Pioneer Square Beer Festival Features Specialty Craft Beers
It means beers, at least from Nov. 28-Dec. 3. That’s when the Holiday Ale Festival takes place. The 2017 event is the 22nd annual one. Held in Pioneer Square in the heart of downtown, it’s the perfect location for locals and visitors alike.
Known as one of finest gathering of winter beers anywhere in the nation, it features at least four-dozen big, bold ales designed to fend off the cold chill of a long winter night. From Belgians, barleywines and CDAs to winter warmers, porters and stouts, these beers have either been crafted specifically for the event or are hard-to-fine vintages.
This is no one-day fling. It’s nearly a full week, Wednesday thru Sunday. Saturday is by far the busiest day, so be prepared for big crowds. In other words, don’t think you can show up late and waltz right into the thing; it attracts some 17,000 during its five-day run.
What makes this festival stand out from other similar events is the beer selection: the festival works with every brewery involved to make sure they send a beer that has either been made or blended specifically for the event, or is a rare or vintage beer that isn’t commonly tapped in the state.
“It’s really special to be able to hold this event in such close proximity to so many of the breweries that Oregon is known for,” said festival manager Preston Weesner. “The savvy beer faithful come to the fest to meet up with friends and sample the special offering their favorite brewery has decided to share, then make plans to go visit the breweries after the event is over. It’s a great time to be a beer geek and appreciate the amazing craft beer scene.”
To enter and consume beer, the purchase of an entry package is required. The general admission package at the door costs $35 and includes the tasting mug and 12 taster tickets. VIP packages are available for $65 and include the tasting mug, 28 taster tickets, a bottle of water, access to VIP lines (including special tappings) and express entry all five days. Express re-entry requires a wristband and the mug, and is subject to the festival’s capacity. Previous year’s mugs will not be filled.
Once inside the festival, a full mug of beer costs four taster tickets, and a four-ounce taste costs one ticket. Certain limited release and special tappings may not be available in full mug pours, or may cost double tickets. Additional beer tickets can be purchased for $1 apiece.
Designated drivers in a party of two or more may purchase a designated driver wristband for $5, which includes Crater Lake Root Beer or bottled water for the duration of the stay. There are also Lyft discounts.
The festival’s hours are Noon- 10 p.m, Wednesday, 11 a.m.-10 p.m., Thursday through Saturday, and 11 a.m.-5 p.m., Sunday.
Pioneer Courthouse Square is at 701 SW Sixth Ave., and there are several downtown hotels within a few blocks. There’s also a MAX Light Rail Line, which also runs from the airport.
It’s highly recommended to get tickets in advance from www.holidayale.com.