The Holiday Ale Festival is a joyous tradition among beer lovers who treasure the big beers of winter. Held outdoors in the chilly month of Dec., the festival pours more than four-dozen robust winter craft brews, the majority of which have either been created specifically for the event, or are vintage or reserve beers not available in the general market. It is effectively the most prestigious winter beer sampling opportunity on the West Coast.
Despite winter-like temperatures and often-inclement weather, attendees stay warm and dry under a large clear tent that covers the venue while allowing for views of the city lights. Gas heaters create a cozy ambience under the boughs of one of the region's largest decorated Christmas trees. In addition to beer tasting, the festival also features on-site food, beer merchandise, complimentary sodas for designated drivers, mead sampling, and seasonal background music.
The roots of brewing special winter and holiday beers trace back to the mythologies of Greece and Rome. The pagan celebrations of the winter solstice marked the return of light to the world, and triumphant ale was brewed to mark the occasion. Today, these “winter warmers” ward off the chill of winter and warm both the palate and soul. Complex in aroma and flavor, these heavier beers are big in body and high in alcohol. Thanks to an extra dose of malt, most of these beers are rich and bold, with chocolate, caramel or coffee flavors; others benefit from the addition of herbs, spices, and fruit. In keeping with the flavors of the season, there are often hints of nutmeg, cinnamon, and cloves in the brews.
For more information, visit www.holidayale.com or call 503-252-9899.