Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Holiday Ale Festival 2007

I'm more than a bit flummoxed about how to react to this years HAF. Naturally the beers them selves were, for the most part, wonderful and since that is why I was there nothing else should matter right? Well, there is also the experience of just being at an event like this; the crowds, sights, sounds and smells all play into how enjoyable the experience is, and that's were I was disappointed. Like I said the beer was great, but I have a few things I would like to get off my chest before we get to them.

I was very annoyed to find out that the OLCC managed to bar anyone under 21 from entering the event this year. This bothered me for several reasons:

1) It implies that the servers can't be trusted not to serve beer to my friends 18 month old daughter in a frog costume despite the fact that she wouldn't have a wrist strap proving that she was under 21 after being carded at the door OR it implies that parents can't be trusted to decide if this is the kind of environment that their children should be exposed to.

2) When I asked what the reason for the age restriction was I was told that it was because alcohol was being served. By that logic restaurants that serve booze should ban children. They were serving pepperoni pizza in the tent too, so I can only assume that people with a lactose intolerance, vegetarians, vegans and anyone suffering from Celiac Disease were turned away.

3) What about the poor root beer vendor? In downtown Portland with the Max, busses and taxis that can get you just about anywhere, what's the point in a designated driver? And if you don't like beer, and since this is no longer a family friendly function, what's the point in showing up?

4) Finally, this can only be the first step in doing away with the free entry to the Festival. If everyone there is going to be sampling the beer then there is no reason not to charge people just to show up.

I was also very disappointed to see that they went to a ticket or "script" system rather than a cash bar. When the crowds started poring in Friday afternoon, I was ready to go. However, I ended up line hopping just so I could finish off my last couple tickets. And speaking of bad ways to taste beer...I could barely get a real sense of what the beers smelled or tasted like because the smell of Natural Gas seemed to permeate every corner of the tent.

Anyway, enough crotchety old man back-in-my-day-things-were-better moaning. I should at least mention my favorite beers before wrapping up. For me, and for most people from what I could tell, 'Jim II' from Portland's own Hair of the Dog Brewing was the crown jewel of the festival. This was a blend of Fred from the Wood, Adam, Doggie Claws, a German Pilsner and a Belgian Triple. As you might imagine, virtually every flavor and aroma you can think of could be found in this beer. My other favorites were 'St. Nick's Sock Knocker' from Karlsson Brewing, Kringle Krack' out of Calapooia Brewing and 'North' a Red Wheat Wine from Fort George Brewery if only because it was so very complex.

If you want to know more about these, or almost any, of the HAF beers check out this guy's blog.


Post a Comment

<< Home