Today is the first day of the 19th Annual Holiday Ale Festival although how we got so late into the year is beyond me. Perhaps it's due to how late Thanksgiving fell. Nonetheless, I'm staying true to my standard beer festival preparations with a perusal of the Standard Release Beers list and creation of my hit list.
Knowing I'd have to ax a fair number of them beers I ruled out ones I've had (like Kell's Boom Roaster, which is phenomenal!), beers I suspect I may be able to get elsewhere (like Lagunitas Scare City 2) or beers that are just not stylistically preferable to my palate (Belgian/Belgian Strong Ales).
As I made and reviewed my list I was surprised to find that I included some breweries I tend to pass by, but have been coming around to more lately, (like McMenamins and Portland Brewing). My initial cut yielded a mere 15 beers I definitely want to try and an additional 13 maybes for the B Side of my list. That boils down to a pretty doable amount, especially if I make it multiple days.
You're welcome to check out my full list but for those of you who prefer a Cliff Notes version my top eight are (in alphabetical order by brewery):
Burnside Brewing Co. Jingleberry - Imperial Stout with cranberries
Ex Novo Brewing Co. Moonstriker - Baltic Porter with Mexican chocolate
Feckin Brewery Top O' The Feckin' Mornin' - Imperial Espresso Milk Porter
Gigantic Brewing Red Ryder BB Gun - Saison with cranberries
McMenamins Lord of Misrule - Rum Barrel-Aged Mexican Mocha Imperial Stout
Nectar Creek Triple Brett - Barrel-Aged Session Mead
Oakshire Brewing Prestidigation - White Chocolate Milk Stout
Sixpoint Brewery Lump of Coal Porter - Robust Porter, a collaboration with "Beer Goddess" Lisa Morrison
Invariably I'll be disappointed by some I was most excited to try and conversely wowed by some I had dismissed (but was tipped off about from some of the beer friends I'll surely run into). But that's part of the fun, just like as a kid shaking the packages under the tree trying to guess what's inside.
May your #HAF19 mug run over with goodness!
19th Annual Holiday Ale Festival
Wednesday, December 3 - Sunday, December 7
Open 11:00 am daily, closing at 10:00 pm daily except for Sunday when festival concludes at 5:00 pm
Pioneer Courthouse Square
General admission tickets: $35 includes tasting mug and 14 tasting tickets