While all the products were well received, a few rose to the top in terms of popularity and buzz, including Reverend Nat’s Winter Abbey Spiced Cider (served warm); Deschutes Brewery’s Pacific Wunderland (Munich IPA); Feckin Irish Brewing’s Top’ O The Feckin Mornin (Bourbon Barrel Aged Imperial Espresso Milk Porter); 54° 40’ Brewing’s Snowball Headed for Hell (White IPA); Eel River Brewing’s Gargantua III (Imperial Barrel Aged Strong Ale); Bear Republic Brewing’s Cuvee du Santa (Sour Brown Ale); and Fort George Brewery’s Deck the Helles (Barrel Aged Helles Lager).
The festival also featured 46 special tappings spaced out all five days of the event, including a four-year vertical of The Abyss by Deschutes Brewing. Fans were able to stay informed of the tappings and beer locations via a mobile app that was updated live at the event. Meet the Brewer events with Bear Republic’s Peter Krueger, Firestone Walker’s Keenan Delaney and Stone Brewing’s Dr Bill Sysak were standing room only affairs with the brewers surfing a sea of questions and fan appreciation.
The festival replaced its traditional opaque mugs with Govino tasting glasses made from a flexible BPA-free polymer that properly showcased the beverages. The shatterproof, recyclable and reusable Govino glasses were a huge hit with the attendees.
Event highlight included the onsite Oregon Lottery iClick Photo Booth, which provided instant festival memories with free hard copy photos; a table featuring rotating local beer writers peddling their wares, which offered excellent holiday gift opportunities; and the 12th annual Sunday Beer Brunch, a sold out affair with more than a third of the attendees coming from outside the Northwest to taste vintage beers and special large format bottles paired with a European style buffet. Food selections ranged from fresh roasted nuts and cheese to tasty creations from Urban German Grill and Bunk Sandwiches.