Today is the first day of the great Holiday Ale Festival in Portland! This is akin to the winter version of the Oregon Brewers Festival, taking place in the heart of downtown Portland in Pioneer Square through Sunday, December 2, and features an epic lineup of beers and a stellar lineup of limited release beers each day that you absolutely won’t want to miss. This is one of Oregon’s biggies, and while the $30 price tag for entry might seem steep, bear in mind that gets you free entry (with the wristband and mug, of course) to all five days of the festival plus 12 tasting tickets (extras are $1 each). This is one of the beer events on my “beer bucket list” and one of these days I’m taking the week off to attend; if you’re around Portland this week you pretty much have to attend.
PFriem Family Brewers (Hood River) releases their Belgian Christmas Ale today, at 5:30pm at their place in Hood River. This 8% abv beer is “Brewed with coriander in a rich, Dubbel base, its toffee aromas and hints of fresh ripe orange will leave a milk-chocolaty velvet coat on Santa’s tongue”—sounds delicious! Also for today’s release: “We’ll be pairing it up with a plate of Tommy’s local winter squash rings, encrusted in ginger & panko bread crumbs for FREE!” And if you can’t make it to HR today, they will also be having a release party in Portland tomorrow at Bazi Bierbrasserie.
Belmont Station (Portland) is hosting a bottle release and tasting with Eugene’s Blue Dog Mead today from 5 to 8pm, and it sounds like a tasty mead being featured: “Join us for the release of Blue Dog’s Mead newest creation, Red Collar (Raspberry; 13%/ABV). We will pour samples of this, along with their traditional Blue Collar and Green Collar, a carbonated mead that contains a sweet hint of honey, a gorgeous touch of apple, and a delicious vanilla finish.”
Hop Valley Brewing (Springfield) is holding a tasting of their Festeroo Winter Ale at The Bier Stein in Eugene tonight, from 7 to 9pm. There will be a raffle with prizes, Festeroo on nitro, and a chance to meet the brewers as well.
Logsdon Farmhouse Ales (Hood River) recently teamed up with Berkeley’s Bison Organic Brewing to brew up a collaboration beer to be released this week at the Holiday Ale Festival: Cocoa Bretta. The description from the press release: “The first-ever 100% organic collaboration beer, Cocoa Bretta is a hybrid blend of Bison’s award-winning Chocolate Stout and Logsdon’s award-winning Seizoen Bretta. This stout-based collaboration beer was brewed with organic Peruvian cocoa, a blend of six organic malts, organic roasted barley and organic oats. It was fermented using multiple yeast strains, and then finished with Logsdon’s proprietary strains of Brettanoymces and keg conditioned with pear juice.” In addition to appearing at the Festival, both brewmasters Dave Logsdon and Daniel Del Grande will be on-hand at the Bridgetown Beerhouse on Friday for a special meet the brewer event. Don’t miss out!
McMenamins Old St. Francis School (Bend): Today they have a special limited-edition tasting of “Curly’s Firkin” featuring Parson Brown, starting at 5pm. “We have taken a brown ale and made it even better, Winter Warmer style! Hopped up and beefed up with more malt flavors gives the Parson Brown its big and bigger flavors. Sweet nut malt complexities are melded with a floral and earthy hop flavor. Lots of hops were used but so many as to make your taste buds quiver. This brown ale has all that a Northwest Beer drinker could ask for.” It’s a hearty 7.1% abv and should be fabulous on cask. But once it’s gone, it’s gone!
And over at McMenamins Cornelius Pass Roadhouse in Hillsboro, they are featuring a “Roadhouse Winter Warmer Invitational” tonight from 6 to 9pm with four specialty beers at happy hour pricing: Death Star, 11.09% abv Imperial Stout from CPR; The Commodore’s Reserve Barley Wine, 10.58% barleywine from the Lighthouse Pub in Lincoln City; Parson Brown from Old St. Francis School; and Oo-La-La, 8% abv Winter Warmer from Roseburg Station. These would be a lot of fun to taste together.
The Green Dragon (Portland) has a double Green Dragon Brew Crew release today, featuring “wwWheat: Worldwide Wheat” and “Summer Sue Wheat.” The first is 6.2% and a “medium bodied beer that finishes crisp and clean with a hint of rye spice and a slight hop forward finish”; the Summer Sue is 5.7% and a “50-50 blend of two row barley and white wheat this beer is pure bubble from start to finish.”