2008 Holiday Ale Festival – Day 2
Yakima Craft Brewing Co. - Twin Stag Oaked Scottish Ale (ABV 7.2%): Started off the day with a relatively low alcohol (for the HAF) barrel aged (to mellow the flavors) beer to get warmed up. This was just what I was looking for. A faint oakyness and sweet molasses aroma and a malty sweet flavor with just a hint of earthyness.
Southern Oregon Brewery - Old Humbug II (ABV 8.2%): Time to kick it old school. Old Ale style that is. I’m not sure that worked… Anyway, the aroma of this one was packed with lots of dark fruit and dark sugars. The molasses notes stand out in the flavor but are well balanced with the US Golding and Styrian Golding hop making for a smooth drinking beer that finishes with some nice alcohol warming in the back.
Eel River Brewing Co. - Climax Noel (2007) (ABV 10.8%): This doppelbock was my only +10% beer all day. No wonder I was so much more alert at the end of the day. The yeast took over the aroma here and tossed up a lot of dark fruit and just a hint of bubble gum. Another well balanced flavor profile tilting towards brown sugar. But in this case the alcohol flavor was completely hidden.
Lagunitas Brewing Co. - Yersinia Pestis Holiday Stout (ABV 8.2%): I was all excited to make a Ween reference when I saw this was an Imperial White Pepper Stout, but it probably has more to do with the ripe peppercorns used in the brewing process. Apparently this recipe was developed from a brochure for a defunct bunker fuel cracking refinery located somewhere outside of Fossil, New Jersey. There was a hint of something that seemed like black pepper aroma, but it was mostly milk chocolate that I smelled. The flavor was very chocolaty and I did get a bit of spicy warmth on the back of my tongue. Still, even if it is from NJ, I can’t figure out why they would name the beer after the bacteria strain responsible for the plague.
McMenamins Thompson Brewery - Santa Baby Stout (ABV 5.8%): I could have and should have gone without this one. There were coco and grainy aromas and a dark chocolate flavor with some mild bitterness. However, it had a water body and after the all the big and rich beers I had been drinking, this one was relatively unimpressive. Should have gone for the Firestone Walker Brewing Velvet Merkin Stout.
Cascade Brewing Co. - Barrel-Select Baltic Porter (ABV 9%): ‘Tis the season for blending beers I guess. Here is one that mixes a 2006 Bourbon barrel-aged Porter and a 2006 French oak barrel-aged Porter then had lactic acid added just to sour things up a bit. It had a somewhat unexpected aroma with notes of dark fruits and herbs. It tasted sweet and tart like you would find from raspberries, but with hints of bourbon. It finished slightly sour.
Hopworks Urban Brewery - Noggin Floggin' Barleywine (ABV 9.6%): With one script left I looked around for a short line for a beer I hadn’t had yet and finished off the festival with a barleywine brewed with hops grown in Independence, OR. The aroma was a little lighter than the past beers but the fruity and malty smells were there. It had a sweet caramel flavor followed by and some alcohol warming and. I find it funny that the description for this beer was “gunter glieben glauchen globen”. I wonder if they just really like one-armed rock band drummers. For my part, by this point in the evening, I was feeling pretty fly for a white guy.