Year-end food festivals are a paltry lot. Nevertheless, they exist and are as jubilant as any festival, regardless of the date. This month brings gingerbread houses, warming beer, local wine and seasonal creativity.
Holiday Ale Festival, Portland, Ore., Nov. 30 to Dec. 4: The last vestiges of Thanksgiving are hopefully fading into pleasant memories in time for a Pacific Northwest beer fete, just in case you didn’t put back enough of it last week. This edition will include more than 45 winter warmers, hefty suds to wick away the damp chill. Held annually under the cover of a tent in Pioneer Courthouse Square, the beloved celebration is known for tapping rare, limited releases. Due to flow, this year is a keg of Cascade Brewing Company 2007 barrel-aged Baltic Porter, which organizers tout as the last one, and a 2005 keg of the brewed-once annual dopplebock Schloss Eggenberg Samichlaus. The beer brunch will be hosted on the last day of the festival. Throughout the festivities, designated drivers will receive complimentary Crater Lake Root Beer and bottled water.