Sunday, December 5, 2010


Ever since coming out to Portland and talking to beer geek brethren, we’ve heard that the Holiday Ale Festival was the best fest out here. Sounding somewhat similar to the Minnesota Craft Brewers Guild Winterfest in that the majority of beers would be more wintery in flavor and stronger in ABV, we were looking forward to partaking.

I’ll spare you my event planner and been-to-plenty-of-beer-fests critique of HAF. If you truly want to hear how it stacks up to Winterfest, just let me know. I’d be happy to rattle on for quite a while with all the nitty gritty. Instead, I’ll fast forward to what I know you want to hear.

Undoubtedly, everyone always wants to know what your favorite beer of a festival was. Sometimes it’s harder than others to pin it down to just one. Not this year. I can firmly say my favorite beer was Breakside Brewing’s Belge d’Hiver.

Their description of this Belgian Strong Ale:
Brewed using Belgian Pils malt, wit yeast, and an absurd amount of Continental hops, this light colored brew defies easy style categories and stakes out new territory in the brewing world. It’s finished with a touch of secret holiday spices for additional complexity.

Those of you that have spent any time drinking with me should know that with “Belgian Pils malt” and “wit yeast” should send me running the other way. Generally it probably would have but thanks to Fate making things happen for a reason, we got to chatting with some folks in an isolated area of the festival where I’d already tried the rest of the beers I wanted to. This choice was more one of default than anything else.

Granted, when I first put the glass (I use this term liberally as they only offer plastic tasting mugs) to my nose all I could think was that the beer smelled like piss. And not in that good hay and manure or B.O. way. Good thing I soldiered on because upon tasting it I was hooked! In the end I probably had about a full pint of it and had they had it when we returned the next day (it's a five day fest), I would have had more.

A strong runner up, and probably the beer that topped the fest for Mag, was Buckbean Brewing’s Very Noddy Lager. And finally, the beer that I’d want to sip in front of a fire on a quiet winter’s night would be Oskar Blues’ 2008 Ten Fiddy.

1 comment:

  1. I'm still sitting in my jealousy about your Oregon adventures in everything beer, Kris. One day...

    Have a great holiday and drink a great brew for me! I will take your advice and gather with my newly created "family" away from family here in Minnesota. Cheers!