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…

  1. Cascade’s Diesel #2 – delicious barrel aged coffee and chocolate stout
  2. Dogfish Head’s Raison D’être – incredibly complex belgian style brown
  3. Commons’ Boysen – excellent balance of dark berry and solid dark chocolate roast
  4. New Belgium’s Frambozen – light and fruity, complex, and maintains its “beerness”
  5. Ninkasi’s Ancient Ale-ians – any drinker of NW beers should appreciate this one
  6. Breakside/Lompoc’s India Passion Elixir – nicely balanced with an incredible aroma on this Imperial Red
  7. Migration’s Feel the Rath – a tad too sweet for me but well done to its style (Belgian Triple)
  8. Firestone Walker’s Wild Merkin – the twist on this stout is well worth the try, making it brighter and fruitier
  9. Golden Valley’s Black Panther – a well executed rich, complex stout

Helpful hint: I would avoid Bear Republics Prepare to be Boarded.

The specialty kegs are just fantastic this year. I think they are every year, but I’ve really enjoyed the mix and had some incredibly glasses. If any of these are still being poured when you get there, try them. Otherwise, get ready for JIM, Snow Quad and a Kriek at 2pm. Check here for where they will be pouring.

  1. 2009 Sang Noir – even more complex than last year, like a nice glass of wine, sweet and tart cherries with rich tannins
  2. Dogfish Head’s Festina Peche – if you like sour beers this is refreshing and true peach flavor
  3. 2008 Oskar Blues Ten Fiddy – rich, roasty, coffee, dark chocolate and boozy
  4. 07-10 Abyss by Deschutes – 08 was the best but I know that blew, try any, they are delicious
  5. 09 Mirror Mirror – nice flavors but a bit too sweet for me, i think this could sit another year or two, but there were a ton of fans still

For more details about the beers, check out our post with our full tasting notes.

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2 Responses to “Your 2012 Holiday Ale Fest plan”

  1. Chad November 30, 2012 at 5:36 PM #

    I love Frambozen. Don’t see it here in the Bay Area but when I was in Denver I loved to go up to Fort Collins for a case for the month of December. Some good brews. On your list to put on mine to try and find down here in the People’s Republic of California.

    • Miranda December 1, 2012 at 9:35 AM #

      A case? I’m so jealous but happy to know to look for it in bottles. Great Fest this year. You should try it some year. Cheaper than GABF!

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