Emily and I ventured out to the 2014 Holiday Ale Festival in Portland at Pioneer Courthouse Square on Thursday. We lucked out and made it into the festival and under the tents before the hours of torrential rain started. Once inside we enjoyed the day, making our way through a lot of great winter beers and some not so good winter beers, but as in previous years, we had fun.
|rainy Pioneer Square x mas tree through the tents.|
- McMenamins Edgefield Brewery:Lord of Misrule. So many great flavors in this Imperial Mocha Stout. Lord of Misrule is a blend of coffee, cocoa, and habanero peppers aged in Rum Barrels.
- Kells Brew Pub:Mic Stout AKA Boom Roaster. This Coffee Imperial Milk Stout was amazing...basically like drinking cold coffee with alcohlol. I would love to have a cup of this in the morning.
- Lompoc Brewing Co:Pinot Barrel Aged Cheval de Trait Belge. We were drawn to this Belgian Strong Ale because it has a cool name - and the beer didn't let us down! It's better a little warmer (no surprise there), and once it warmed up, we got slight oak/barrel flavor, plums, and a nice maltiness.
- Stone Brewing Co (Liberty Station):New Desecrator. Another great name, and yet what the hell is a Black Barley Wine? Turns out its basically Old Guardian with a twist to malt bill, which Stone refers to as "de-husked darkness." It's very smooth and hoppy like a black IPA with the nice alcohol presence and richness of a barley wine. It's an awesome combo - and it was Emily's first pour of the day, which set a high bar for the other beers.
- Portland Brewing:2014 Bourbon Barrel Aged Imperial Stout. Just what is sounds like, this had nice bourbon notes, very smooth,and had a nice mouth feel. This was my first beer of the day.
|Yes, we drank with Santa....even Santa checks out the beer list|
That is just the top five beers we felt really stood out for us at the 2014 Holiday Ale Fest. We tasted over 30 beers from the standard beer lineup and then a bunch of special beers (which cost two or three tickets instead of one like the standard beers.) The special beers were tapped just for the day, and included beers such as the 2011 Cascade Sang Noir and 2007 J.W. Lees Harvest Ale. Each day there will be some limited release surprises.
A couple of pointers for the folks who go today or tomorrow:
- Don't feel bad pouring out a beer you don't like...these are heavy alcohol beers and you are tasting many of them, no need to drink the entire sample if you don't like it. We poured many beers out which gave us more room for others.
- Eat well before you go and then eat well during your sampling. Their are a couple of great food vendors at the event (like Bunk Sandwiches.) Use them! You will need it to help consume the heavily alcohol. We sampled for 2 hours, ate a big pretzel, then went to the Yardhouse and consumed some heavy food - that helped a ton.
- 21 & over only. Have fun, dress warmly and please drink responsibly.
- Here are some other local beer sites that also have reviewed the 2014 Holiday Ale Fest. Not So Professional Beer Blog, Beer Musings from Portland, A pint for dionysus, Beervanna Buzz, The New School, Beervana.
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