What makes this festival standout from other similar events is the beer selection: the festival works with every brewery involved to make sure they send a beer that has either been made or blended specifically for the event, or is a rare or vintage beer that isn't commonly tapped in the state, underscoring the event's reputation as one of finest gathering of winter beers anywhere in the nation. These top tier breweries are supported by some of the nation’s most passionate beer appreciators who have the good fortune to be able to celebrate all their favorite breweries in one location.
A small sample of the lineup includes Cascade Brewing’s Gingersnaps, a NW style sour blend of red, spiced red and spiced quad ales aged in Bourbon and rum barrels for up to two years on spices; Eel River’s Gargantua II, an imperial strong ale aged on Bourbon vanilla beans and blended with a strong ale aged in Jack Daniels barrels for six months; Dogfish Head’s Rasion d’Etre, a Belgian-style brown ale brewed with beet sugar, raisins and Belgian-style yeast that is rarely seen in the Northwest; and Stone Brewing Liberty Station’s New Desecrator, a black barleywine with nearly the same profile as Stone Old Guardian, but surrounded by de-husked darkness.
Beer alternatives include two ciders: 2 Towns Bourbon Barrel Aged Nice & Naughty, a specialty cider fermented with dark meadowfoam honey and aged in Bourbon barrels with spices; and Finnriver Stone & Pome Cider, a Bourbon barrel aged plum and peach cider. There is also a Triple Brett barrel aged sour session mead from Nectar Creek Honeywine, and Aurora Amber Braggot from Viking Braggot Co, with juniper berries, spruce tips and local blackberry honey.
To enter and consume beer, the purchase of an entry package is required. Advance ticket packages are available now through 11:00am PST on Dec. 3 at http://holidayale.com/advance-tickets.php; advance general admission tickets cost $35 and include the tasting mug, 14 taster tickets and express entry all five days. Advance VIP 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.) Door prices are the same, but do not allow for expedited entry.
A full mug of beer costs four taster tickets, and a taster costs one ticket. Certain limited release and special tappings may not be available in full mug pours, or may cost double tickets. Additional beer tickets can be purchased for $1 apiece. Previous years’ mugs will not be filled.
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 (DDs are not allowed to consume alcohol).
Holiday Festival hours are 11am to 10pm Wednesday through Saturday, and 11am to 5pm Sunday. To avoid the lengthy lines that often accompany beer festivals, the recommended days for attendance are Wednesday, Thursday and Sunday. The Holiday Ale Festival is for ages 21 and over.
Attendees stay warm and dry under clear-topped tents that cover the venue. Gas heaters create a cozy ambiance beneath the boughs of the region's largest decorated Christmas tree. In addition to beer tasting, the festival also features meet the brewer events, a root beer garden, food vendors, beer pairings with cheese, event merchandise and a coat and bag check that raises funds for the Children's Cancer Association. For more information, visit www.holidayale.com.
10 Barrel Brewing Co., TBA, Double Black Ale with Black Licorice
13 Virtues Brewing Co., Barrel-Aged MAX Stout, Imperial Stout
2 Towns Ciderhouse, Bourbon Barrel Nice & Naughty, Cider
Alameda Brewing Co., Admiration IPA, American IPA
Baerlic Brewing Company, The Great Bear, NW Red Ale aged on Beechwood
Base Camp Brewing Company, Dunkelrauch Weizenbock, Imperial Grätzer
Bear Republic Brewing, Do You Want to Build A Snowman?, Golden Barrel Aged Blend
Burnside Brewing, Jingleberry, Imperial Stout aged on Fresh Cranberries
Cascade Brewing, Gingersnaps, NW Style Sour Strong Ale
Coalition Brewing, Big Maple, Imperial Maple Porter
Deluxe Brewing Company, Dunkel the Halls...With Beer & Jolly, Dunkel Bock
Deschutes Brewery, Scarlet Flame IRA, India Red Ale
Dick's Brewing Company, Black Friday Stout, Imperial Stout
Dogfish Head Craft Brewery, Dogfish Head Raison d'Etre, Belgian-style Brown Ale
Drake's Brewing Co., Jolly Rodger 2014, Imperial Coffee Stout
Eel River Brewing, Gargantua II, Whiskey Barrel Vanilla Imperial Strong Ale Blend
Elysian Brewing Company, Knock on Nelson, IPA with Nelson Sauvin
Ex Novo Brewing Co., TBD, Mexican Chocolate Baltic Porter
Fearless Brewing Company, Ichabod, Pumpkin Ale, Spice/Herb/Vegetable
Feckin Brewery, Top O' The Feckin' Mornin', Imperial Espresso Milk Porter
Finnriver Farm & Cidery, Finnriver Stone & Pome Cider, Barrel Aged Plum and Peach Cider
Fort George Brewery and Public House, Santa's Dinner Jacket, Bourbon Barrel Aged Imperial Red Ale
Gigantic Brewing, Red Rider BB Gun, Saison with Cranberries
Gilgamesh Brewing, Eastside Bandit, Bourbon Barrel Aged Porter
Golden Valley Brewery, Pinot Noir Barrel-Aged Tannen Boom, Barrel-Aged Belgian-Style Strong Ale
Hopworks Urban Brewery, The Incredible Abominable of the Enchanted Barrel Forest, Barrel Aged Imperial Winter Ale
Kells Brew Pub, MIC Stout AKA Boom Roaster, Milk Imperial Coffee Stout
Lagunitas Brewing Company, Scare City, Wheatwine
Lompoc Brewing, Pinot Noir Barrel Aged Cheval de Trait Belge, Belgian Strong Ale
Mazama Brewing Co., Noel Rouge, Imperial Wit
McMenamins Edgefield Brewery, Lord of Misrule, Rum Barrel Aged Habanero
Migration Brewing, Frankie Claus, Belgian Imperial Stout
Natian Brewery, Irish Water, Imperial Golden Ale
Nectar Creek Mead, Triple Brett, Barrel Aged Sour Session Mead
New Belgium Brewing Company, La Folie, Sour Brown Ale
Ninkasi Brewing Co, Doppelbock, Doppelbock
No-Li Brewhouse, Whiskey Barrel Aged Winter Warmer, Winter Warmer
Oakshire Brewing, Prestidigitation, White Chocolate Milk Stout
Old Town Brewing Company, Bluth's Original Chocolate Banana Hefeweizen, Chocolate Bavarian-style Hefeweizen
Payette Brewing Company, Bandito, IPA with Agave and Tequila Soaked Oak Chips
Portland Brewing, 2014 Bourbon Barrel-aged Imperial Stout, Bourbon Barrel Aged Cherry Stout with Coffee
Rock Bottom, Yul Brynner, Santo Poco style Strong Ale
Rogue Ales, BIG ASS BARREL Maple Doppelbock, German Style Doppelbock
Rusty Truck Brewing Co, Santaweizen, Weizenbock
Santiam Brewing, Golden Sultan, Belgian Golden Strong
Seven Brides Brewing, The 503, Barleywine
Sixpoint Brewery, Lump of Coal Porter, Robust Porter
Slanted Rock Brewing Company, Cordial Tease, Spiced Winter Ale
Stickmen Brewery & Skewery, Big Chocolate Banana, Dunkelweizen
Stone Brewing World Bistro & Gardens – Liberty Station, New Desecrator, Black Barley Wine
Vertigo Brewery and Taproom, Busted Head Red, Imperial Red Ale
Viking Braggot Company, Aurora, NW Amber Braggot
Widmer Brothers Brewing, Frosty The Munchieman, Porter