Now’s the time to grab few big pints of dark ale before your family comes to town. Those reaching for the heavy stuff this week are in luck: Breakside, Firestone Walker, and Fremont Brewing will all have excellent pours available, along with a few special beer and cookie pairings from Block 15 and the folks at Imperial’s two taprooms.
Don’t worry about the extra calories—that’s next year’s problem at this point.

Friday, December 15

Breakside Cellarbration: Bourbon

Breakside shares a flight of its finest bourbon barrel-aged beers as the most recent installment of its ongoing cellarbration series. Featuring six high-ABV beers with big flavors of vanilla, oak, and the high-proof stuff, this should serve as a perfect appetizer for a few weeks spent in closer-than-usual proximity with family. Breakside Slabtown, 1570 NW 22nd Ave. 11 am. Free.

Firestone Walker vs. Fremont

The BeerMongers pit California against Washington in this battle of big flavors, with kegs of each brewery’s most acclaimed high-abv ales (and one IPA) attempting to match each other punch for punch. Try them all in a seven beer fight to the bell, and we’re sure that your head will feel like the one that was in the ring on Saturday morning. The BeerMongers, 1125 SE Division St. 5 pm. Free.

Five Years for Beer

SE Portland bottleshop and bar Beer celebrates five years in business with pours from Prairie Artisan Ales, Warfinder, and Block 15, among others, and even dusts off some special bottles from its cellar for the occasion. Beer, 1410 SE Stark St. 11 am. Free.

Saturday, December 16

Block 15 Christmas and Cookie Pairing

Imperial’s annual cookie and beer pairing returns with Block 15 providing the suds. Try an imperial IPA with pineapple tarts, a winter warmed with chipotle gingerbread, a bourbon barrel-aged imperial stout with double chocolate cherry espresso drops, or a brandy barrel-aged olde ale with a pecan fig bar. Imperial Bottle Shop, 2006 NE Alberta St and 3090 SE Division St. 12 pm December 16-17. $3.50-5.00 per pairing, $16 for all three.

Ugly Sweater Party

Fremont Brewing will bring the beer to N.W.I.P.A.’s annual ugly sweater party, with high ABV stouts and fresh hoppy IPAs to take the edge off of the pain your eyes will endure. There’ll be free snacks and even some special swag for contest winners. N.W.I.P.A. 6350 SE Foster Rd. 7 pm. Free.