First there was the bomb attempt that put Portland on the map for the first time Nationally, as a target of terrorism. Then there is the over 17,000 people that attended this year’s festival, over the five days starting on Wednesday and coendinghat Sunday. Finally count them 60 different beers were served up from December 1st through December 5th.
For us it was the mixture of specifically created for beers either in single form (Winter Ales, etc.) or blended. Yep, it was a week filled with one-offs and limited edition (some never to be seen again), beers, consumed by all.
Here is what the organizing committee had to say about this year’s Holiday Ale Festival
New features to this year's festival were well-received, including the addition of a printed map of the five different bars on the required festival tasting mug; a real-time mobile interface that listed the beers, their location on-site and their descriptions (m.holidayale.com); and a VIP ticket, which cost $45 in advance and allowed users to bypass long lines at both the entrance and the bars.
The Belgian Beer and Brunch, an auxiliary event held on the Sunday of the festival, sold out, with more than 120 people sampling prestigious beers and noshing on pastries, meats and cheeses in an area overlooking the main festival tents.
The People's Choice winner, as determined by the beer that sold the most kegs, was Moore Holiday Ale. A Collaborator beer (Collaborator is a project where homebrewers submit recipes and the selected beer is brewed commercially by Widmer Brothers Brewing Co.), the Imperial Bohemian Pilsner was made with Saaz hops and smooth Pilsner malts that refreshed the palate.
Hopworks Urban Brewery Kentucky Christmas came in second, while four breweries tied for third: Deschutes Streaking the Quad, Lompoc Franc'ly Brewdolph, Stone Smoked Porter and Ninkasi Unconventionale.
Two fundraisers for the Children's Cancer Association (CCA) were deemed a success: the Crater Lake Soda Garden, which poured root beer for designated drivers and accepted tips for donation, and a coat and bag check that ran at capacity much of the time. The festival matched the monies raised by both projects, bringing in $2,500 for the charity. The CCA also held a raffle that raised an additional $2,000.
Festival attendees stayed warm and dry under a large clear-topped tent that covered the venue while allowing for views of the city lights. Gas heaters created a cozy ambience under the boughs of the city's Christmas tree. In addition to beer tasting, the Holiday Ale Festival also featured on-site food, event merchandise, organic cheeses, roasted nuts, mead sampling, and seasonal background music.
Look for next year’s Holiday Ale festival to take place November 30th through December 4th. For more information visit and re-visit the Holiday Ale Festival page at www.holidayale.com or call 503-252-9899.