Guest Post by Doug (@douglasfranz/@firstedbrew)
One of Katie's and my favorite parts of the holiday
season is Portland’s Holiday Ale Festival. For three years now, we’ve buddled up
and battled the crowds at this festive beer event that always manages to be one
of the highlights of our imbibing year.
Katie and I checked
out the 2013 version of the festival last night and it did not disappoint. With
over 40 beers on tap, there can be an overwhelming selection of barleywines,
stouts, porters, and generally big beers,but lucky for you, we took good notes
and have a few recommendations if you are heading to down to Pioneer Square
this weekend. While we weren’t able to try all the beers, we came pretty close.
Here are the 5 you cannot miss!
Diesel- Cascade Brewing
The best beer of the night. I made sure to go back
twice for this one and it was worth it. Known for its amazing barrel aging
program, Cascade created a beer that smells like one of their legendary cherry sours
but tastes like a deep sweet chocolate stout, full of vanilla and cherry notes.
A bit of a bourbon burn and linger of dark chocolate to remind the drinker just
how good this brew was.
Whiskey Barrel-Aged Cappuccino Stout- Lagunitas Brewing Co.
Coming in at
12.5% ABV, the highest percentage of all the selections at this year’s
festival, this stout has amazingly balanced flavors of whiskey and coffee. Lagunita’s caffeinated entry is a good way to
wake yourself up when you start feeling a little sluggish after all those
dark holiday beers.
Eel River Brewing Co.
Of the five on the list, this one got the most
mixed reviews from our group. Yes, you have to LOVE vanilla to like this beer
and it was a little bit on the sweet side. But this is a beer fest for holiday
beer lovers and sometimes the best way to celebrate the season is with a brew
that makes you feel like you are drinking a delicious dessert.
We all had one last ticket to use for the eve and I had
already tried everything on my pre-fest ‘Must Taste’ list when this one caught
my eye. Natian, a very small brewery based in the Burnside/Lloyd part of
Portland that you rarely see on tap, managed to really nail what a holiday beer
should be. Flavors of coffee and Kahlua, nutty, and oh so smooth.
Unicorn Milk- Stone Brewing Co.
San Diego’s finest, Stone created this
just for Portland’s Holiday Ale Festival and I personally want to thank them
because this was an amazing beer. It was one of the most complex but accessible
beers of the night. It was like drinking chai chocolate milk.
There are plenty others that were tasty too, so pull out
your best ugly sweater and head down to the Holiday Ale Festival this weekend!