Saturday, November 30, 2013

Lompoc Brewing Holiday Beer Tasting/Holiday Ale Festival Preview

Disclaimer: Our beer tasting was complimentary, but all of our opinions are our own. Thanks to the lovely Chris Crabb for the invitation! 

Recently, we were invited to Lompoc Brewery's Sidebar to taste a number of holiday beers they have released for the 2013 season. My co-bloggers had both visited Lompoc locations (one has been reviewed for Happy Hour before), but I don't think either of them actually tried the beer. I was excited about this tasting for a few reasons. One reason was that I saw we would be tasting NINE beers! Need I say more? The other was that we would get a sneak peek of the beer that they will be serving at the 2013 Holiday Ale Festival, another event that I will be attending for the first time this year!

 Upon arriving, we received a pint of Entropy Cream Ale. This wasn't one of their official holiday beers, but it was one of my favorites of the evening. Throughout the night, we received tasters of all of their holiday beers except one, the Blitzen Spiced Golden Ale, which was still fermenting. Too bad, because the description sounded like it would be right up my alley.

The first holiday beer that we tried was the Cherry Christmas. This was a light, fruity flavored beer that is typical of the kind of beer that I like to order; you could taste the sour cherries in the blend. I enjoyed this one a lot. The Jolly Bock was next, and it was just okay to me. It was a lager, and I think I am just not that big of a lager fan. The Brewdolph, a Belgian Style Red, really hit the spot. I liked the light fruity flavor, and this was one that I would choose to order again. The Holiday Cheer, which was listed as a robust vanilla porter, was one of my least favorites. No matter how hard I try, I just am not a dark beer fan. Chocolatey/coffee-like flavor just doesn't appeal to me in my beer. I was a fan of the C-Sons Greetings IPA, however. I am a big IPA fan, and this one really delivered without being too overpowering. This was probably my second-favorite flavor of the night (and we were given a big bottle of it to take home--I let my husband have it to make up for him not being able to go with us).

The Old Tavern Rat Barleywine was pretty good (and strong, at 9.4%), but there wasn't anything especially memorable about it for me. They also gave us a Bourbon Barrel Aged Old Tavern Rat. As the name suggests, it was aged in Bourbon barrels, and it had a very strong flavor. My co-blogger liked it a lot (she seems to have developed a taste for whiskey since the whiskey tasting that I couldn't partake in). This was my least favorite beer of the night.

Finally, we got to try the Revelry Red Ale, which was made especially for the Holiday Ale Festival. I can tell why they saved this one for last, and why they are bringing it to the Ale Festival! This was the best beer of the night! According to the description, it was a blend of Big Bang Red aged in whiskey barrels with sour cherries and Big Bang Red aged in port barrels. I am definitely going to try this again at the Ale Festival. After we were done tasting beers, we were invited to hang out and have even more beer. We each had another half pint of the Entropy Cream Ale, but then we had to get going since it was a school night!

I haven't been to many beer festivals (even though it seems like Portland has beer festivals at least once a month), so I am especially excited to attend the Holiday Ale Festival from December 4-8. Held under a covered tent at Pioneer Square, they are offering more than 50 winter ales. While I received a free media pass (I know, I can't believe we are considered part of the media either), I am bringing my husband as well. To attend, you need to purchase a tasting package, which is $30. It includes a mug and ten tasting tickets. One tasting ticket gets you a four ounce pour (unless it is a special beer, which costs two tickets). You can also buy a package in advance for the same price, which gets you twelve tickets instead of ten. There are lots of breweries represented that I am excited about, including Burnside Brewing Company, Elysian Brewing Company, and Fort George Brewery. Check this link for more information: Holiday Ale Festival Beer Lineup.


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