Archive | November, 2012

2012 Holiday Ale Fest Tasting Notes

30 Nov

20121130-134405.jpg In case you are at the Holiday Ale Fest and just not sure whether you want a taste or a full glass, whether it just sounds too exotic but maybe amazing, or whether you are down to your last ticket and need to know how to spend it wisely…here are our tasting notes to help you decide. Remember, beer preferences and palettes vary. I may hate something you love. But hopefully these at least give you a bit of a description that will help you determine if it falls in your hate column or your love column. My final recommendation, however, would be: be adventurous.

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Your 2012 Holiday Ale Fest plan

30 Nov

For those of you that have been following our blog posts from the Holiday Ale Fest (wait…do you exist…are you out there??). Anyway, you know it’s been a great event this year. Not surprising, it’s the best event every year. Well planned and well staffed. They have plenty of  delicious beer: rare, one-of-a-kind, and only brewed for those devoted beer drinkers willing to stand out in the cold, come rain or shine. And it is well worth the wait and the layering. Everyone’s happy: the brewers, the volunteer servers, the door greeters, the drinkers (duh!), and even the alcohol monitors. And they’ve even improved my one gripe in years past – a map of where the beers are poured, especially now that they have the sky bar. Their mobile website give you all the details about the regular line-up and the specialty tastings. And talk about special this year (more on that later). It’s been crowded from time to time, but it has still been quite manageable and the lines bearable. Now tonight could get a little crazy up in those tents, so I will be headed down early today. I would recommend the same to you if you can leave the office behind at lunch. Whenever you get down there, here are suggestions for your plan of attack. It’s a pretty mixed bag, so it should please just about anyone… Continue reading

2009 Sang Noir from Cascade

29 Nov

20121129-143801.jpg This beer has left me speechless! It has a sweet and tart cherry nose with rich tannins. The barrel aging is even more prevalent this year than last – both Pinot and whiskey. You get the oak and a slight vanilla but I think the earthiness and berry characteristics from the Pinot barrels is stronger. It is a big-bodied sour with a red wine quality. There is a tart dryness to the finish. But what hits me most is how complex this beer is. I feel I should have more to say but there’s almost so much to say that I am left unable to say much. Two days in a row and Casade hits a homerun. Maybe I should spend more time down there! I have to add that we also enjoyed a full glass of Dogfish Head’s Festina Peche. That was much lighter, brighter, and crisp but also a great beer. It had a bright peach aroma with an equally bright pallette. Really true peach, noticeable Brett yeast, very tart, sour and dry, crisp finish. Light without being thin, very sour but not overpowering. Beautiful smell, color and fruit. Maybe more reminiscent of summer, but extremely tasty and a good halftime beer amongst all this winter bombers.

20121129-144641.jpg If you are on your way down to the Holiday Ale Festival, get down here quick while the specialty tappings are still flowing!

Cascade’s Diesel #2

28 Nov

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Best beer so far on day one at the Holiday Ale Festival. However, we are getting ready for a vertical tasting of the Abyss at 4pm. A little surprise at the last minute. I can work with that! More to follow on that soon! Be sure to get down here.

Holiday Ale Fest Eve 2012

27 Nov

Just getting started…at Lompoc’s Holiday Extravaganza

It’s that time of year again. Sugar plums. Elves. Tinsel. Pies. Egg nog. Manic Cyberspace Monday. Freakshow Friday. Sit on your butt civil war Saturday. Bing Crosby and Ella Fitzgerald on the radio. The first signs that the Holiday Ale Fest is quickly approaching. Followed by the not-so-subtle cues: a bunch of facebook posts about the beers this year and the tent setup as well as the e-mail with the list of this year’s holiday ales that will be served this week. I was in the middle of my work day, but what the heck, I better check it out, right? Next thing I know I am sorting the beers by ABV, by beer style, and by IBUs. Important things to know for beer tasting notes and when you are three sheets to the wind. As you may or may not know, from last year, this is a very exciting event for me, and tonight is a holiday of sorts. Some love Christmas Eve. I, I love Holiday Ale Fest Eve. Not only do I wake up tomorrow to go to the Ale Fest, but I get to drink beers all night at the Sidebar for Lompoc’s Holiday Beer Release Extravaganza. And if the Mayans are right, this may be the last beer festival to be celebrated on earth. It can’t be missed.

So, if you are headed down to Pioneer Square tomorrow for the Holiday Ale Festival, check out what they’ll have on tap. The list of beers sound amazing (as always), and we’ll be blowing up our facebook page with reviews. But for now, here are my thoughts on the beer list and my general plan of action for opening day at the festival. Continue reading

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