The Holiday Ale Festival hits Pioneer Square next Wednesday Dec. 3 through Sunday Dec. 7. And although drinking beer out in the cold may not sound like the best idea ever, keep two things in mind: The tents are heated, and the beers are so special, most of them you can't get anywhere else.
The 50 or so beers are typically holiday-appropriate, with a heavier body and lots of wintry flavors. Think bourbon- or rum-barrel aged beers, spiced beers, and beers brewed with dried fruits. The festival works with each brewery to make sure the beers they send are either made special for the event, or are rare beers not commonly found on tap in Oregon.
The lineup includes Cascade Brewing's Gingersnaps, a sour ale aged with spices in Bourbon and rum barrels for up to two years; 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.
There will be ciders and meads as well, including 2 Towns Bourbon Barrel Aged Nice & Naughty, which is fermented with dark meadowfoam honey and aged with spices in Bourbon barrels; and Finnriver Stone & Pome Cider, a Bourbon barrel aged plum and peach cider.
General admission tickets are $35 and include a festival mug, 14 beer tickets and expedited entry for all five days. VIP tickets are $80 and include 30 beer tickets and access to VIP beer lines and specialty beers. Additional beer tickets sold at the event are $1 each. Pay at the door or buy tickets in advance online.
Holiday Ale Festival: Pioneer Courthouse Square, 701 SW 6th Ave., Portland