Happy Black Friday! As you scroll through your social media of choice’s newsfeed while you wait in what might be the world’s longest line at Best Buy/Macy’s/Target/a random furniture store, please know that a salvation drink is just a few hours away. From gourmet food and mouth-watering wines, to seasonal beers and more, the Northwest is brimming with food and drink and holiday-related events inspired by the season. Grab a glass, a fork and leave your woes of intolerance at the line, here’s a festive roundup of holiday beer, wine and food events that will leave you hungry for more and kick-off this weekend.
• Wine Country Thanksgiving: Join the Willamette Valley as they celebrate the season during a weekend of friends, family and great wine. There will be 160 wineries throughout the valley featuring special tastings, food pairings, live music and more, Saturday, Nov. 29-Sunday, Dec. 1. Tasting prices vary, visit Willamette Wines for more information.
• 2013 Holiday Ale Festival: Fend off the cold weather and warm up with a selection of specially brewed, season-inspired beers at the Holiday Ale Festival, in downtown Portland at Pioneer Courthouse Square, Wednesday, Dec. 4-Sunday, Dec. 8. There will be more than 50 featured winter ales available to taste and enjoy. VIP packages are available for $75, or enjoy General Admission for $30.
• 2013 Winter Beer Fest: The Washington Beer Commission hosts two days of tasting events featuring your favorite Washington breweries on Friday, Dec. 6-Saturday, Dec. 7, at Hangar 30 at Magnuson Park. Warm up with dark and creamy stouts, robust winter blends, and barrel aged favorites, plus many more. Tickets may be purchased in advance online for $25, or $30 at the door.
• St. Nick’s Woodinville Wine Country: Enjoy Washington Wine Country in Woodinville, during this annual holiday event. The weekend kicks off with the St. Nick’s Holiday Wine Tasting at Columbia Winery, and continues into Saturday and Sunday with the Holiday Open House. Enjoy this three-day sampling from Friday, Dec. 6-Sunday, Dec. 8, as you taste from your favorite Washington wines. General admission prices range from $50-65 (per day), or spoil yourself with the VIP library tasting for $150 and bring home three bottles of wine.
• Vancouver Winter Brewfest: Back again, the second Annual Vancouver Winter Brewfest is taking place Friday, Dec. 13- Sunday, Dec. 15 at the Esther Short in downtown Vancouver, Wash., just a 15 minute drive from downtown Portland. Sample and discover new beers from breweries such as Vancouver-based Loowit Brewery and Mt. Tabor Brewing and check out tried and true ales from Widmer Brewing, Ninkasi Brewing and more. Tickets for the solo sipper are $25 but go as a pair for $35 total.
• Grape Killers – Holiday in the Hood: Get ghetto with the infamous Grape Killers, the original “warehouse wineries” of Woodinville including Baer Winery, Darby Winery, Gorman Winery, Guardian Cellars, Mark Ryan Winery and Sparkman Cellars. Haul your wine-loving hooligans to the hood on Friday, Dec. 13 from 6-9pm to taste the new releases and seasonal favorites of these renegade wineries. Taste at each winery, enjoy small bites, take home a commemorative glass and known your $70 went to a good cause—a portion of proceeds go to Homeward Pet Adoption Center.
Look out for are ongoing, mobile events throughout the season as well:
• Portland Short BUs FestiBUS: Join 12 random strangers on the Portland Short Bus as they hit up two quintessential Portland holiday light displays (Portland International Raceway’s Winter Wonder Lights & the world renowned Peacock Lane). In addition to the light shows, this tour merrily whisk you along to three of their favorite bars whose innards are absolutely glowing with holiday cheer. You will be provide hot cocoa (you bring your own adult booze—alcohol is allowed on the bus) and there will be a mandatory white elephant gift exchange ($10 max). Sweaters, sexy Mrs. Claus, and your best Clark Griswold outfits are certainly encouraged. Price is $30 and includes entrance fees into the Winter Wonderland Lights.
• Local Craft Tours Tipsy Twinkle Tour: Hop on for a tour of one of Seattle’s hottest craft distilleries and get whisked around town to view Seattle’s best holiday light displays. For $65, visit a craft distillery for a holiday-flavored tasting, get two hand-crafted Christmas cocktails, taste local artisanal holiday snacks and get a special take-away gift, all in the luxury transportation of a Mercedes-Benz Sprinter!
Throughout the region restaurants, wineries, breweries and more are coming together to celebrate the season with gifts of indulgence. Join the fun and mark your calendar for these mouth watering Northwest holiday events.