Like many I traveled to see relatives for Thanksgiving and I put the flight time to good use, pouring over the Holiday Ale Festival program in more depth than I probably ever have. While there's a chance I'll go more than once over the course of the five-day festival, there will still be more beers than I can drink. Therefore prioritizing my drinking, well..., takes priority.
Sorting through the list there were beers that went in the "don't need to drink" category including those styles that I generally don't enjoy and those I can find outside of the festival. Then there were those that went into the middle/maybe category. Finally, there were the ones that I would be remiss if I missed including Cocoa Brett Stout - a blending of Bison Brewing and Logsdon Farmhouse beers containing my favorite yeast, Brett, and conditioned with pear juice - and Wild Merkin - another blending, this time with Firestone Walker and Barrelworks beers. Not only does it have a great name but wild/sour beers are a favorite style of mine.
My final, "must have" list totaled a mere 13 beers in length. Brief is however somewhat misleading in this context where nearly half of them exceed 10% AVB. In addition I'm sure there will be others that catch my eye or have a short line and if I make it through 20 samples it might be an early to bed kind of day.
Not included on my list, as I'm still figuring out when I'll be there, are beers from the Limited Tappings beer list. Schloss Eggenberg Samichlaus and 2008 Oskar Blues Ten Fiddy, both which happen to be tapping at 2:00 p.m. on Wednesday, are intriguing so that might be my target time to go.
If you're planning go to and want to plan out your visit in advance the full list of beers is available here. You can also purchase your tickets in advance through Tuesday night. Happy festing!