2014 Holiday Ale Festival: Detailed Beer Descriptions

The 2014 Holiday Ale Festival opens in just two weeks!  56 beers will be featured for the entire 5-day fest. In addition, a number of limited release beers will be tapped each day. HAF is unique because most of the beers were brewed specially for festival.

A few words of advice... These are generally high alcohol beers. Even if you're drinking samples, take it slow, drink plenty of water in between samples, and ride the MAX or bring a designated driver.

At beer festivals, I can only manage about 10 samples before my palate takes the night off. So I like to scan the list in advance and develop a tasting list. Below, I've listed detailed descriptions for each of the 56 beers. You can also download the official 2014 Holiday Ale Festival Program here.

So grab a beer, and start reading! Also, lines are shortest on Wednesday and Thursday afternoon. Have great time! Cheers!

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10 Barrel Brewing Co.
Double Black Diamond
Double Black Ale
Some people work their way up to the black diamond runs on the mountain, some people just go for it! 10 Barrel brewed this double black ale to have just enough roastiness and a hint of black licorice. Dropping!
13 Virtues Brewing Co.
Barrel-Aged MAX Stout
Imperial Stout
Patience is a virtue - and the 13 Virtues brewers took that true to heart with this beer. Aged in both Eastside Distillery and Bull Run Distillery Whiskey barrels for three to four months, the complexity of MAX Stout Imperial Stout is greatly enhanced, giving off oak and vanilla notes and textured layers of deep, dark secrets. Succumb to temptation…
2 Towns Ciderhouse
Bourbon Barrel Nice & Naughty
This specialty cider is fermented with dark meadowfoam honey and aged in Bourbon barrels with whole nutmeg, clove and cinnamon sticks. Crammed full of cheerful winter spices that mingle with the wood and sweet Bourbon aromas, this cider is sure to warm up your cold winter nights.
Alameda Brewing Co.
Admiration IPA
American IPA
Admiration IPA was brewed as a tribute to one of Alameda's favorite winter seasonal ales. A rich malt backbone supports an intense hop character of earthy pine and citrus derived from massive amounts of Centennial, Cascade and Chinook hops. Well balanced, yet intense, this IPA pays homage to one of the best.
Baerlic Brewing Co.
The Great Bear
NW Red Ale
The Great Bear blends sweet candied malt flavors with spicy, piney and citrus hops. This beer is full bodied with a lasting hop spice that lingers after each drink. This beer is aged on beechwood taken from Baerlic's tasting room buildout and leaves a clean woodiness in this special release for the Holiday Ale Festival.
Base Camp Brewing Co.
Dunkelrauch Weizenbock
Imperial Grätzer
Fruity deliciousness curls off the Southern Bavarian weiss yeast; Bavarian dark, German chocolate wheat, and a one-off wheat malt smoked in-house on alder and applewood deliver an avalanche of holiday hearth aromas and a velvety, rich body.
Bear Republic Brewing Co.
Do You Want To Build A Snowman?
Golden Barrel Aged Blend
The guys from Bear Republic were as excited to make this blend as kids building a snowman after winter’s first blizzard. This collaboration blend with the Holiday Ale Festival's Preston Weesner pulls in four different barrels from the cellar, including Cuvee de Bubba, Pinot Noir re-fermented Kolsch, Tequila Barrel Aged El Oso Lager and Demolition Derby. Huge fruity notes of pineapple, strawberries and grapes snuggle up to spicy oak, tropical hop notes and a slight pleasing tartness.
BridgePort Brewing Co.
BridgePort Smoked Lager
Smoked Lager
BridgePort Smoked Lager features a combination of six different special malts used to create a complex, dark caramel colored, smoky malt backbone and impart a distinct, yet very drinkable smoked flavor to a lager beer. Crystal hops balance out all that maltiness, offering a light, smooth bitterness. This lager is pleasing to drink on its own or paired with the hearty food of the cold weather season in the Northwest.
Burnside Brewing
Imperial Stout
This big, rich, imperial stout aged on fresh cranberries features hints of cocoa and toffee. It is a perfect pint for the holidays.
Cascade Brewing
NW Style Sour Strong Ale
This NW style sour ale is a blend of Red, Spiced Red and Spiced Quads aged in Bourbon and rum barrels for up to two years on spices. This flavorful concert starts with alternating aromas of Bourbon and rum with a supporting harmony of spices including ginger, cinnamon and nutmeg, and figs. Chocolate and rum hold down the low end while Bourbon and spice hit the high notes on the palate. The finish is a crescendo of raisins, dates, chocolate and ginger with a lingering boozy warmth.
Coalition Brewing
Big Maple
Imperial Maple Porter
Coalition's popular Loving Cup Maple Porter has been training, beefing up, and getting ready for winter: meet Big Maple, Loving Cup's big brother. A blend of base malts provides the platform for a complex mix of specialty malts. Patagonia caramel 15 malt adds a malty sweetness, while two different chocolate malts provide layers of roast and chocolate notes. Vermont grade A maple syrup is added to the boil, bringing a subtle sweetness and maple aromatics. A whisper of smoke balances this winter treat. Enjoy this one-off beer while you can!
Deluxe Brewing Co.
Dunkel the Halls
Dunkel Bock
Deck the halls with a festive Dunkel Bock seasonal. This dark lager is brewed in the German tradition of a Bock, or strong beer, to warm the heart and soul during the chilly winter. Each sip of this Dunkel Bock is an indulgence, so treat yourself to this Deluxe beer and be jolly this holiday!
Deschutes Brewery
Scarlet Flame IRA
India Red Ale
Scarlet Flame IRA is a great choice for malt lovers and hop lovers alike. US Tettnanger, Crystal, Willamette, Saaz, Summer and Northern Brewer hops bring aromas of herbal spice and stone fruit, followed by a pleasant woodiness. Carared malt and black barley lend a full malt character, with dark caramel and toffee flavors.
Dick's Brewing Co.
Black Friday Stout
Imperial Stout
Black Friday “the beer” was brewed to survive Black Friday “the busiest shopping day of the year." Whether you ignore the whole fanatical event, or are one of the first in line, Dick's Black Friday Imperial Stout will start the holidays off in style. With a large quantity of specialty malts (Caramel, Black Malt, Black Barley, Chocolate, Brown Malt and Munich) this Imperial Stout has a tremendous depth of flavor. Magnum hops are added during the boil to balance the substantial maltiness and Mt. Hood hops provide a nice spicy finish.
Dogfish Head Craft Brewery
Raison d'Etre
Belgian-Style Brown Ale
A deep mahogany, Belgian-style brown ale brewed with beet sugar, raisins and Belgian-style yeast.
Drake's Brewing Co.
Jolly Rodger 2014
Imperial Coffee Stout
Rich and complex, this beer features luscious chocolaty and subtle roasted malt flavors that blend expertly with a specially made roast of Blue Bottle™ Kenyan Kangunu Coffee to create aromas of caramelized stone fruit and flavors of black currant, light tobacco, and caramel that complement the rich malt flavors of the beer.
Eel River Brewing
Gargantua II
Whiskey Barrel Vanilla Imperial Strong Ale Blend
Gargantua II started as an Imperial Strong Ale brewed with floor malted Marris Otter malt and a blend of English and German specialty malts. The beer was then aged on Bourbon vanilla beans and blended with a strong ale aged in Jack Daniels barrels for six months.
Elysian Brewing Co.
Knock on Nelson
Wood Aged IPA
Knock On Nelson is Elysian’s first beer to be aged in its new foeders. The beer starts off with a hearty dose of Nelson Sauvin hops sourced from New Zealand and is bolstered by a sturdy body of pale, Munich and Caravienne malts. The brewers then aged this IPA in a first-run red wine foeder for six months. (Note: though aged in a foeder, this beer is NOT a sour.)
Ex Novo Brewing Co.
Mexican Chocolate Baltic Porter
This Mexican Chocolate Baltic Porter is a collaboration with Moonstruck Chocolate. Enjoy the subtle notes of Mexican hot chocolate with notes of cinnamon, nutmeg, chilies and chocolate. Feliz Navidad!
Fearless Brewing Co.
Pumpkin Ale
This Pumpkin Ale was made with Munich, Carmel and Biscuit malts, and seasoned with premium spices, all lovingly transported by the magical waters of the Clackamas River. Aromas of pumpkin pie spice and alcohol complement the bread/biscuit/spice flavor. The alcohol and hops give a slight fruitiness, which tapers off into a delicate pumpkin finish.
Feckin Brewery
Top O' The Feckin' Mornin'
Imperial Espresso Milk Porter
This is a rich and full-bodied breakfast beer that promises to wake you up and mellow you out at the same time. The high gravity is balanced by the sweet milk sugar used in fermentation. Caravan Coffee from Newberg, Ore. offers the rich espresso flavors, while the sweetness of the milk sugar plays nicely off of the bitterness in the cold press coffee. Top O' The Feckin' Mornin' to you!
Finnriver Farm & Cidery
Finnriver Stone & Pome Cider
Barrel Aged Plum and Peach Cider
Finnriver began with its bright, dry contemporary cider made with Washington organic apples, aged it for six months in Bourbon barrels from Fremont Brewery and then blended it with organic plums and peaches from Pipitone Farms in Rock Island, WA for a sensation of soft ripe fruit and a velvety peach texture. The plum and peach sweetness that fills the nose is elevated to holiday status with a touch of vanilla, calling out the natural vanillin of the oak barrels. Farmcrafted and fermented on the Olympic Peninsula.
Firestone Walker Brewing Co
Luponic Distortion
Double IPA
Firestone Walker's Luponic Distortion is a complex blended IPA boasting huge citrus notes by the crafty use of Cascade, Centennial, Citra, Amarillo, Chinook and Simcoe hops.
Fort George Brewery and Public House
Santa's Dinner Jacket
Bourbon Barrel Aged Imperial Red Ale
Santa's Dinner Jacket pours a shade darker than ruby red, an attribute earned from aging in Bull Run Distillery barrels. Sipped slowly and allowed to warm, this beer tells a story of time spent in the barrel infusing this heftily hopped ale with notes of port, sherry, caramel and toffee. This is the beer Santa is thinking about as he is finishing up his annual flight around the world; the beer he will soon be relaxing with in front of his fireplace while the children are waking to appreciate his mighty efforts.
Gigantic Brewing
Red Ryder BB Gun
Cranberry Saison
Damn, this beer has a beautiful red hue. The sweet aroma of cranberries melds perfectly with spicy saison yeasts. There is just enough fruit and tartness to balance the beer's finest pilsner malt. Just don't shoot your eye out.
Gilgamesh Brewing
Eastside Bandit
Bourbon Barrel Aged Porter
A smoothly rich Baltic Porter aged in Eastside Distilling's Burnside Bourbon barrels, this beer features a hint of chocolate and a mild smokiness from the peated malts that blend perfectly with the barrels' smokey-oak Bourbon flavors.
Golden Valley Brewery
Pinot Noir Barrel-Aged Tannen Boom
Barrel-Aged Belgian-Style Strong Ale
This spin on Golden Valley's classic winter warmer was fermented with a yeast strain traced to a small West Flemish brewery ("boom" is the Flemish equivalent of "baum"). Tannen Boom spent six weeks aging in French Oak Pinot Noir barrels sourced from R. Stuart and Soter Vineyards.  Pinot notes entwine with bountiful aromatic esters, while the full malt body is framed by oak and alcohol warmth.
Hopworks Urban Brewery
The Incredible Abominable of the Enchanted Barrel Forest
Barrel Aged Imperial Winter Ale
The Incredible "Abom" is the infamous uncle of the renowned Abominable Winter Ale. This imperial version was laid to rest in freshly emptied Woodford Reserve Bourbon barrels where notes of vanilla and spice mixed with the already delightful flavors of citrus and caramel.
Kells Brew Pub
MIC Stout AKA Boom Roaster
Coffee Imperial Milk Stout
This thick, black beer starts with a robust head of rich chocolate and notes of brown sugar. The mouthfeel is smooth and full-bodied, with notes of vanilla and a mild sweetness of caramelized sugar. This beer finishes with roasty notes and acidity from the Sidamo coffee from Ristretto Roasters that layer into a hint of light berry (think blue) with a touch of warming alcohol.
Lagunitas Brewing Co.
Scare City 2
Red Rye Porter
This Red Rye Porter is the second release in Lagunitas’ Scare City series. Ruby/tawny red in color with three different specialty rye malts, this beer also features cocoa nib syrup for a chocolaty flavor and an alcohol boost. The huge malt backbone dominates the subtle hop character, resulting in a big, malty winter warmer.
Lompoc Brewing
Pinot Noir Barrel Aged Cheval de Trait Belge
Belgian Strong Ale
Named in honor of Belgian work horses – one of the strongest breeds  – this dark Belgian Style Strong Ale has been aging in Maryhill Winery Pinot Noir barrels for six months. It has a malty body and strong oak character, finishing dry with hints of chocolate and tobacco.
Mazama Brewing Co.
Noel Rouge
Imperial Wit
This imperial strength Wit was brewed with mulling spices and fermented with cranberries. It is a festive beer that is perfect to share among friends and family to warm up these cold winter nights.
McMenamins Edgefield Brewery
Lord of Misrule
Rum Barrel Aged Imperial Mexican Mocha Stout
Appointing a Lord of Misrule, the official in charge of Christmas revelries and the Feast of Fools, is a holiday-time peasant tradition that can be traced back to Roman times. This dark and spicy imperial brew was made keeping all the joyful customs surrounding this ancient practice in mind. Brewed with cacao nibs, kilned coffee malt and habanero peppers, then aged in rum barrels post-fermentation, this Lord of Misrule is meant to inspire Saturnalian delight and promote merry mischief making in a time of year where good cheer and good beer can be one and the same.
Migration Brewing
Frankie Claus
Belgian Imperial Stout
This Imperial Belgian Chocolate Stout was brewed with French cocoa, Belgian Trappist yeast, and plenty of attitude. Frankie Claus is layered with notes of banana, cocoa, dried red fruit and toasted almonds, creating a very smooth 11.8% ABV stout with a soft, warming finish.
Natian Brewery
Irish Water
Imperial Golden Ale
This winterized version of Natian's Blonde Ale was brewed simply with 2-Row malt and hopped solely with Zythos. A copious amount of honey was added to the boil, which fermented out completely, leaving a crisp, dry finish. The beer was then aged on Oregon oak spires soaked in Jameson Irish Whiskey and infused with organic Cascade hops from the Natian private garden.
Nectar Creek Mead
Triple Brett
Barrel Aged Sour Session Mead
Triple Brett is a 100% barrel fermented sour session mead made from pure Willamette Valley honey. Blended from three different barrels, each fermented by a different strain of brettanomyces, this sour session mead combines the complex palate of brett-derived flavors and aromas with the subtleties of local honey.
New Belgium Brewing Co.
La Folie
Sour Brown Ale
La Folie, French for "the folly," is a beer steeped in New Belgium Brewing tradition. This wood-aged sour brown spends one to three years in big oak barrels known as foeders. When the beer finally hits the glass, La Folie is sharp and sour, full of green apple, chrery and plum skin notes. Pouring a deep mahogany, the mouthfeel will get you puckering while the smooth finish will leave you smiling. Not a beer for the timid, La Folie is a sour delight that will turn your tongue on its head.
Ninkasi Brewing Co.
Inspired by winter and brewed specially for the Holiday Ale Festival, this Doppelbock is reminiscent of the season. With a sweet, toasted malt flavor, a hint of Noble German Mittelfrüh hops and a high alcohol percentage, this beer will surely help keep the merriment flowing well into the night.
No-Li Brewhouse
Whiskey Barrel Aged Winter Warmer
Winter Warmer
No-Li filled first-use Dry Fly Distillery wheat whiskey barrels – just hours after the spirits had been removed – with its Winter Warmer ale. The candy-like sweetness of the beer mingles perfectly with the warmth and oakiness from the whiskey barrels, while the strong hop presence balances out the whole experience.
Oakshire Brewing
White Chocolate Milk Stout
With a sleight of hand and a few smoke and mirrors, Oakshire's created this anomaly of a beer style. Blonde in color, yet full-bodied and mildly sweet, this milk stout uses coffee, cocoa nibs and star anise to produce the flavors and aromas of a milk stout with the color of a pale ale.
Old Town Brewing Co.
Bluth's Original Chocolate Banana Hefeweizen
Chocolate Bavarian-Style Hefeweizen
Also known as the G.O.B. Special, this beer is basically a frozen banana with double the chocolate, nuts and two sticks. Brewed to Pop-Pop's original (stolen) recipe to be a "cold banana in delicious brown treat." Two-row, wheat and chocolate malts comingle with Mt. Hood hops and cocoa nibs. "There's always money in the banana stand! No touching!"
Payette Brewing Co.
Celebrate this holiday season with Payette's delicious Bandito IPA. It is brewed with fair trade raw agave nectar, which gives it a natural sweet complexity, and then dry-hopped with Citra and Amarillo hops to enhance that extra fruity aroma.
Portland Brewing
2014 Bourbon Barrel-aged Imperial Stout
Bourbon Barrel Aged Cherry Stout
This very special Bourbon barrel aged Imperial Stout was brewed just for the 2014 Holiday Ale Festival. This massive brew boasts a huge malty backbone from seven different malts, a Northwest hop profile, and notes of roasted coffee balanced by delicious cherry flavors from an Oregon-grown sweet cherry puree.
Rock Bottom
Yul Brynner
Santo Poco Style Strong Ale
Don't let this strong ale's rugged exterior fool you; underneath the malt and the oak and whiskey, you'll find a tender complexity.
Rogue Ales
Rogue Whiskey Barrel Aged Caramel Porter
Imperial Porter
Rogue Whiskey Barrel-Aged Caramel Porter is an imperial style porter brewed with lots of caramel malt to balance out the traditional roasted and coffee malts. It is then aged in Rogue (recently named "Distillery of the Year") Oregon Single Malt Whiskey barrels for more than three months to bring out vibrant vanilla, oak and whiskey aromas and flavors. All together, it is a flawless marriage of caramel, coffee, vanilla, chocolate, and smokey, rich whiskey.
Rusty Truck Brewing Co
Santaweizen is a stronger version of the unfiltered German favorite. This beer was aged two months on medium toast French oak spirals infused with brandy.
Santiam Brewing
Golden Sultan
Belgian Golden Strong
Light golden in color with excellent clarity and a creamy white head, this Golden Ale was brewed with Turkish sultanas and golden grape juice fermented with Belgian Ardennes yeast. Subtle fruity esters from the yeast combine with the stronger fruit esters of the sultanas. Smooth and creamy on the palate, this beer has an effervescent bubbly carbonation with slightly sweet and spicy notes and a dry, strong, earthy finish.
Seven Brides Brewing
The 503
No decoder ring needed to guess which area this pride of the Northwest hails from. Caramel and light fruity aroma, coupled with vanilla and gentle wood tannins from hand-toasted Oregon oak, build this complex, velvety smooth start to winter.
Sixpoint Brewery
Lump of Coal Porter
Robust Porter
This robust porter, a collaboration with "Beer Goddess" Lisa Morrison, features a dark brown color and a deep aroma of dark molasses and cherries. The flavor is a mix of complex malts and bright stone fruits, and ends cleanly on your palate.
Slanted Rock Brewing Co.
Cordial Tease
Spiced Winter Ale
Dark cherries and peppermint spice up the rich chocolate and caramel malts used in this special brew. Flavors of chocolate, coffee, caramelized sugar, dark cherry and peppermint tease your palate until releasing to a warm, soothing finish.
Stickmen Brewery & Skewery
Big Black Banana
The Stickmen brewers took their bananas foster beer (Bananas On Fire!) and dunked it in chocolate for the holidays. The Weihenstephan Weizen yeast provides banana and spice, the caramel comes from a good dose of Crystal 120 and Special B malts, and the chocolate from cocoa nibs and chocolate malt.
Stone Brewing Liberty Station
New Desecrator
Black Barley Wine
What happens when you take Stone Old Guardian Barley Wine and allow Liberty Station's Brewing Manager to play with the recipe? You get Old Guardian’s arch nemesis born from the shadows, New Desecrator.  This black barley wine has nearly the same profile as Stone Old Guardian, but surrounded by de-husked darkness. To give this demon its own flair, Stone fed it generous portions of Herkules, Amarillo, Comet, El Dorado and Pacifica hops. Coming in at 100+ IBUs, the New Desecrator may just kill Santa Claus end your holidays early.
Vertigo Brewery and Taproom
Busted Head Red
Imperial Red Ale
This huge, hoppy, amber-hued beer is bitterly out-of-balance for a traditional red, but has the ideal hoppiness for an imperial version. Just a touch of caramel malt complements the hop flavors in this winter warmer. Busted Head Red features without a doubt the most amazing finish, dry-hopped past realistic.
Viking Braggot Co.
NW Amber Braggot
This traditional Viking ale combines an organic base malt with light additions of organic roasted malts, juniper berries, fir tips and local blackberry honey to create a lighter winter braggot that still features all the spice and flavors of the season!
Widmer Brothers Brewing
Frosty The Munchieman
Brewer Dan Munch's Robust Porter recipe starts with deliciously roasty black patent and chocolate malts along with Maris Otter to set the base. Liberty hops are then featured in three kettle hop additions along with a dry-hop addition. All finishing off with Oregon spearmint and Ecuadorian cocoa nibs to create the perfect holiday treat.

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