From Wednesday, December 3rd through Sunday, December 7th, Portland’s Pioneer Courthouse Square transforms into a toasty tented winter wonderland to welcome in the 19th annual Holiday Ale Festival. Sample big, bold beers ranging from Belgians to barleywines, porters to winter warmers, and spiced ales to stouts that are either hard-to-find vintages or brews designed specifically for this event. Following is a selection of the over 50 beers that will be available for sampling.
Baerlic Brewing Co.
The Great Bear (6.5% ABV) blends sweet candied malt flavors with spicy, piney and citrus hops. This beer is full bodied with a lasting hop spice that lingers after each drink. This beer is aged on beechwood taken from Baerlic’s tasting room buildout and leaves a clean woodiness.
Scarlet Flame IRA (6.0% ABV) is a great choice for malt lovers and hop lovers alike. US Tettnanger, Crystal, Willamette, Saaz, Summer and Northern Brewer hops bring aromas of herbal spice and stone fruit, followed by a pleasant woodiness. Carared malt and black barley lend a full malt character, with dark caramel and toffee flavors.
Kells Brew Pub
MIC Stout AKA Boom Roaster (7.0% ABV) starts with a robust head of rich chocolate and notes of brown sugar. The mouthfeel is smooth and full-bodied, with notes of vanilla and a mild sweetness of caramelized sugar. This beer finishes with roasty notes and acidity from the Sidamo coffee from Ristretto Roasters that layer into a hint of light berry (think blue) with a touch of warming alcohol.
Pinot Noir Barrel Aged Cheval de Trait Belge (8.5% ABV) is named in honor of Belgian work horses – one of the strongest breeds. This dark Belgian Style Strong Ale has been aging in Maryhill Winery Pinot Noir barrels for six months. It has a malty body and strong oak character, finishing dry with hints of chocolate and tobacco.
Old Town Brewing Co.
Bluth’s Original Chocolate Banana Hefeweizen (5.5% ABV) is a frozen banana with double the chocolate, nuts and two sticks that’s also known as the G.O.B. Special. Brewed to Pop-Pop’s original (stolen) recipe to be a “cold banana in delicious brown treat.” Two-row, wheat and chocolate malts commingle with Mt. Hood hops and cocoa nibs.
Ex Novo Brewing Co.
Moonstriker (8.0% ABV) is a Mexican Chocolate Baltic Porter made a collaboration with Moonstruck Chocolate. Enjoy the subtle notes of Mexican hot chocolate with notes of cinnamon, nutmeg, chilies and chocolate.
Advance sale ticket packages for this adult only event (21+) are available up to 11am PST on December 3rd . Advance general admission tickets cost $35 and include the tasting mug, 14 taster tickets and express entry all five days. Advance upVIP tickets cost $80 and include the tasting mug, 30 taster tickets, bottled water, access to VIP lines (including special tappings), VIP only vintage bottles and/or draft, and express entry all five days.(Express re-entry requires a wristband and the 2014 mug, and is subject to the festival’s capacity.) Ticket prices at the door are the same, but do not allow for expedited entry. Also, Designated drivers in a party of two or more may purchase a designated driver wristband for $10, which includes Crater Lake Root Beer or bottled water for the duration of the stay.
The festival runs from 11am to 10pm Wednesday to Saturday, and 11am to 5pm on Sunday. Those wishing to avoid lengthy lines are recommended to attend on Wednesday, Thursday or Sunday.