Pioneer Courthouse Square hosts the Holiday Ale Festival once again, from Wednesday, December 2 through Sunday, December 6.
Stay warm and dry and claustrophobic under the big tent. Take the Max home after you enjoy too many beers with too high an alcohol content and too much cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg.
Actually, there are lots of other choices besides spiced winter ales, as you can see on the official 2009 Holiday Ale Festival Beer List, but be careful: almost everything is strong.
And in addition, there are special beer tappings on Wednesday and Thursday (Friday and Saturday Limited Release Beers will be announced on Twitter / Facebook) and for the Brewers Brunch Sunday morning.
You have to buy an initial $20 tasting package, which includes a mug (bah humbug – previous years’ mugs not permitted), 10 beer tickets and a wristband that you can use to get in “free” for the whole 5 days of the festival. Additional tasting tickets are a $1 each. No kids at this festival, must be over 21 to enter the tent. (More info on the Fest Facts page). And It’s Pub Night has a bunch of great suggestions too: Holiday Ale Fest Advice
Here are the beers at the top of the Dave Knows tasting list:
- Bear Republic Brewing Company‘s Barrel-Aged Old Baba Yaga – a Russian Imperial Stout, aged in French Oak Cabernet barrels, hold coffee, licorice and bittersweet chocolate flavor. My, that sounds delicious.
- BridgePort Brewing Company‘s BourbonEzer – Ebenezer Ale aged for a year in oak bourbon barrels!
- Firestone Walker Brewing Company‘s Velvet Merkin – Only because of its name.
- Hopworks Urban Brewery‘s Kronan the Barbarian – Baltic Porter that greets you with a frothy tan head and rich malty aroma with notes of chocolate, caramel, dark fruit and toasted marshmallow.
- Kona Brewing Company‘s Black Sand Porter – I enjoy almost all Kona’s beers; wondering how this will be different from Pipeline Porter . . .
- Laurelwood Public House & Brewery‘s Polska Porter – Are you beginning to realize I really dig porters? Baltic Porters in particular? Black Boss is one of my favorite beers, and I’m curious to taste Laurelwood’s version . . .
- New Belgium Brewing Company‘s Lips of Faith Series – A bunch of different beers on tap throughout the festival, LOF is a series of beers made for the faithful, ranging from sour beers to saisons. I can’t stand New Belgium’s Fat Tire (tastes like unhopped, watery wort), but I love their Belgians!
- Upright Brewing Company‘s Holy Herb – a malty farmhouse winter beer, spiced with hyssop, aged with eucalyptus wood staves and bark, and fermented with Belgian yeast. Just tried my first Upright beer recently, the saison called Four, and despite the pretentious naming scheme, loved it.
- Widmer Brothers Brewing Company‘s Cherry Oak Doppel bock – A stronger version of Widmer’s Doppel Bock, fermented with dark sweet and red tart cherries, aged with oak. Oh yeah.