The Holiday Ale Festival Is Canceled for the Third Straight Year

It’s unclear whether the reason to skip yet another year was driven by continued concerns about COVID.

Beer lovers who expected to ring in December with dozens of dark brews under the Pioneer Courthouse Square Christmas tree are in for some disappointment: The Holiday Ale Festival has pulled the plug once again.

An announcement about the cancellation quietly went up on the event’s website, though nothing has been posted on its Facebook or Instagram accounts.

“The Holiday Ale Festival has been postponed until 2023,” the message stated. “We look forward to gathering with you all and enjoying some beers next year! Please continue to order great beverages from your local breweries and cideries and stay safe out there!”

It’s unclear whether the reason to skip yet another year was driven by continued concerns about COVID, since no reason was given.

New immunity-dodging Omicron variants continue to emerge around the globe, and researchers expect that will lead to yet another winter wave of cases. And Holiday Ale Festival is held in a clear, heated tent with both a ceiling and walls, where the virus could spread more easily than, say, the Oregon Brewers Festival, which returned to Waterfront Park this past summer for the first time since 2019. While there were tents at that event, they lacked sides, and there was plenty of open-air space for drinkers to roam.

WW reached out to Holiday Ale Fest organizers as well as Pioneer Courthouse Square for additional information about the decision to cancel, and this post will be updated if those details become available.

While you may not be able to raise a toast on the bricks, you don’t have to worry about other Portland living room traditions getting scrapped.

Stimson Lumber Company is scheduled to deliver a 75-foot Doug fir to the square on Wednesday, Nov. 9. Crews will then spend the next several weeks putting it up and adding decorations for the tree-lighting ceremony on the day after Thanksgiving (Friday, Nov. 25). Pink Martini pianist and singer Thomas Lauderdale is slated to lead a singalong before Santa flips the switch to illuminate more than 14,000 LED bulbs.

Go ahead, bring a flask of your favorite winter ale and pretend the Holiday Ale Fest is a go anyway. We won’t tell.

UPDATE: A representative from the Holiday Ale Fest returned our email on Nov. 10, stating that multiple factors led to the event’s cancellation.

“We have decided to postpone the 2022 Holiday Ale for a lot of ‘current’ reasons that just made it too much extra to have on our plate with the normal over-the-top planning it takes to make the wonderful event happen,” the email stated.

Good news is on the horizon, though. The representative added that organizers have already reserved dates for the festival next year: Dec. 1-3.