‘Drink & Be Merry’ at the PDX Holiday Ale Festival

I went last night with Steven and our friend Dylan to the Holiday Ale Festival and it was so incredible! From the people to the beers to the sights, this is the perfect event in preparation for the Holiday season! If you…

a) Love the holidays or

b) Appreciate beer or

c) Want to be a cool kid or

d) Love the city of Portland

then you HAVE to go to the Holiday Ale Festival!

Set up in Pioneer Courthouse Square underneath the beautiful city Christmas Tree, the Holiday Ale Festival is definitely worth consideration for your weekend plans.

Why should you go?

– Every beer featured has a holiday/winter name! (ex: Columbia River Brewing’s Drunken Elf Stout & Widmer Brothers Brewing’s Peppermint Paddy Porter) For someone who picks beers solely based on names, I really loved the selection. ha!

– The location is gorgeous! In the middle of downtown beneath the lit-up Christmas tree. Nothing could be better than that!

– The tents (which have a transparent top for perfect views of the Christmas tree) are heated! It was the perfect, toasty temperature for some ale-drinking!

Free epic photos (left). Enough said.

– Just like the Oregon Brewers Festival, the Holiday Ale Festival draws the most eccentric and eclectic Portlanders. Young and old, beer snobs to casual drinkers. It’s a fun, happy group and the random roars of cheers always indicate a good time.

– Designated Driver or a non-drinker? You can get into the festival for $5 and you get free root beer the entire night!


Some tips…

Take public transit if you can! It will save you money and will ensure that you get home safely! Many of the beers featured at a higher alcohol level, so be careful!

Check your coat at the entrance. For $2, you benefit the Children’s Cancer Association, which is really worth it. And since the tents are heated, you don’t want to lug around your coat!


Eat something before the event! Although there is on-site food, you are downtown where you options are endless (and most likely less pricey!). We went to the festival and then walked to Rock Bottom afterwards for dinner. However, there are cupcakes and cheese, all for 1 ticket which were great snacks while you are going from tent to tent. However the Sunday Beer Brunch does look awesome…

Keep your options open. I am far from a beer snob, but I usually don’t like darker beers. I was pleaently surprised by some of the beers I tried! But then again…I just went with the fun names.

Go earlier in the day/night! Whenever you go, the festival is going to be pretty busy. But earlier in the evening is perfect because there will be a crowd, but no long lines. We got there around 5:30 and it was the perfect amount of people and basically no lines for the taps. By the time we were heading around 8, the lines were getting REALLY long!

Our suggestions…

Dylan’s pick – Firestone Walker Brewing Co.’s 100% Bourbon Barrel Aged Velvet Merken

Steven’s pick – Holiday Ale Festival’s Moore Holiday Ale 2010

My pick – Lompoc Brewing’s Cherry Christmas

The festival runs until this Sunday. The initial tasting package you buy to get into the festival includes a souvenir mug and 8 beer tickets for $25. Additional beer tickets can be purchased for $1 each and you get free re-admission into the Festival all 5 days with wristband and current year’s mug. (We got our tasting package through the online pre-sale, which came with extra beer tickets)


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