Holiday Ale Fest - An Amazing Bounty

The annual Holiday Ale Fest is arriving imminently (Thursday through Sunday, 11/29 - 12/2), and the beer list is out. It is amazing. More in a moment, but feast your eyes on this:
  • Hair of the Dog, Jim II
  • Collaborator, Hallucinator
  • Pelican, Bad Santa (Black IPA)
Used to be that this fest offered regular seasonal offerings from breweries. It was fine, but mostly there weren't any unique beers to draw you down on a wet, cold December day. Well, looking through the list of 41 beers, I see exactly four that are regular seasonals. There are a lot of brewpub offerings (where you often find the gems), and the bigger breweries are mostly sending interesting things, too. But what really intrigues is the variety of styles; no longer is it just winter warmers and barleywines. We've got old ales, a baltic porter, Scotch ales, an imperial stout, a few Belgians, a spiced beer, an oatmeal stout, a couple bocks, and more. Of course, there are lots of winter ales and barleywines, too--so no need to panic.

I'll have a chance to taste some of these Wednesday night, and I'm trying to track down more info on some of the beers now, but here's a short list of the most intriguing options (in addition to the three must-tries listed above):
  • Caldera, Cauldron Brew (dry-hopped strong ale)
  • Raccoon Lodge, Baltic Porter
  • Golden Valley, Oak-aged Tannen Bomb
  • Ninkasi, Otis (oatmeal stout)
  • Widmer, Decorator (weizenbock)
There are also three breweries I've never heard of: Wildfire (Bend), Silver City (Silverdale, WA), Off the Rail (Forest Grove). More as I learn it, but that's a teaser to get things rolling in the lead-up to the fest.