Holiday Ale Fest

large_holidaylogoWhy read another take on the ale fest? Why read yet another list of what one particular blogger will be drinking? Apparently because some people (lookin at you Beermented) think you guys want to here about it. Of course read Jeffs at Beervana since he posted his list today too.

Making my list is difficult. I won’t be able to get any work off for it so it looks like I’ll show up on Sunday afternoon. This means no special tappings for me and also the possibility of a beer or two being tapped out. Also I’ve chosen a new strategy. Normally when I go to a fest I take one of two routes. Either I look for beers that sound good regardless of availability or I take the route I took at the Spring Beer Fest this year which was make it an open to close affair and attempt to sample every beer.

This year I’m treating it more like a trade show. I tried to rule out beers that I can easily find and stock in the fridge, regardless of whether or not it’s a beer I want to try at the fest. I failed at that though. Another thing is I’m trying to limit myself to my 10 tokens this year and not purchasing extras. Beers that our one offs get priority followed by potential purchases. As a side note I talked with aformer blogger about us both tossing up our tasting notes from this fest.

Here’s my initial List of beers I want to try. Keep in mind it may change when I show up, and depending on tokens I may not try all of them.

Jim ’09

Jim is a one off festival beer every year and always seems to be worth trying for most people.


There are three baltic porters this year. Kronan is from Hopworks with Eel River and Lauralwood also bringing baltics. Of the three I trust Hopworks more to get it right. The other two are higher on the IBU’s and Lauralwoods is much higher in ABV then the other two. Hopworks it is.

Holy Herb

I’ve heard alot of great reviews of Upright, but the thing that cinches this as a certainty to try is it’s brewed with hyssop. I love herbal beers and look forward to this one.


Ninkasi can be hit and miss on quality and I’ve had a hard time with them. Their spring reign was one of my favorite beers this year though. Once again this is an herbal ale brewed with lavender, tarragon and heather.


Seven Brides is the only brewery that has really won my loyalty. Jeff is a great guy who is involved with and supports Salem’s homebrew community. Hopefully their Strong Ale is more on style then some of their other beers.

Lips of Faith

There are a couple of the series I’ve wanted to try and haven’t. Since New Belgium will be pouring them I will hit their station. I may not get a sample though depending on what’s pouring.

Sang Noir

I’ve never made a secret that I like sour beers. Sang is a Flanders Red

Barrel-Aged Old Baba Yaga

This beer just sounded intriguing since the day I first checked the regular beer list so it’s on my list

Very Ill Tempered Gnome

I’ve been on a Barleywine and Old Ale kick lately so Barleywines will be sampled. This is probably numero uno on my list of barlywines to try with the lost barrels of mirror mirror coming in second

So far these are the priorities although North III, Velvet Merkin, or Scaldis Noel may easily be subbed in

3 Responses to “Holiday Ale Fest”

  1. Beermented says:

    I think many people were curious about your Holiday Ale fest choices. Everybody has a different take and different likes/dislikes.

    Love the old ales myself, but rarely treated to a quality made one. Usually I find American versions to be either worty sweet and unfermented tasting or somebody decided to add a truck load of hops to cover all the malty goodness.

    Mirror Mirror? meh!

  2. jbx says:

    Lost Coast-Old Ale was tapped at Venti’s Cafe [11a to close] Monday, 30 Nov 2009.

    I sampled it yesternight. My impression on the first tasting was fruity; definitely not hoppy. It was reminiscent of Theakston’s Old Peculiar, to me.

    I could not find the IBU value so I took it to be the lowest value of the BJCP cat. 19A range; 30 IBUs.

    I am interested in other’s critiques.

  3. Jared says:

    Mirror Mirror is off the list now Beermented. When I read lost barrels I was thinking one year old (or older) barlywine, not this years vintage.


    Tried the old ale and cold nose last night. Liked cold nose much more, but the old ale was good. I’ve never had Old Peculiar so I can’t attest wether it tastes like that. I took some napkin notes on it though.

    Some leather and plum. Malt flavors are indistinct. There’s a flavor just at the back of every swallow that I can’t peg and it’s bugging me. Fruit flavors linger at the back of your mouth. Beer has a slightly thick mouthfeel.

    Good old ale with some proper flavors in right places. Nothing jumps out though other then an overpowering amount of fruit. This fruitiness kinda kills it for me. Still one I might order again if there’s nothing better on tap.

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