So this post doesn’t have a recipe, but I did say (on the “About” page) that I’d write about cool food related things like restaurants, cookbooks, equipment, etc.
For those of you who don’t know much about Portland, OR, one really cool thing you should know is that the Portland metro area has the largest craft brewing market in the U.S. There are 44 breweries operating in the city, which is more than any city in the world. So we like our beer. Possibly my favorite event in Portland is the Holiday Ale Festival. It usually happens the first weekend of December in Pioneer Square.
They set up big tents right underneath the giant Christmas tree and fill them with delicious beers made especially for the event. Here’s a little quote from the program they give you:
“What makes this festival so special is that you won’t find the beers served here in your grocer’s aisle. We work with every brewery involved to make sure they are sending a product that has either been made specifically for this event, or is a rare or vintage beer that isn’t commonly tapped in the state or won’t be tapped until the festival closes.”
Cool, right? So you buy a ticket, get a cool little plastic mug, a program, and 8 tickets. Each taste of beer (4 oz.) is 1 ticket, unless it’s a limited beer and then it’s 2 tickets. And then you’re free to roam the tents! The beers are so delicious and dangerously strong since they’re often stouts, porters, and really hoppy ales. There were a lot of beers with hints of mint, chocolate, and holiday spices like allspice, nutmeg, and cinnamon.
So here were our favorites:
- Columbia River Brewing’s “Drunken Elf Stout” – Imperial Oatmeal Stout with lots of chocolate and coffee flavors
- Gilgamesh Brewing’s “Chocolate Mint Stout ’11” – American Stout with chocolate and locally grown mint (not too minty like some of the other chocolate mint beers I tasted)
- Laht Neppur Brewing Co’s “Laughing Boy Stout” – Russian Imperial Stout with cocoa, vanilla, and honey undertones
- Rusty Truck Brewing Co’s “Belsnickle’s Strong Ale” – Strong Ale brewed with nutmeg, cinnamon, and coriander
- Bear Republic Brewing Company’s “Old Saint Chongo” – Winter Chocolate Wheat Ale with some mexican chocolate with hints of banana
- Laht Neppur Brewing Co’s “Laughing Boy Stout” – Russian Imperial Stout with cocoa, vanilla, and honey undertones (This was on both of our lists)
- Oakshire Brewing’s “The Nutcracker” – Gingerbread Imperial Porter with ginger and cinnamon
- The Commons Brewery’s “Little Brother” – Belgian Dark Strong Ale with a bit of toffee, candy, and chocolate