned about the wait.)  We also got to try some classic zwickel:
  • Cloud Ripper – Bitterness is most prevalent at the front end and middle of the beer, but it finishes clean and smooth (like a clam after the storm).
  • Total ReKolsch – This was brewmaster Rob’s first commercial brew years ago, a Kolsch, which is now available for year round delight.  Pislner nose, ale fermented and lagered for a clean crisp finish.

Paused – Cascade Brewing

This was a bit of a personal downer for me.  Some how I managed to loose my ID and thus wasn’t able to get it.  No worries, I ran home and grabbed my passport and met everyone at HUB.

Then Hopworks Urban Brewing

HUB with Joy and Ashley!

HUB with Joy and Ashley!

I love HUB!  Free pizza and beer from the bar bike, zwickel and merchandise.  I picked up a bottle of Kentucky Abominable and a kid-sized “Little Monster” t-shirt.  We tried:

  • Nonstop Hef Hop – This is a great beer, classic American Session Wheat Beer.
  • IPA – I’m not a huge IPA fan, but this one I can handle.
  • Abominable Winter Ale – My all time favorite winter beer as a zwickel.  I’m a lucky girl!




Last Stop: Gigantic Brewing

Gigantic with Jeffrey, Joy and Ashley!

Gigantic with Jeffrey, Joy and Ashley!

We wrapped up our tour here and walked home.  I honestly couldn’t tell you what was on tap and what we tried.  Would love to find out.

Did you participate in Zwickelmania this year?  What did you think?  What was your favorite beer?  What was your favorite brewery?

About BiteSize

Hi! I’m Jenna, but I got the nickname BiteSize in high school. I love homebrewing beer, thus BiteSize Brews. A blog focused on homebrewing, local brewery reviews and recipes. I’m lucky enough to live in the microbrewery capital of the world. I’m also a big fan of social media (chances are I’ll sprinkle a bit of it into this blog).


  1. That sounds like so much fun! I wish I could have been there. One quick question, why is it called Zwickelmania?

    • Good question! Zwickel is the beer fresh out of the fermentation tanks. Think of it as warm, flat beer, but it’s fun to try and gives access to the brewing process.

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