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Holiday Ale Fest

Discussion in 'Northwest' started by Sarlacc83, Nov 29, 2012.

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  1. Sarlacc83

    Sarlacc83 Crusader (752) Mar 2, 2008 Oregon
    Beer Trader

    Everyone wants to know about this, so I'm going to start it.

    I highly recommend going this year. The heftier price is worth it, because there's a lot of big, barrel aged beers this year rather than the over-hopped variants from years past.


    Stone Suitable for Cave Aging (my favorite of the 'normal' beers, and I got the impression it was a favorite of more than a few others.)

    Deschutes Imperial Smoked Porter

    Old Gnarleywine 2010

    Cascade Diesel #2

    Finally, there was a 2007 - 2010 vertical of Abyss on tap yesterday. So, for 8 dollars, you could get 16 oz of vintage Deschutes. Yeah, that was pretty freaking incredible.
  2. vurt

    vurt Crusader (747) Apr 11, 2004 Oregon

    I will be arriving in Portland today and going to the Fest tomorrow. I cannot wait. This is probably my favorite beer event anywhere.

    You already listed 2 of the beers I am looking forward to the most (Deschutes and Cascade). Also eager to try the offerings from Collaborator, Commons, Gigantic, and Lucky Lab.
  3. Mahlik

    Mahlik Initiate (0) Aug 21, 2010 Oregon

    I wasn't sure if I was going to go this year. But after yesterday, I'm really happy I did. The Abyss vertical was an awesome last minute surprise! I spent most of my time there. I enjoyed Diesel #2, Bear Republic Prepared to Be Boarded and surprisingly enough, Ninkasi's Ancient Ale-iens. My only real complaint is that FW brought Wild Merkin instead of the regular Velvet Merkin from last year. Wild Merkin wasn't bad. It's just that the Velvet Merkin from last year was my favorite beer of the fest.
  4. Boozecamel

    Boozecamel Initiate (0) Feb 25, 2011 British Columbia (Canada)

    When did they put the Abyss vertical on? I guess I left too early!

    Highlights for me were:

    Stone: Suitable for
    Burnside: White Out
    Walking Man: Santa's

    Askd about the Crux beer and apparently its due to arrive on Friday.
  5. maltmaster420

    maltmaster420 Aspirant (291) Aug 17, 2005 Oregon
    Beer Trader

    They tapped them around 4 or 4:30.
  6. msubulldog25

    msubulldog25 Initiate (0) Aug 3, 2005 Oregon

    The Abyss vertical went on a bit after 4:00pm in the 'Lounge' area, halfway between the lower level and the 'Sky Bar'.

    I volunteered yesterday and could only stay for a few minutes after my shift. Tasted 2 beers: Stone SfCA (terrific) and The Commons Boysen (very likable)... will be going back all afternoon tomorrow!

    As a pourer at the Sky Bar, I'll have to say it was surprisingly slow until about 5:30pm... most of the time there was no line whatsoever. Beers up there may have been the issue (for instance, I had the McTarnahan's 'Figgy Pudding' tap, which some people enjoyed but an equal number seemed to dislike [aside: how the hell can they call it Figgy Pudding when Block 15 already makes one with the same name???]), but the Breakside India Passion Elixir, Rusty Truck Cherry Chocaholic and Kells Mexican Mocha Porter all had their fans. Overhead a number of people saying Breakside's was their 'favorite'...

    Anyhow, lots of fun. I miss working in downtown... :slight_smile:
  7. bosco123

    bosco123 Initiate (127) May 26, 2008 Oregon

    Dang..also missed the vertical. Enjoyed Samichlaus,Big Nugget,Ten Fiddy,Gnarlywine and yes,Brrrbon. Kells was interesting but a bit watery,the Eisbock,well,give it a try. Did not particularly like Knucklehead,Hallucinator,DFH,or the Tipple. All had either a funky spicyness or a watery mouth feel.
    On my way back now to get in line for Mirror Mirror and Black Sands. Looking forward to Papa Noel,Old Jub,and White out amongst others. Good times.
    muchloveforhops3 likes this.
  8. exitmusic00

    exitmusic00 Initiate (0) Mar 15, 2010 Oregon

    I missed the Abyss vert as well...dammit.


    Highlights for me were the Deschutes Imp Smoked Porter (had it last and might have been my fave from yesterday), Suitable for Cave Aging, and Burnside White Out, which was just really unique.
  9. John_M

    John_M Moderator (5,609) Oct 25, 2003 Oregon
    Beer Trader

    Knocking on wood... hopefully this will be the last holiday ale festival I will ever miss!!!
  10. Shmeal

    Shmeal Devotee (409) Nov 9, 2009 Oregon
    Beer Trader

    You flew in for this?!
  11. Spaceloaf

    Spaceloaf Initiate (165) Nov 27, 2008 Oregon

    Thanks for the info. I thought the list looked particularly strong this year, but I won't be able to attend until tomorrow (planning on sneaking out of work early). Now I have some ideas of what not to miss.
  12. Boozecamel

    Boozecamel Initiate (0) Feb 25, 2011 British Columbia (Canada)

    Doh! I was there, but completely oblivious, and maybe a little numb.

    Is it just me or is having to wear a crappy bracelet for 4 days kinda annoying? People are going to think I'm an escaped mental patient.
  13. exitmusic00

    exitmusic00 Initiate (0) Mar 15, 2010 Oregon

    Haha, agreed! I was thinking the same thing...I'm a grown-ass man having to wear a paper bracelet for a solid 96 hours. Perhaps the folks at my job interview today will be impressed by my VIP status. :rolling_eyes:
    muchloveforhops3 likes this.
  14. maltmaster420

    maltmaster420 Aspirant (291) Aug 17, 2005 Oregon
    Beer Trader

    Yes. Yes it is. I don't understand the reasoning either. During the PIB (which is run by the same person) you could re-enter all weekend as long as you kept your wristband with you, so I'm not sure what the logic is for requiring you to keep it on. I'm lucky in the sense that I work in the industry and no one will be surprised to see a wristband on my arm, but I feel bad for the folks who work in offices or other places where they have to look professional.
  15. TheNewSchool

    TheNewSchool Initiate (19) Oct 6, 2011 Oregon

    Chris, the PIB is actually not ran by the same person, it's ran by Rick not Preston who runs HAF. Preston used to be involved but not any longer.

    Anyway I found a lot of good beers at HAF yesterday but nothing that was really fantastic. The Abyss vertical was a really nice bonus though.
  16. msubulldog25

    msubulldog25 Initiate (0) Aug 3, 2005 Oregon

    I asked both security at the door (not always known for 100% fact accuracy) and the coordinator of volunteer check-in/check-out (whose statement I trust) about this last night. Both said (paraphrasing): "so long as you bring back your mug and wristband (regardless of whether it is still on your wrist) you would be readmitted on other days". Seems like they've relaxed the policy of a couple years ago...


    PS: although I think that lime green wristband must look very cool at work (boss does, too, I'm sure... :wink: ), I cut mine off last night... will be testing the above re-entry policy tomorrow...
    exitmusic00 likes this.
  17. maltmaster420

    maltmaster420 Aspirant (291) Aug 17, 2005 Oregon
    Beer Trader

    You're right, I had forgotten that Preston was no longer working with Rick on the PIB. Still, it doesn't change the fact that forcing people to wear a wristband for 5 straight days is ridiculous.
  18. exitmusic00

    exitmusic00 Initiate (0) Mar 15, 2010 Oregon

    Ahhh, thanks for the info! Now I remember them telling me that I should "try" to keep it on. Eh, I tried. :slight_smile:
  19. mporter13

    mporter13 Initiate (0) Jul 13, 2011 Oregon

    I'm hitting the festival up tomorrow. The anticipation has been driving me crazy! I start drooling every time I look at the line-up... which I've been doing a lot
  20. muchloveforhops3

    muchloveforhops3 Zealot (566) Apr 5, 2009 Oregon

    I always look forward to holiday ale festival, and this year was no exception. Ended up being there from about 1:30 to 7 yesterday.

    Here's what I enjoyed the most:
    Stone - SFCA
    Breakside - IPE
    Deschutes - Imp Smoked Porter
    The Commons - Boysen
    Oakshire - Very Ill Tempered Gnome
    Rusty Truck - Cherry Chocoholic Baltic Porter (a lot of flavor for a "smaller" brew)
    Widmer - Brrrbon Vanilla (a pleasant surprise)

    And of course, the special tappings didn't disappoint. The '05 Sami, '08 Old Stock, and the '08 Big Nugget were all outstanding! Not to mention the '07 Abyss- definitely a treat!

    Here's what I found to be disappointing:
    Fort George - Three Wisemen
    FW - Wild Merkin (really wish they had the merkin from last year on again this year)
    Collaborator - Hallucinator (not bad, but very far from what I was expecting; verges on a sour, imo)
    Bayern - Eisbock (just not on par with the style, imo)

    Hope this info can be of some use. Cheers!
  21. bosco123

    bosco123 Initiate (127) May 26, 2008 Oregon

    Day two. Must haves include,
    Diesel#2-bourbon and vanilla.yeah
    Full Sail Black Gold-same as above with a bit more smoke
    And...Stone Suitable for Cave Aging. Sweet bourbon and vanilla notes. Soo good.
    As you can see..there is a common theme here.
    Also had some more Gnarlywine and the Mirror Mirror called me back time and time again.
    Still pouring the abyss vertical...it's okay.08 was my fav.
    Good year,good times.
    P.S. I love my wristband
    muchloveforhops3 likes this.
  22. DimensionX

    DimensionX Initiate (0) Oct 1, 2010 Oregon

    oh man. my face hurts.
  23. exitmusic00

    exitmusic00 Initiate (0) Mar 15, 2010 Oregon

    Just to follow up...I went in yesterday with my wristband that I had removed, and they just gave me a new one. Crisis averted. :slight_smile:
  24. vurt

    vurt Crusader (747) Apr 11, 2004 Oregon

    When I paid for my mug and wristband yesterday, they didn't mention anything about keeping the wristband for readmittance on another day. Yikes. I'm glad I saw this thread today. I had a few moments of panic, but found mine and my girlfriend's wristbands in my coat pocket this morning.
  25. djbreezy

    djbreezy Crusader (742) Dec 16, 2008 Washington

    The wristbands are really easy to remove and re apply if anyone is worried. Put a towel between the band and your arm so you don't burn yourself, use a hair dryer and peel slowly. It will come right off. Do the same to re apply.

    Had a decent time last night. Bear Republic and Walking Man made some of the worst beers I've ever had. Man were those disgusting. Tasted like a child spilled an allspice container in the mash. Had to pour them both out.

    The Commons, Full Sail Black Gold and Stone made up for it I suppose.
    vurt and boMD like this.
  26. exitmusic00

    exitmusic00 Initiate (0) Mar 15, 2010 Oregon

    Deschutes Snow Quad...get some.
  27. Spaceloaf

    Spaceloaf Initiate (165) Nov 27, 2008 Oregon

    I thought the Bison Cocoa Bretta was pretty interesting. It melded together pretty well IMHO.

    I was not as impressed with the Crux Fermentation Project offering. It wasn't bad by any means, but I after all the great things I've been hearing about them I was expecting something a little more pronounced.
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