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Bomb Threats? Weak. Nothing Stops 15th Annual Holiday Ale Festival

December 10, 2010 2 comments

A great shot of Holiday Ale 2009 (Photo: Matt J Wialter, Flikr)

Last week, a bombing attempt shut down Pioneer Courthouse Square in Portland. Yep, its real. The best part though is that it could not lead to the surrender of Portland’s famed Holiday Ale Fest.

Holiday Ale Fest hit its 15th Anniversary this year with over 60 beers flowing from the taps. We didn’t get the opportunity to go, but from the comments we have read – we missed out. Next year.

Check out the Festival’s press release for more recounts of the famed weekend. Hoppy Holidays!

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Neither bomb threats nor Civil War kept crowds
away from this year’s Holiday Ale Festival

PORTLAND, Ore. – Dec. 9, 2010 – A thwarted bomb attempt at Pioneer Courthouse Square less than one week prior didn’t stop beer lovers from attending this year’s 15th annual Holiday Ale Festival.  A crowd of more than 17,000 gathered in Portland’s Living Room over five days to raise a mug to the big, bold craft beers of winter.  The Northwest’s most prestigious winter beer festival took place Dec. 1 through 5 and featured more than 60 winter craft beers during its five-day run.

The beers served were either made or blended specifically for the event or were vintage offerings not commonly served in the region.  In some cases, the kegs tapped were the last known kegs available of a particular beer.

New features to this year’s festival were well-received, including the addition of a printed map of the five different bars on the required festival tasting mug; a real-time mobile interface that listed the beers, their location on-site and their descriptions (m.holidayale.com); and a VIP ticket, which cost $45 in advance and allowed users to bypass long lines at both the entrance and the bars.

The Belgian Beer and Brunch, an auxiliary event held on the Sunday of the festival, sold out, with more than 120 people sampling prestigious beers and noshing on pastries, meats and cheeses in an area overlooking the main festival tents.

The People’s Choice winner, as determined by the beer that sold the most kegs, was Moore Holiday Ale.  A Collaborator beer (Collaborator is a project where homebrewers submit recipes and the selected beer is brewed commercially by Widmer Brothers Brewing Co.), the Imperial Bohemian Pilsner was made with Saaz hops and smooth Pilsner malts that refreshed the palate.

Hopworks Urban Brewery Kentucky Christmas came in second, while four breweries tied for third: Deschutes Streaking the Quad, Lompoc Franc’ly Brewdolph, Stone Smoked Porter and Ninkasi Unconventionale.

Two fundraisers for the Children’s Cancer Association (CCA) were deemed a success: the Crater Lake Soda Garden, which poured root beer for designated drivers and accepted tips for donation, and a coat and bag check that ran at capacity much of the time.  The festival matched the monies raised by both projects, bringing in $2,500 for the charity.  The CCA also held a raffle that raised an additional $2,000.

Festival attendees stayed warm and dry under a large clear-topped tent that covered the venue while allowing for views of the city lights.  Gas heaters created a cozy ambience under the boughs of the city’s Christmas tree. In addition to beer tasting, the Holiday Ale Festival also featured on-site food, event merchandise, organic cheeses, roasted nuts, mead sampling, and seasonal background music.

The 2011 Holiday Ale Festival will take place November 30 through December 4.  For more information, visit http://www.holidayale.com or call 503-252-9899.

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Photo Credits: Matt J Wialter on Flikr

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