Holiday Ale Fest 2013 Day 2

5 Dec

IMG_7385Lets start this post off right, three cheers for the 80th anniversary of the repeal of Prohibition.  Now let’s drink some beer!

Oskar Blues. Ten Fiddy, 2008 limited release. Starting out the day with a five year old stout. Sweet, roasted malt nose. Noticeable sweet, warm alcohol finish. From my memory of the Ten Fiddy in the can, this beer has seem to lose some of the heft from the body and the alcohol is more present and warming. Given the choice, I would chooses pint of the current batch over the aged Ten Fiddy, but started with a warming beer as this, is not a bad way to start this cold day.

Base Camp. White Squall. This wheat wine starts with a faint fruit nose.  The beer starts with the same fruitiness up front, white grape?, that quickly gives way to a strong wheaty sweetness. There are some spicy hops here but the flavors are not so cohesive. For me the beer gets a, meh. There is nothing terribly wrong with the beer, it just does’t shine.

Alameda Brewing Co. Long Beard’s Baltic Porter. The beer smells of sweet coffee.  A light body beer, with just a hint of the smoked malt, which is nice. The original flavor fades to sweet dark malt, yet remains balanced. This beer will not show you something new but is worth a ticket.

Bear Republic Brewing Co. Santa’s Lost Wallet.  A blend of two of Bear Republic’s stouts and a brandy barrel aged Belgian Brown. This beer is a good contrast to the Base Camp brew, here all flavors come together to make a great winter warmer.

Speakeasy Ales & Lagers. Erotic Cake.  Again, another beer that is not breaking any new ground, even with the cocoa nibs “dry hopping” but this is overall an excellent milk stout. I enjoyed it from start to finish.

Stickman Brewery. The Twerking Elf.  Northwest Sour Brown. Just a hint sour to the nose. This is a unique beer. I would call this a sweet and sour beer. The beer has some body for a sour, which carries a bit of sweetness, but that last for just a moment before the sour takes the beer to its finish. This is a great place to introduce yourself to sour beers as the sour here is quite gentle. For me this beer brings something new and is worth a ticket. Now about that name….

Rogue Ales & Spirts. Big Ass Rye Strong Ale. This is the third beer at the fest this year that smell like a skunky Heineken, not good. And it tastes like a Heineken with a hint of rye. Just skip this beer.

IMG_73932 Towns Ciderhouse. Bourbon Barrel Nice and Naughty. I approached this cider with some hesitation as the aroma was so spicey, I was afraid it would overwhelmed the cider. I am happy to say, I was 100% wrong! While I don’t get much in terms of flavor from the barrel the cider and spices plays very well together.  The description may remind one of a mulled cider but here the cider and the spices are brighter and more enjoyable.   This is a two ticket cider and totally worth it.

Hop Valley Brewing Co.  The Wolf. The description calls it an English Barleywine but the hops on the nose says otherwise. While it does start out with an initial sweetness, the hops quickly assert themselves in this excellent American style Barleywine. When it comes to barleywines I am generally at traditionalist, preferring the more malty English style, but this beer has me rethinking my stance. This is an excellent beer, get a taste, or even a full mug.

Drinking, thinking and writing about BEER.

Drinking, thinking and writing about BEER.

Widmer Brothers Brewing.  Biere de Noel.  The description of this Biere de Garde does not mention hops at all but a resinous hop is all I get from the aroma. The hops carries this beer. While there are sweet/malt notes, the hops are the star. The hops are complex and quite simply delicious. Two beers in a row that I have to give a full recommendation to try.

Columbia River Brewing Co. Hawaiian Christmas. Here I have to be up front with my biases, I loved Roots Coconut Porter and I will be comparing this beer to that great porter, even if just subconsciously. The beer starts with a very nice sweet coconut nose. Drinking this beer, the coconut is lost to me, which is unfortunate. That aside this rich imperial porter is very tasty.

I will wrap up with a few comments on the Fest its self. Clearly Wednesday, was a way better day to enjoy the festival. I know this is hindsight and is now advice for next year but Wednesday had way more beer lovers, fewer plain old drunks staggering around. That said I know I will be back to sample more tasty brews tomorrow.

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