The Holiday Ale Festival in Portland is now exactly a month away, starting on December 3rd. It’s like the Oregon Brewers Festival of the holiday season… just check out the beer list in the press release. One day I’ll make it up there to check it out.
Announces Wednesday opening with rare vintage beers
The Holiday Ale Festival is giving beer lovers a gift by opening one day early, and rewarding those who come with a selection of rare and vintage kegs. The 13th annual Holiday Ale Festival will take place Dec. 3 through 7 at Pioneer Courthouse Square, located at 701 SW Sixth Ave. in downtown Portland. Hours for the event are 3 to 9 p.m. Wed., 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Thurs. through Sat., and 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Sun. The event has also expanded, increasing its capacity to better accommodate the crowds.
In addition to the three-dozen specialty winter beers that will pour all five days, the festival will tap a limited selection of hidden treasures on opening day; once they run dry, they’re gone. Beer aficionados can look forward to tasting 2005 Samichlaus, the strongest lager in the world; BridgePort Old Knucklehead, Fred Eckhardt Vintage No. 11; 2006 and 2007 Jim, a strong ale blended specifically for the festival by director Preston Weesner and Hair of the Dog Brewing Co.; 2007 Scaldis Noel from Brasserie Dubuisson; 2007 Allagash Curieux, a Belgian tripel aged in Jim Beam barrels; and 2007 Anchor Foghorn, among others.
These rare beers will join the festival lineup of winter warmers, most of which cannot be found outside the event. Among the highlights, look for Alameda’s Papa Noel’s Special Reserve, Cascade Brewing’s Drie Zwarte Pieten “Sangnoir”, Deschutes’ Mirror Mirror Barleywine, Collaborator Hallucinator, Firestone Walker’s Velvet Merkin Stout, Full Sail’s Dry Hopped Wassail, Golden Valley’s Oaken Bomb, Hopwork’s Noggin Floggin Barleywine, Lagunitas’ Black Pepper Chocolate Stout, Lompoc’s Brewdolph, New Belgium’s Abbey Grand Cru, Stone’s Smoked Porter with vanilla beans, Rogue’s Yellow Snow IPA, Sierra Nevada’s Bigfoot Ale, Pyramid’s Snow Cap’n & Tennille, and Track Town’s Oak Rum Stout. A complete list is available at www.holidayale.com.
Admission into the venue is free. To taste beer, the purchase of an initial $20 tasting package is required, which includes a souvenir mug and 10 beer tickets. It takes four tickets for a full mug of beer, or one ticket for a taste. Additional beer tickets can be purchased for $1 apiece. The festival stops selling beer tickets one-half hour prior to taps closing. The Holiday Ale Festival is for ages 21 and over.
Despite being held outdoors in the chilly month of Dec., more than 15,000 festival attendees stay warm and dry under a large clear-topped tent that covers the venue. Gas heaters create a cozy ambience beneath the boughs of the region’s largest decorated Christmas tree. In addition to beer tasting, the festival also features on-site food, event merchandise, complimentary root beer for designated drivers, mead sampling, and seasonal background music.
Returning to the event is the fifth annual Belgian Beer Brunch taking place on Dec. 7 from 10 a.m. to Noon on the upper level of Pioneer Courthouse Square. The auxiliary event features European pastries, meats and cheeses to accompany an assortment of Belgian winter beers not available at the festival itself. Tickets cost $35 and are available at www.holidayale.com.