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Fest It Up At Home Sixteen Tons brings home the happy hoppyness
Fest It Up At Home
Sixteen Tons brings home the happy hoppyness
by Molly Templeton
Fellow winter beer fans, rejoice: You no longer have to gaze longingly northwards at Portland’s Holiday Ale Festival. You no longer have to dream of distant seasonals you might never get to try. You just have to wander down to Sixteen Tons this weekend for their Winter and Strong Ale Festival.
Sixteen Tons has been hosting daily beer tastings since opening in May, but, co-owner Mike Coplin says, they’ve also been trying to figure out what their customers want the shop to be. “We’re kind of in a big transition because we just added draft,” he says of the shop’s four new taps. Customers can sip pints in the shop (after 5 pm the market turns into an over-21 space) or take just-poured beer home in growlers or Mason jars. “It seems like the idea of taking fresh beer home — people definitely want it. It seems like people [also] want to drink beer here,” Coplin says of the changes.
Six more taps are being installed this week, meaning the shop will have 10 draft beers and a wide array of bottled beers for the festival, which is also part of the shop’s transition. They’re moving from daily tastings to bigger, less frequent events, including a “Week of Wild,” Dec. 14-18, when they’ll feature 10 wild (also called sour) ales on tap and yet more bottled wild ales for a Friday night tasting.
Coplin estimates that at least half of the winter and strong beers available to taste this weekend will also be available for purchase. Some of the on-tap beers, he says, “are pretty small packages,” and won’t be available to take home until after the event. Because of the relatively small size of the festival, Coplin says, he can open unusual and rare beers in very small amounts that would be impractical for a larger event. He’s excited about some of the vintage beers they’ll have for tasting — beers from previous years that have aged into their best flavor — and about Block 15’s La Fermé le Demons, a sour beer aged in bourbon barrels. The beers available are from all across the brewery board — from Cascade to Rogue, Full Sail to Gilgamesh and, of course, Oakshire and Ninkasi. With more than 50 wintry beers to taste, you might just have to go to all three of the festival’s sessions to get around to everything. Pace yourselves, friends. The delicious wintry beer season is only beginning.
Winter & Strong Ale Fest, 6-9 pm Friday, Nov. 19; 1-4 pm Saturday, Nov. 20; and 6-9 pm Saturday Nov. 20, Sixteen Tons, 265 E. 13th Ave. $15 tickets include 10 tasting coupons and souvenir glass.