I was off to Zwickelmania with Jeanette on Saturday. Jeanette’s friends Mike and Audra joined us as we did our rounds of breweries in the Mississippi Ave /Alberta St area. We were the first in line at the Ex Novo Brewery. The next to show up were Stephanie and Rory a very nice couple. We started chatting with then as we waited and found out they were avid home brewers. Next thing we new they extend a gracious invitation to stop by there home when got up to Alberta St. to have a beer and see their home brew set up. Next the doors opened and we got a quick tour of Ex Novo brewing set up. What really makes Zwickelmania special is having a chance to talk with the brewmeister. The brewmeister at Ex Novo chatted with us for over fifteen minutes and gave us insight on a working brewery. He also gave us a sample right from the zwickel of a new English ale he was brewing. You got to love Zwickelmania.
After having a great start we headed off to Widmer Bros. Brewery, which had a line that was way to long. We decide to keep moving and headed to the next brewery on our list, Ecliptic. We were able to walk right into Ecliptic and had a chance to sample three different brews while we check out their brewery. One thing we could say about Ecliptic they left themselves plenty of room to expand. We next headed up Mississippi Ave. to StormBreaker Brewing. Again to long of a wait to get in so off we went to our next stop, Lompoc. We were able to walk right into Lompoc and saw what a brewery looked like that did not leave themselves enough room to grow. They have packed every inch of space with fermenters and coolers in total random order as they expanded. To cramped for me to get any good photos but what was fun was the samples they were pouring. The first sample was a red that had only been in the fermenter for a day. It was milky, yeasty, sweet and hoppy. We walked on a ways through the brewery to where they were pouring final version of that same red now a clear bitter finished beer. One of the great things about Zwickelmania is the chance to sample beer at different stages of the brewing process.
We next walked up to Old Town Brewing, which had been named Old Town Pizza but has been renamed to reflect the change in their business positioning. From where they were a few years ago they have expanded their brewing operation. I had a chance to chat with a new brewer they had hired a few months ago. He said they were bringing in two new fermenters and will soon start bottling some of their brews. They have been carving out space from their pub seating to make room for more brewery. We took a little lunch break here before heading off to our last brewery, Mash Tun.
Mash Tun was not doing tours of their very small brewery but they were pouring samples of their beer. We tried a few of their brews and decide to head on. So we were off to the unexpected bonus part of the day – Stephanie’s and Rory’s place. We got there and found they had just arrived home a short while before we got there. This is a couple that can throw together a social event in an instant. Rory quickly headed in to get us pints of a very nice porter he had brewed then opened the garage to show us his home brewing set up. Rory had spent some bucks to put together an all grain brewing set up. It was fun for me to see as it was using pumps rather then gravity to move the liquid from the hot water tank to mash tun to kettle to the fermenters. It keeps the operation more compact from what I had experience at Ben’s. Hoping not to over stay our welcome we finished our beers and thanked Stephanie and Rory for their gracious hospitality and took off for our long walk back to our cars. Another Zwicklmania done and I hope a little wiser about brewing and the micro brew pubs in Portland.