I made it to the Holiday Ale Festival yesterday. I met up with Ben’s beer crew for a late afternoon of sampling. Always a good time with this bunch. Going on a Thursday proved better for having a full section of ales and lagers to choose from. Last year I went on a Sunday, the last day of the festival, and the selection of beers was not good. This beer festival features darker, heavier beers so rich in possibilities of porters, stouts, reds and other winter ales. I tried a number of porters and stouts, which were all nice but nothing really exciting. I did try one doppelbock that was very disappointing. Mostly the festival was the same as last year but it cost $5 more to get in, the heating system was not as good as last year, and the most exciting change was they figured out how to put small shelf in the honey bucket so you did not have to hold your mug while doing your business. I took just a few photos but please see last years post if you want a real look at the place.
I did a quick jaunt down to the Winter Ale Festival on Sunday. Twenty-degree temperatures kept everything chilled even with the heated tents. Lots of dark ales being served and lot of folks dumping them out, including me. They had stouts, porter, bocks, dopplebocks and original disasters. These festivals use to be a good place to sample different styles of beer and learn about them. Now it is about what strangle stuff can brewery put in a beer so they can write up something interesting in the program about them. These beers need to go on Santa’s naughty list.
I was back down at the Winter Ale Festival Saturday with a friend on Saturday. We started around noon and after several tastings decide we need a break and we headed to the Rock Bottom Brewery for lunch. I had not been back to this pub in many years so it gave me a chance to take another look at it and see what I thought of it now. After lunch it was back to the Ale Festival. We had found the crowd had grown and lines in front of the beers were long. Several of the beers we wanted to try were out but we persevered and used up the rest of our tasting tickets. Over the two visits I had a chance to try many different types of beer, some with exotic spice and flavor but I can’t say there was a single beer I would want to try again or that I really wish was at a local pub so I could get a pint of it.