Holiday Ale Fest 2014

There were New Zealanders in line in front of me, which was awesome. Portland really does have an international reputation. These notes rapidly got out from under me, as I was conversing with attendees, remembering recommendations from friends and trying to satisfy my own demands of ‘the new’, so please forgive any gaps.

These are my (mildly) edited notes, with pictures as I could manage because today has been long and I am tired. And intoxicated. Don’t worry, I took the bus home. Which I emphasize because safety is more important than beer.

Reverend Nat’s Providence cider.
Good thing to start with. Nose has that cinnamon apple pie going on that is so nice, and a warm drink in a cool day is never unwelcome. I cannot find the listing in the book through! How am I going to remember I had a hot cider?

The finish is very tart and I get a floral element. I’m told that they made this cider from New England varieties of apples so it would be tarter than typical, and added honey for the Festival. This oculd be where the floral elements come from on the finish. But now I need a beer.

Eel River Gargantua II
Vanillaish nose, which is nice, the beer drinks super easy, with a dry chocolate finish. I dig it. Recommended by Will.

At this point I met Tracy, a beer lover who had a list. Way more intense than I was going to get but I thought it was awesome:

Now that’s a fucking plan.

Stone New Desecrator (Recommended by Tracy)
Oh man, the nose on this is..something else. Dark. Cave malt. Mushrooms. This is what I feel like when I drink this beer. Gollum would love. It’s good.

Feckin Top O’ The Feckin Morning
WHOA THIS IS ESPRESSO NOSE
But the flavors go more chocolate covered coffee/espresso(is there such a thing?) bean. I like it, but I can see where it miiiight not be for everyone. But the end of the Feckin is too much. By the time I’ve reached the end of this taste, I feel like my palate is just overwhelmed with coffee. It’s not a bad beer but it’s definitely a dominant force.

Payette Bandito IPA
Ooooh, that’s some diggy dank hops in the nose. It is what it says; a crisp IPA with a solid bitter finish. Piney, not citrus and I realize how much I’ve missed a not-citrus finishing IPA! Jebus. It’s SO good to have some damned variety.

There’s a server in a purple Santa hat who is swaying to the Xmas tunes. It’s the Beach Boys so I can’t resent it.

Slanted Rock Cordial Tease
Beer approached with trepidation. Peppermint is listed as a potential flavor and cherries. What the what?

Dried fruit nose. Cherries. Undercut by coffee. Tastes…good? Huh. The peppermint kinda bats cleanup! Which is weird but it’s a nice way to finish a beer like this off. This isn’t too heavy on the tongue but it definitely has some different flavors happening and the finish works. No, I don’t understand why. Nicely done.

Hopworks Incredible Abominable of the Enchanted Barrel Forest
Fuck your name. You are not Blue Oyster Cult.
Citrus, for sure. Bourbon? Boozy nose, yes. A little spike of alcohol in the finish, certainly. Dry finish. Is it good? It’s…cromulent. I don’t hate it but I’m not in love with it. Hm. Slightly dirty on the finish. Something not as awesome there.

13 Virtues Barrel Aged BMAX Stout
Soft chocolate nose and it’s got a general pillow factor that I like. Nothing too intense about this beer but damn, it’s nice. Even the finish is good

Baerlic The Great Bear
Hmm…it’s not bad and has a dry finish, but it isn’t very distinctive. I don’t dislike this beer but I can’t recommend it either. It’s just there, you know?

Widmer, Frostie the Muncieman-porter
This…smells chocolatey and is sour? WHAT?
No. NO fuck this shit.

Met slainte from twitter! Holy shit. I’ve been interacting with this dude for years on Twitter and I had no idea who he was until today. Super cool!

Finnriver Stone & pome cider
This  is good. If Sprite was awesome to drink this is what it would be.

Golden Valley Tennen Boom
Kinda chewy in a good way. Vague chardonnay note in the nose this is tasty and easy to drink.

Fearless Ichabod pumpkin
You know, it is a decent but not heavy pumpkin ale, with a spice finish that keeps it from being heavy. I’m surprised because fuckin’ pumpkin ales.

And that’s what I can do! Have fun at the fest, everyone!

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