Sun. May 26th, 2024

The Holiday Ale Festival takes place in the heart of downtown Portland at Pioneer Courthouse Square. Here is a list of their beers from this year and comments. Please note: this version of the list includes the style in the name of the beer.

Alameda Brewhouse
Papa Noel’s Special Reserve Old Ale
ABV: 8.5% /IBUs: 40

Papa Noel’s Special Reserve is brewed in the style of a big, malty English Olde ale. The beer is both kettle-hopped and dry-hopped with an English Noble variety that gives this ale a traditional British character. It’s also aged with Whisky-soaked oak spires, lending a dryness to the huge amount of Crystal malt employed in the grain bill. It’s just the beer for a chilly winter night.

Alaskan Brewing Company
Alaskan Barley Wine
ABV: 10.4% / IBUs: 60

Alaskan Barley Wine Ale is as full-bodied as its deep mahogany color implies. It is brewed with three times the normal amount of malts – premium 2-Row and Specialty – to achieve its big malt character and high residual sweetness. An abundance of hops used during the boil and dry hopping process provides a contrast to the malt, resulting in the smooth balance that characterizes this specialty brew.

Anchor Brewing Company
Old Foghorn Barleywine ABV: 9.0%

Old Foghorn is highly hopped, using only Cascade hops, and is fermented with a true top-fermenting ale yeast. Carbonation is produced by an entirely natural process called “bunging,” which produces champagne-like bubbles. The beer is dry-hopped with additional Cascade hops while it ages in our cellars. The high original gravity and full flavor of this ale makes it perfect for sipping after dinner.

Bayern Brewing Face Plant Doppel Weizen
ABV: 7.5% / IBUs: 20

Face Plant is a top fermented, unfiltered dark wheat bock beer and serves as a worthy counterpart to Bayern’s famous Doppel Bock Lager. This is the brewery’s only decoction brewed beer, melding five types of malt (Wheat, Pilsner, Caramel Munich and Chocolate). The beer also surprises with its complex flavor and perfectly balanced sweetness thanks to German Hallertauer Perle hops.

Bear Republic Brewing Company
Barrel-Aged Old Baba Yaga Imperial Stout
ABV: 11.5% / IBUs: 110

Old Baba Yaga was the witch who guarded the fountain of life and death, and held dominion over a wintery forest landscape. This beer is brewed to both celebrate winter’s bony fingers and represent some of the power of Baby Yaga’s fountain. The black depths of this Russian Imperial Stout, aged in French Oak Cabernet barrels, hold coffee, licorice and bittersweet chocolate flavor.

Black Diamond Brewing Company
Black Diamond Winter Ale (Belgian Abbey-Style Dubbel)
ABV: 7.5% / IBUs: 23

Rich Belgian malts and Belgian Candi Sugar are blended with spicy hops, then fermented with a unique Belgian yeast to create this beer. Dark garnet in color, the beer’s aroma is laden with jamlike fruit: raisins, dates, plums and cherries. The malts are big and luscious and the finish is long with a sherry-like smoothness.

Block 15 Restaurant & Brewery
Oaked St. Nick American Strong Ale
ABV: 9.4% / IBUs: 55

Block 15’s winter warmer, Ol’ St. Nick, is brewed with organic 2-Row and English Specialty malts. Ample amounts of Sterling and Mt Hood hops balance the malt, with additional Mt Hoods for dry hopping. This batch of Ol’ St. Nick spent two months aging on medium toasted American oak, contributing notes of vanilla, spice and wood, and giving you Oaked St Nick.

Brasserie Dubuisson Freres
Scaldis Noel Belgian Dark Strong Ale (2009)
ABV: 13%

Three different malts give Scaldis its complexity, including a caramel malt for a rich, amber color. This beer is dry, with a clean, nutty finish. The nose is characterized by sherry, caramel, and roasted filbert aromas, complemented by some floral, hoppy notes. The finish is long and warming, but remains in balance with the flavors.

Brasserie Dupont Avec Les Bons Voeux
Saison (2009)

ABV: 9.5%

Translation: “With the best wishes of the Brewery Dupont”. This is their Christmas beer, a Christmas Saision if you will. The effervescence brings forth a lemony nose with hints of clove, banana and pepper. Its malty richness stays on the tongue until the next sip. This very complex, yet extremely drinkable “winter saison” comes across at 9.5%.

BridgePort Brewing Company
BourbonEzer Barrel-Aged Winter Warmer
ABV: 6.3% IBUs: 27

Taste what happens when BridgePort puts its Ebenezer Ale into American oak bourbon barrels for a year. An already smooth, malty and delicious ale mellows into a luscious holiday treat. Hints of vanilla mix and mingle with sweet caramel and toffee, while English Golding hops add a light spice. BourbonEzer is dark as a winter evening but friendly and inviting in the holiday spirit.

Cascade Brewing Company
Drie Zwarte Pieten “Sang Noir 2009” Barrel-Aged Sour Ale
ABV: 10.2% / IBUs: 5

Sang Noir is complex dance with the barrels at Cascade Brewing. The 2009 version is a big, full-bodied double Flanders style red ale with distinct barrel notes. This double red comes from a blend of several barrel aged beers, with portions of the beer aging in Heaven Hills and Makers Mark Whiskey barrels, Pinot Noir Barrels, and Double red aged on 100 pounds of Bing Cherries. Some Bourbonic Plague and Blond Quad aged in Minnesota oak was added to bring some sweet high notes. And a straight sour pie blend was added to taste to bring the sourness to the front. A little bigger than last years version and available only at the Holiday Ale Festival.

Sled Crasher Winter Warmer [Strong Ale]
ABV: 6.8% / IBUs: 42

Collaborator Sled Crasher is a rich-tasting, strong winter warmer whose fairly high bitterness is well-masked by a fruity, full-bodied caramel malt flavor and a touch of bittersweet chocolate in the background. Its a big beer, but not so big that you cant enjoy a couple of pints. Itll definitely warm the cockles of you heart, and whatever other cockles that need to be warmed.

Deschutes Brewery
Lost Barrels of Mirror Mirror Oak-Aged Barleywine
ABV: 10.7% / IBUs: 51

After releasing this Mirror Mirror inspired barley wine earlier this year as part of the Reserve Series, the brewers discovered some “lost” barrels hidden in the back corner of the warehouse. They set aside this special 100% barrel-aged version of Mirror Mirror for occasions such as the Holiday Ale Festival. Lucky you!

Dogfish Head Craft Brewery
Chicory Stout
ABV: 5.2% / IBUs: 21

Chicory Stout is a rich, dark beer made with a touch of roasted chicory, organic Mexican coffee, St. John’s Wort and licorice root. Creamy, roasty, peppery, dry and chocolatey, the beer is brewed with whole-leaf Cascade and Fuggles hops, and Pale, Roasted and Oatmeal grains.

Eel River Brewing Company
Holiday Spiced Baltic Porter
ABV: 8.0% / IBUs: 43

Eel River Brewing Co’s Spiced Baltic Porter is a California Common yeast fermented, cinnamon and vanilla spiced porter designed especially for the Holiday Ale Festival. Brewed with 100% organic hops and barley, its rich caramel and chocolate notes and subtle spices make this beer a very pleasurable winter warmer.

Firestone Walker Brewing Company
Velvet Merkin Oatmeal Stout
ABV: 5.5% / IBUs: 33

This small batch traditional oatmeal stout is brewed with 15% oats, 31% Maris Otter malt and a portion of roasted barley. It’s hopped with 100% US grown Fuggles. The combination produces a smooth and creamy mouth feel, accompanied by a mild bitterness and a roasted caramel finish.

Fort George Brewery & Public House
North III Belgian Tripel
ABV: 8.8% / IBUs: 99

Brewed strong, bold and sweet with honey malt and maple syrup, then fermented with our jolliest Belgian yeast, this beer then rests in the bright tank with 60 pounds of finely chopped sugar plums until the elves can wait no longer. The resulting elixir arrives onyx in hue with hints of oak and spice and a rich complex cornucopia of cheer for your palate. This is a fruitcake that won’t get tossed!

Full Sail Brewing Company
Wassail Holiday Blend Barrel-Aged Blend Strong Ale
ABV: 7.8% / IBUs: 60

This year, Full Sail brewers decided to don the Blendmaster hat and create a concoction from two of their favorite beers: Wassail and Bourbon Barrel Aged Imperial Porter. This m諡nge contains 35% Imperial Porter aged for nine months in Makers Mark casks, and 65% freshly filtered Wassail. The nose is Wassail’s green hop perfume washed with oak and hints of Bourbon, while the palate is full-bodied with elements of dark fruit, espresso and caramel, all finished with a long clean hoppy bitterness.

Golden Valley Brewery
Barrel-Aged Tannen Bomb Winter Warmer [Strong Ale]
ABV: 6.1% / IBUs: 35

Golden Valley has taken its strongest ale, the award-winning Tannen Bomb, and aged it in Pinot Noir oak barrels. Huge amounts of imported Carastan and Crystal malts impart a might complex of perfectly malted and roasted 2-Row barley for the beer lover to savor. The massive malt components are delicately balanced and refined with a generous hopping of Chinook, Liberty and Fuggles; and dry-hopped with Kent Goldings for an aromatic finish.

Grand Teton Brewing Company
Black Cauldron Imperial Stout
ABV: 8.0% / IBUs: 43

This thick, rich Imperial Stout was brewed with plenty of Caramel and Roasted malts and subtly spiced with American Chinook and Styrian Goldings hops. The brewers accentuated the natural smokiness of the brew by adding a small amount of beechwood-smoked malt. The beer boasts flavors of chocolate and coffee, along with raisings and dried fruit soaked in sherry.

Great Divide Brewing Company
Hibernation Ale English-Style Old Ale
ABV: 8.7% / IBUs: 37

Hibernation Ale has been Great Divide’s celebrated winter tradition since 1995. This robust, dry-hopped ale has a malty richness balanced with a complex hop forile and hearty, warming character.

Holiday Ale / Hair of the Dog Commemorative
JIM (2009) Barrel Aged Old Ale
ABV: 10%

JIM 2009 is a collaboration between the Holiday Ale Festival and Hair of the Dog Brewing. Made exclusively for the event, JIM honors the late Jim Kennedy, a major inspiration for many in the NW beer circles. This is a blended beer, and varies with each incarnation. 2009 is in the realm of and hoppy barrel aged old ale. Made with Doggie Claws, Adam, Fred from the wood, and Blue Dot. Additionally JIM was blended with a Keg of English Brown Ale, German Bock, and American Strong ale. JIM was toasted with a few bottles; Cantillon St. Lamvinus, Scaldis Noel, Corsendonk Christmas ale, and Orval.

Hopworks Urban Brewery
Kronan the Barbarian Baltic Porter
ABV: 8.3% / IBUs: 25

Deep like the Baltic Sea and as massive as the Swedish ship Kronan sunk in its icy waters, our Baltic Porter greets you with a frothy tan head and rich malty aroma with notes of chocolate, caramel, dark fruit and toasted marshmallow. As its garnet color mesmerizes, the rich flavors engulf the senses. Made with bottom fermenting lager yeast, Kronan the Barbarian is as rich and strong as an Austrian actor but with more depth.

Kona Brewing Company
Black Sand Porter
ABV: 6.6% / IBUs: 40

Black Sand Porter is a robust, full bodied porter with pronounced bittersweet chocolate flavor and aroma from the diverse variety of malt – Premium 2-Row, Chocolate, Munich, Caramel, Carapils and Black – used to brew the beer. Centennial and Northern Brewer hops balance the maltiness of this robust and roasty ale.

Lagunitas Brewing Company
Olde Gnarley Wine [Barleywine] (2008)
ABV: 9.9% / IBUs: 69

Making a mondo ultra mega super premium barleywine is a little like having a kid. The first part is fun and messy, it takes awhile to ferment, and then a whole lot longer to mature. It is expensive and takes up a lot of space. You worry about how it’ll grow up and whether or not you’ll still be friends. Eventually it stays out all night and comes home with its skirt on backwards. You know how it is…

Laht Neppur Brewing Company
Waitsburg Winkle Warmer Holiday Spiced Ale
ABV: 8.0% / IBUs: 46

This finely balanced spiced ale is reminiscent of an after dinner holiday dessert. It is best enjoyed when slightly hand-warmed, to release the subtle aromas and full flavors of the sweet orange peel, cinnamon, clove and honey. Take your time and share it with a close friend or a complete stranger.

Laughing Dog Brewing
Chocolate Huckleberry Stout
ABV: 5.5% / IBUs: 28

Wanting to put a spin on a chocolate stout, one of Laughing Dog’s brewers decided to add some Pacific Northwest huckleberries to a pilot batch he was brewing. The result was a smooth, creamy chocolate stout with just a hint of berry in the nose. Brewed with six different malts and English hops, the coffee and chocolate tones are the perfect holiday gift.

Laurelwood Public House & Brewery
Polska (Baltic) Porter
ABV: 10.1% / IBUs: 40

Polska Porter is the perfect remedy for a cold Warsaw winter night. A rich beer, this Baltic Porter uses a blend of four malts to achieve a unique and complex flavor. Na zdrowie. Vivat.

Lompoc Brewery Brewdolph Belgian-Style Red Ale
ABV: 7.6%

This Belgian style red ale features a malty and creamy body. Brewed with the Belgian Ardennes yeast strain, it boasts a mild fruitiness and a spicy clove character.

MacTarnahan’s Brewing Company
Chocolate Imperial Stout
ABV: 7.4% / IBUs: 48

Imperial Stout is a rich, dark, strong ale made with a variety of malts – Caramel, Chocolate, Dark Chocolate and Black -, roasted barley and oats, and select Nugget hops. Stouts were originally brewed for members of royalty and traditionally had higher alcohol content to allow for greater travel times. In this version, the brewers added chocolate nibs to the recipe to provide a very interesting flavor combination.

McMenamins Old St. Francis School
Elvin Conspiracy Belgian Tripel
ABV: 8.8% / IBUs: 28

Elvin Conspiracy Belgian Trippel is a golden hued ale that offers a nice mixture of fruitiness and spiciness due to the ester and phenol presence in the Trappist High Gravity yeast used during fermentation. There’s also a hint of citrus that urges the tongue to enjoy the clove-like flavor, and a moderately high amount of hop character brought on by Crystal and US Golding hops. The higher alcohol content creates a smoothness that borders along a creaminess the palate desires. So raise a pint for Santa and all the good he has done throughout the years, despite conspiracy minded elves!

New Belgium Brewing Company
Lips of Faith Series
Various ABV Various IBUs

New Belgium Brewing Co will be featuring – in no particular order – a smattering of its Lips of Faith beers. LOF is a series of beers made for the faithful, ranging from sour beers to saisons to otherwise adventurous styles of beers not made for wide consumption. New Belgium has assembled a crazy list, including: La Folie, Dandelion Ale, Tart Lychee, NBB Love, Le Terroir, Trip II, Trip III, Fall Wild Ale, Biere de Mars, Transatlantique kriek and Eric’s Ale. You may want to camp at the tap all weekend long!

Ninkasi Brewing Company
Unconventionale Herbed Imperial Stout
ABV: 10.0% / IBUs: 70

Ninkasi has brought a deep, rich, dark stout that is full bodied and surprisingly smooth for a high octane beer. Delicious, creamy, warming and fulfilling, the flavor is rounded out by hints of lavender, tarragon and heather for a unique holiday offering.

Oakshire Brewing Very Ill-Tempered Gnome American Barleywine
ABV: 9.5% / IBUs: 100

Look out! Someone in the brewhouse broke the Ill-tempered gnome’s little red cap. Now he’s very ill-tempered. To placate him, the brewers have cranked their hoppy brown ale up to 11! Well, 9.5 at least. Look for a complex malt profile balanced by a blast of flavorful and aromatic American hops, all woven together with a blanket of warming alcohol. This winter warmer is sure to soften the grumpy little guy!

Oskar Blues
Mama’s Little Yella Czech-Style Pilsner Pils
ABV: 5.3% IBUs: 35

Mamas is made with hearty amounts of pale malt, German specialty malts, and traditional (Saaz) and 21st century Bavarian hops. Its the perfect antidote for the watered-down, cornfed versions of pilsner clogging Americas shelves. It’s fermented at cool temperatures with a German yeast. While its rich with Czeched-out flavor, Mamas gentle hopping and low ABV make it a luxurious but low-dose beer.

Pelican Pub & Brewery
Bad Santa Black IPA
ABV: 7.0% / IBUs: 70

This mysterious dark elixir is filled with complex malt flavors and aromas with toasted malt and roast character blending seamlessly to the alluring herbal hop aroma that comes from copious amounts of Fuggle hops. Bad Santa doesn’t care if you’ve been naughty or nice, he wants this beer on your list.

Pyramid Brewing Company
Super Snow Cap Strong Ale
ABV: 9.0% IBUs: 36

This heroic beer takes the brewery’s full-bodied winter warmer, Snow Cap, to a whole new level. The brewers took the same flurry of Roasted Chocolate and Caramel malts and generous hops, and powered it all into a more concentrated experience. The result is a super-charged deep mahogany brew full of malt sweetness and robust flavors and aromas, creating rich and warming aspects of dark fruits, nuts and spice with a sweet finish.

Redhook Roggenhammer (Imperial) IPA
ABV: 8.1% / IBUs: 57

This rich, smooth, well-balanced Imperial IPA boasts a fresh, dry-hopped finish. Its unique flavors are derived from malted and flaked rye, as well as specialty Caramel and 2-Row Pale malts.

Rock Bottom Restaurant & Brewery
Blitzen Belgian-Style Tripel
ABV: 8.4% / IBUs: 28

Blitzen is a strong golden ale with a fruity and spicy aroma. It’s bright and effervescent with notes of clove, plum, apricot, pepper and peppermint, balanced with a dry maltiness. The color is a deep gold, and it pours with a thick, rich, long lasting head. Whereas it is quite strong, it is remarkably light on the palate and easy to drink.

Rogue Ales
Mogul Madness Strong Ale
ABV: 6.5% / IBUs: 68

Mogul Madness Ale is a dark and hearty beer with layers of complex malt flavor derived from Harrington, Klages, Maier Munich, Crystal 135/165 and Chocolate malts. The beer is radically hopped with seven different hops.

Seven Brides Brewing
Drunkel Strong Ale
ABV: 9.5% / IBUs: 90

This traditional Strong Ale has a wonderful malt aroma with hints of fruit and coffee. Its rich dark amber color and silky smooth finish hail from a blended trio of hops, malt and alcohol. Watch out, because this is one of those beers that will sneak up on you!

Sierra Nevada Brewing Company
Estate Brewers Harvest Ale (2009 American IPA)
ABV: 6.7% / IBUs: 68

Estate Ale is the product of years of tending the soil, building an environment around the brewery, and even more years of planning. It began in 2003, with the planting of the first experimental hop yard in the field adjacent to the brewery. Over the years the field grew, and the hops along with it. The quality improved: the rhythm of planting, tending, and harvesting was established. In 2008, the brewery released Chico Estate Harvest Ale for the first time, utilizing the fresh-green flavors of these homegrown hops. The brewery was so pleased with the result that it decided to take it further than anyone else and produce a 100% estate-made beer.

Southern Oregon Brewing Company
Son of Santa Imperial Red
ABV: 9.0% / IBUs: 110

This winter offering is an Imperial Red with a backbone of Munich malts and flaked oats, following up with more than generous hop additions of Simcoe and Centennials to balance out an amazingly drinkable beast!

Stone Brewing Company
Bourbon Barrel-Aged Arrogant Bastard American Strong Ale
ABV: 7.2%

This is an aggressive beer. The brewers at Stone think you probably won’t like it. They say it is quite doubtful that you have the taste or sophistication to be able to appreciate an ale of this quality and depth. Prove them wrong!

Three Creeks Brewing Company
Rudolph’s Imperial Red
ABV: 8.7% / IBUs: 80

This is a big, bold Imperial Red ale with ample malt and hops, hearty enough to fuel Rudolph for his sleigh ride and keep his nose shining bright and red all night long!

Upright Brewing Company
Holy Herb Farmhouse Winter Ale
ABV: 6.9% / IBUs: 18

The Holy Herb is a malty farmhouse winter beer. The name refers to hyssop, a medicinal pant with a minty and bitter character that was added to the kettle. It’s also aged on eucalyptus wood staves and bark, which provides some earthy and cooling qualities to its flavor. A contrasting fruity aroma comes from a Belgian yeast that fermented the beer in open top tanks.

Vertigo Brewing Arctic Blast Robust Vanilla Porter (2009)
ABV: 5.8% IBUs: 25

Briess Pale malt balanced with Roast, Dark, Crystal and Munich malts allow for the perfect mix of malted barley for this Robust Porter with Madagascar vanilla bean. Lightly hopped to allow a slight roast, dominant chocolate and vanilla bean character to come through, this beer borders on the low end of the IBU scale and the high side for Original Gravity.

Widmer Brothers Brewing Company
Cherry Oak Doppel Bock
ABV: 9.0% / IBUs: 35

Widmer’s brewers took their original Doppel Bock, kicked up the OG and ABV, and fermented it with dark sweet and red tart cherries. They then aged the beer on oak spirals to impart a subtle wood flavor.

By Professor Good Ales

Mythical poster at The LTS Good for What Ales You Beer Journal. Loves good beer. Hates same old, same old. Muses that Bud and Miller might as well be brewed in urinals. Drinks lagers too, if they are complex and interesting.

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