Known for assembling a prestigious lineup of winter beers, the 20th annual Holiday Ale Festival will take place Dec. 2 through Dec. 6 at Pioneer Courthouse Square, located at 701 SW Sixth Avenue in the heart of downtown Portland (the event annually starts the Wednesday following Thanksgiving). The popular 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 finest gathering of winter beers anywhere in the nation.
Event hours are 11am to 10pm Wednesday through Saturday, and 11am to 5pm Sunday. To avoid the lengthy 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, 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 standout from other similar events is the beer selection: the 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.
To enter and consume beer, the purchase of an entry package is required. Advance general admission packages cost $35 and include the 2015 tasting cup and 14 taster tickets, plus expedited entry all five days. General admission at the door is the same price, but includes only 12 tickets and no expedited entry. Advance VIP packages cost $80 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 at the end of September at www.holidayale.com.
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; follow the event at Facebook.com/HolidayAleFest and @HolidayAle on Twitter and Instagram, hashtag #HAF15.
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