The Annual Portland Holiday Ale Festival
The Annual Portland Holiday Ale Festival will officially come of age this year as it celebrates the annual event. This year’s festival will take place Nov. 30 through Dec. 4 at Pioneer Courthouse Square, located at 701 SW 6th Ave.
Known for assembling a prestigious lineup of winter beers, the festival will feature more than 50 specialty ales that have either been crafted specifically for the event or are hard-to-fine vintages, underscoring the event’s reputation as one of the finest gatherings of winter beers anywhere in the nation.
The Annual Portland Holiday Ale Festival hours are 11 am to 10 pm Wednesday through Saturday and 11 am to 5 pm Sunday. To avoid the long lines that often accompany beer festivals, the recommended days for attendance are Wednesday, Thursday, and Sunday. The Holiday Ale Festival is for ages 21 and over.
Despite being held outdoors during one of the coldest months of the year, nearly 14,000 festival attendees stay warm and dry over the five-day festival under clear-topped tents that cover the venue. Gas heaters create a cozy ambiance beneath the boughs of the region’s largest decorated Christmas tree. In addition to beer tasting, the festival also features meet the brewer events with rare beers, a root beer garden, food vendors, self-guided beer pairings with cheese, event merchandise and a coat/bag check and raffle that raises funds for the Children’s Cancer Association.
What makes this festival stand out from other similar events is the beer selection: the Annual Portland Holiday Ale Festival works with every brewery involved to make sure they send a beer that has either been made or blended specifically for the event or is a rare or vintage beer that isn’t commonly tapped in the state. This festival offers the brewers a chance to reward their fans with an amazing holiday gift.
To enter and consume beer, the purchase of an entry package is required. Advance general admission costs $35 and includes the 2016 tasting cup and 14 taster tickets, plus expedited entry all five days with the print at home ticket. General admission at the door is the same price but includes only 12 tickets and no expedited entry. Advance VIP packages cost $100 and include the tasting cup, 30 taster tickets, special VIP beer lines with little to no waiting, exclusive VIP only vintage beers, bottled water, and express entry all five days. VIP tickets are limited to 250 and are not available at the door. All advance packages will go on sale in September at www.holidayale.com (prices subject to change; final pricing will be listed on the website in September).
Once inside the Annual Portland Holiday Ale Festival, a full beer costs four taster tickets, and a taster costs one ticket. Certain, limited release and special tappings may not be available in full pours or may cost extra tickets. Additional beer tickets can be purchased for $1 apiece. Previous years’ mugs will not be filled. Express re-entry requires a wristband and the 2016 tasting cup and is subject to the festival’s capacity.
Designated drivers in a party of two or more may purchase a designated driver wristband for $10, which includes Crater Lake Root Beer or bottled water for the duration of the stay; the festival will match all Designated Driver tickets sold as well as root beer sales and donate all the proceeds to the Children’s Cancer Association.
For more information, visit www.holidayale.com.