Craft Beer Jubilee: 6 Must-Hit Winter Ale Festivals | Craft Beer & Brewing

Craft Beer Jubilee: 6 Must-Hit Winter Ale Festivals

Don't let the cold stop you from getting to some of the best craft beers around.

Emily Hutto 4 years ago


This winter promises a lineup of holiday and cold weather ale festivals across the country. Mark your calendars and make a date to check out at least one of these festivals. You'll be glad you did.

DC Craft Beer Festival Winter Harvest

Washington, D. C.
November 22, 2014

Coming up this weekend, seventy-five breweries, 150 beers (with a strong emphasis on limited-release and seasonal selections), two educational seminars, and one big after-party: this festival is one of the most educational wintertime beer festivals around, and this year will include presentations by Ben Keene, author of The Great Northeast Brewery Tour, and Mike Tonsmiere, the author of American Sour Beers: Innovative Techniques for Mixed Fermentations.

Holiday Ale Festival

Portland, Oregon
December 3–7, 2014

Find more than fifty potent winter ales at one of Portland’s favorite beer events of the year. The event transforms downtown Portland into a craft beer-themed winter wonderland (pictured at top). Many of the beers are exclusive to the Holiday Ale Festival and can’t be found elsewhere. Don’t miss the festival’s Sunday beer brunch, which features beers that are generally rare or vintage releases paired with a European-style brunch menu.

20th Annual Brewfest

Smugglers’ Notch, Vermont
December 6, 2014

Experience the scenic Smugglers’ Notch Resort and a selection of locally brewed beers at this time-honored tradition of a festival that also features ciders and a live DJ. Attendees can sample craft beers from Vermont’s Long Trail, Fiddlehead, Zero Gravity, and Drop-In breweries as well as delicious hard cider from Vermont’s Woodchuck Cider. It all goes down at the resort’s Mountain Grille. Stay for an epic weekend with one of the resort’s beer festival packages.

Big BeersBig Beers, Belgians, and Barleywines Festival
Vail, Colorado
January 8–10, 2015

Much more than just a festival that showcases big beers, this annual brewers weekend includes educational craft-beer seminars and food tastings, beer dinners, and a homebrew competition. You can sample more than 200 craft beers from around the globe. This year’s featured brewmasters are from Papago Brewing Co. (Scottsdale, Arizona) and Brouwerij Van Steenberge (Belgium). In addition, of course, there are all of the extracurricular activities to be found on the slopes.

In Craft Beer & Brewing’s special issue, Cooking with Beer, we’ve created exciting recipes that explore all sorts of new possibilities in craft beer cooking. Get your copy today!

Beer Dabbler Winter Carnival

Minneapolis, Minnesota
January 24, 2015

Pull on your woolies and head to the largest outdoor beer festival in Minnesota. In addition to 140 breweries pouring beers, the festival will feature live music, food trucks, and silent disco in the snow. Tickets have sold out in past years.


Michigan Brewers Guild Winter Beer Festival

Plainfield Township, Michigan
February 27–28, 2015

This 10th annual winter beer festival is a showcase of Michigan’s finest with one of the largest selections of seasonal ales found under one roof. Last year it included more than 800 beers from eighty-eight breweries. Tickets go on sale December 4, 2014.