Sunday, December 4, 2011

Holiday Ale Fest 2011

There's little time left to enjoy one of the Pacific Northwest's favorite seasonal ale fests - Holiday Ale Fest's last day is winding down as we speak. What a great time - we slid in with no line at 11:45a on Saturday, and remarking on the well lit and warm tents, proceeded to cruise around with no problem; enjoying several very delicious beers.

Below, my very informal notes - I really enjoyed seeing several fellow #pdxbeergeeks wandering around, and the consensus was that although the evenings tended to bring a different (dare we say, fratty) crowd to the event, most serious beer folks I talked to were raving about the organization of the event, the layout, the early attendance (going early = little to no crowds!) and best of all, THE BEER!

Firestone: Bourbon Barrel Aged Velvet Merkin - smooth, but not remarkable. well balanced w bourbon but lost stouty characteristcs... i would have liked a bit more substance.

Oakshire: The Nutcracker - slightly smoky, deep good mouthfeel

Seven Brides: Drunkle 2011 - dunkel, fruity, bright

Laht Neppur: Laughing Boy Stout - pretty good, chocolatey and chompy

Lagunitas: Old Gnarley Wine - deep raisin fruit flavors

Bison Brew: Marmalade - orange top notes belgian, needs more body; while I really like this, I wish that it drank more like a tripel, more velvety

Black Diamond: Bourbon/Brandy Imperial Porter - needs more mouthfeel

Hopworks: Kentucky Christmas - love! resiny & hoppy

Deschutes: Super Jubel - hoppy, roasty

Burnside:  Barrel Aged Permafrost - smooth, slightly tart, delicious strong ale

Stone: Ruination IPA DDH w Appolo Hops and American Oak Chips - mushroomy & loamy, the oak stomps on the hops

Note to #pdxbeergeeks: I was so sad that when I got to the festival that they had run out of programs. I'd neglected to really study the program online ahead of time - and because of the combination of my own unpreparedness and the popularity of the festival programs, I missed a few beers that I really wish I'd tried. Never underestimate the power of doing your homework! (but of course, I don't have to tell YOU guys that...)

The Commons: Little Brother Strong Ale
Ninkasi: The Little One
Laurelwood: Corsican Christmas Ale
Elysian: Bye Bye Frost
Bear Republic: Winter Chocolate Wheat

Well? Did you all get there? What did you think? Which were your favorites, and were there any you regret missing?