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Where to drink beer in December

Winter beer parties, new taprooms, a Festivus shindig and more ways to keep your belly warm this month.
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Office parties, out-of-town relatives coming to visit, mall parking lots, holiday shopping, holiday shopping bills … does any other month provide more reasons to seek a beer at the end of the day? Luckily, December 2016 is full of beer events and destinations that should add a needed dose of merriment and, hopefully, calm:

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Portland, Oregon’s Holiday Ale Festival

All month: Lowercase Brewing taproom Open since mid-November in Georgetown neighborhood of Seattle, Lowercase’s new taproom is a rustic-ish spot to grab the brewery’s beers in a kid- and dog-friendly environment. Currently, the taproom offers pretzels to nosh on, but hopes to add a real food menu soon. See hours and more details here.

Nov. 30-Dec. 4: 21st Annual Holiday Ale Festival Portland, Oregon’s annual outdoor winter beer festival comes of legal drinking age this year; expect more than 14,000 attendees over the five-day festival, sampling rare or vintage holiday ales from more than 50 breweries and cider makers under tents at Pioneer Courthouse Square from Nov. 30-Dec.4. Advance general admission costs $35 and includes the 2016 tasting glass – a Govino flexible BPA-free polymer glass that is shatterproof, recyclable and reusable – and 14 taster tickets, plus expedited entry all five days with a print at home ticket. General admission at the door is the same price, but includes only 12 tickets and no expedited entry. Advance VIP packages cost $100 and include the tasting glass, 30 taster tickets, special VIP beer lines with little to no waiting, exclusive VIP only vintage beers, bottled water and express entry all five days. See the full lineup of beers here; purchase tickets here.

Dec. 3: 2nd Shift Brewing taproom opening St. Louis, Missouri’s 2nd Shift Brewing throws open the doors to its new taproom on The Hill on Saturday, Dec. 3 at noon. The 12,000 square foot warehouse will house the taproom and brewery; expect 16 taps with 2nd Shift beers as well as a few guest selections. Get more info here.

Dec. 3: Braxton Brewing Dark Charge Release and Winter Block Party On Saturday, Dec. 3 at noon, Covington, Kentucky’s Braxton Brewing releases this year’s bourbon barrel-aged Dark Charge Imperial Stout ($13) along with five variants ($15) including Bourbon Barrel-Aged Dark Charge with Madagascar Vanilla Beans; Bourbon Barrel-Aged Dark Charge with Ancho Chile, Cinnamon, Vanilla, and Cocoa; and more. In addition to the bottle release, Braxton will host live music, food trucks and more than 15 barrel-aged guest taps. Find more info here.

Dec. 3: Parade of Darks beer festival Back for a sixth year, this annual fundraiser for Denver charity Metro Caring takes place on Saturday, Dec. 3 from 1-4:30 p.m. at the Turnhalle Room in the Tivoli Student Union on the Auraria Campus in Denver. More than 60 beers from more than 40 Denver-area, national and international breweries including Bull & Bush, Ballast Point, Avery, Lost Abbey, Ratio Beerworks and many more will pour brews that represent the darker side of the beer spectrum, from amber to near-black. Tickets are $45 and include one-ounce samples of the beers as well as gourmet chocolates; purchase tickets and get more info here.

Line up of bottles close

Dec. 6-11: Cascade Brewing’s 18th Anniversary party and bottle releases You read that correctly; Portland, Oregon’s Cascade Brewing has been around for 18 years. Times flies, huh? The brewery will celebrate all week long at both Cascade Brewing Barrel House and the Raccoon Lodge & Brew Pub, kicking off with a special Tap It Tuesday barrel tapping at the Barrel House on Dec. 6 at 6pm, where the brewery will release the 2015 blend of its Pater project. Released once every two to three years, Pater is a blend of sour reds, imperial reds, blonds, triples and quads aged up to three years with Bing and sour pie cherries. The week will feature a number of rare vintage draft beers on tap including The Bourbonic Plague 2009, Kriek 2009, Sang Royal 2009, Vlad the Imp Aler 2009 and Apricot 2010, as well as bottle releases. Find more info here.

Dec. 8-10: Lone Tree 5th Anniversary weekend Cheer to five years at Lone Tree, Colorado-based Lone Tree Brewing Co.’s weekend bash that begins Thursday, Dec. 8 with a trivia night and tapping of Imperial Peach IPA; continues Friday with a “Walk Through History” brewery tour and Patagonia Pale Ale tapping; and wraps up on Saturday with a 5th Anniversay Soiree featuring barbecue from Jessie’s Smokin’ Nola and tappings of Toasted Coconut Brown Ale as well as Tequila Barrel-Aged Hop Tree IIPA, Coffee IPA and Chocolate Peanut Butter Porter. Get more info here.

El Gordo Bomber_GPBC_LowRes_Nov2014Dec. 10: Good People Brewing’s Dia Del Gordo release A 13.9% Russian imperial stout probably demands its own festival, yes? Birmingham, Alabama’s Good People Brewing throws down on Saturday, Dec. 10 with the release of El Gordo stout and its variants and several vintages of past releases. Bottles will be sold on a first-come, first-served basis beginning at 1 p.m.; the brewery will also welcome food trucks, live music and tap rare drafts including 2016 El Gordo and El Gordo Mole throughout the day. Find more info here.

Dec. 10: 4th Annual Central Oregon Winter Beer Fest I attended this wintry affair last year at Bend, Oregon’s GoodLife Brewing, and it was a slushy, chilly, awesome time. This year, GoodLife will welcome 20-plus Central Oregon breweries for the outdoor (heated tent), afternoon festival; tickets are $10 and include a commemorative glass as well as 4 drink tickets. Each additional ticket will cost $1; food trucks will be on site as well. Get more info here.

Dec. 10: Burial Beer Co./Other Half Velvet Magnum party Don your finest crushed velvet and head to Asheville, North Carolina’s Burial Beer Co. on Saturday, Dec. 10 for a holiday party with NYC’s Other Half that includes the release of Velvet Magnum stout, a snow machine, Christmas carols, a Tom Selleck Claus costume contest and an Other Half tap takeover including Broccoli DIPA, Fully Frothed DIPA, Blowing Up The Spot Triple IPA, Double Mosaic Dream DIPA, Always Bet On Green DIPA, Forever Ever IPA, Stacks On Stacks DIPA and more. Get more info here.

An Abnormal Beer Co. collaboration with Mostra Coffee

An Abnormal Beer Co. collaboration with Mostra Coffee

Dec. 10:  Coffee and Beer Tasting Collective If you’re like me, beer is your favorite beverage by a slim margin because without coffee, well, I’d hardly get out of bed. Taste both (including their fusion) at San Diego’s The Cork & Craft on Dec. 10 from 9 a.m. – 2 p.m. at a coffee and beer event marking Mostra Coffee’s third anniversary. Shop a Mostra pop-up shop, taste 20 beers from around the country brewed with Mostra Coffee and snack on small plates from chef Scott Cannon. Admission is free; just pay for purchases on site. Find more information here.

Dec. 10: OEC Brewing/B. United Festivus OEC Brewing and importer B. United team up for a joint holiday party on Saturday, Dec. 10 from noon-7 p.m. at the brewery’s Oxford, Connecticut taproom; expect cider, mead, beer, food and bottle releases from OEC including vintage bottles,  Zymatore Abbaye de Saint Bon-Chien bottles, Vindemia Blanc and a special tapping of Baladin Rum Barrel Xyauyu, served directly from its barrel for pours and growler fills. Admission is free; purchase tickets for 1/$1, 22/$20, 44/$40, 55/$50, etc; drinks are 2-6 tickets for a 5-oz pour. Get more info here.

Dec. 17: Denver [only] Beer Festivus Back for a fifth year, this event celebrating Denver breweries and the airing of grievances goes down Saturday, Dec. 17 at Wings Over the Rockies Air and Space Museum. It brings together more than 50 Denver-area breweries including Black Project, Call to Arms, Great Divide, Our Mutual Friend, Ratio Beerworks, Spangalang and many more. Tickets are $40-65 and can be purchased here.

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