Dave and I love getting our friends out on their bikes. Whether they’re daily commuters or rushing to get a tune up or helmet in time to join our adventure, our mission is to get as many people on their bikes as we can. We typically entice them with the promise of food and beer along the way.
This Saturday, we gathered a small group of friends to join us on a bike to beer adventure for Oregon’s 6th Annual Zwickelmania, a festival where breweries open their doors to the public for behind the scenes tours and free beer tastings.
Despite the rain, our fair-weather biking friends made their way from their home in NE to ours in SE, arriving a bit drenched and in good spirits, eager to get to our first stop. Dave and I planned a four-brewery tour, starting at Hopworks, then going on to Gigantic, The Commons, and ending at our new favorite brewery, Base Camp.
As in years past, Hopworks was abuzz with Zwickelmaina goers, and luckily, the brewery has a smooth system down to herd us through the tour: Check IDs, fill beers, hand out food, and begin tour. Fill beers twice more during the tour. Everyone leaves happy and with a little bit of swag.
From there, we headed to nearby Gigantic, a two-year-old brewery making some incredible beers with fun and creative labels. We walked in and were immediately offered samples of their two current seasonals, Bang On! and the Most Russian Imperial Stout. I had the stout. It was delicious. I wanted more.
Long bathroom lines forced us to linger a bit, so we shared a snifter of the Most Premium Chocolate Cherry Russian Imperial Stout. This beer was like drinking a whole glass of just the molten part of chocolate lava cake. Mmmmm.
This visit reminded Dave and me of the quality product Gigantic is putting out there. We’ve only visited the brewery once, simply because we don’t head in its direction all that often, even though it’s so close. After the samples we tried at Zwickelmania, I know we’ll be there a lot more.
The rain had begun to let up as we made our way to The Commons. The small space was crowded with festival goers and we inched our way through the line to try some beers in the making. Long bathroom waits encouraged us to hang out and buy a couple tasters of mature beers before heading to our final destination.
By the time we had reached Base Camp, the festival was nearing its end and folks had begun to park themselves at tables to enjoy full pints and meals. Base Camp was packed and the multitude of bodies coupled with the humidity from the rain, produced a smell akin to a boys’ high school locker room.
Deciding we had seen enough brewery tours for the day (and not wanting to wait 20 min for the tour), we proceeded inside to treat ourselves to pints of the Gnar Gnar IPA, Kombucha Mama, and food from Gonzo.
When we gathered to leave, the rain had stopped and a beautiful rainbow guided us all home to our respective neighborhoods. We learned the next day that one friend had never biked more than 12 miles at once in her life, and our instigation helped her achieve a new record.
There’s something about taking over the streets of your city with friends in a mini peloton, in the pouring rain in pursuit of beer and fun. You talk and laugh more, you see the neighborhoods differently, and the beer tastes better. Traveling by bike brings a different perspective and mindset, and the more friends we can encourage to ride, the more we know we’re making an impact.