It’s a recurring dream: I’m being escorted through a brewery. Suddenly, I scream "May Day! May Day! I’m going down!" I then scale a nearby ladder and execute a perfect one-and-half into a beckoning vat of crisp, pure, virgin beer. And I never surface. News of my demise spreads quickly and Salma Hayek enters a convent. Sigh. Such a lovely vision.
Imagine my giddy excitement at the thought of my firkin fantasy becoming a reality. OK, there will be no diving and I suppose Ms. Hayek is utterly indifferent, but nonetheless, this Saturday between 11-4, ale aficionados can get a gander inside some of the state’s top craft breweries at the Zwickelmania Statewide Brewery Tour, sponsored by the Oregon Brewer’s Guild. Meeting the brew barons and the sampling of suds are definitely on the itinerary.
Here in Portland you can jump on a chartered bus that will roll to such malty meccas as Amnesia Brewing, Hopworks Urban Brewery, Lompoc Brewing, Rogue Distillery and Public House, Widmer Brothers Brewing, Laurelwood Public House, BridgePort Brewing, and many more.
Brewer’s Guild executive director Brian Butenschoen notes that nearly 10,000 folks went on the tour last year, so it pays to research your destinations. And it’s all free, baby.
Fun fact: Zwickel is the name of the sample valve found on the outside of the fermentation or conditioning tank used by brewers to track and taste the beer throughout the brewing process. And Salma, if you’re reading this, I’ll be the taller, Hugh Jackman lookalike sitting in the back of the bus.