Saturday, February 20, 2010

One of a kind: Hair of the Dog Adam

Some breweries and their beers are truly unique, and truly special. Beers so good, you would be willing to travel thousands of miles just to get to taste them. Profit is always a motivation with any business but for many of these small, local, craft breweries it really is about a true love of the craft of brewing.

The Hair Of The Dog Brewing Company of Portland, OR established in 1993 is once such brewery. This is a very small brewery that is a legend in the U.S. craft beer world. HOTD is dedicated to brewing "bottle conditioned" beer styles. This beers are high in alcohol by nature, and most HOTD beers range from 10-12% abv. These are that can be laid down and cellared for a few years, and will actually improve with age like wine. These beers are brewed in small numbered batches, and are expensive to produce. While HOTD products can be found on draught at select locations, these beers are brewed to be bottled. Each bottle is sedimented with yeast so further conditioning will actually take place in the bottle.

Their flagship brew is a beer they simply call Adam. What makes Adam so unique and one of a kind is the fact that it is the only existing example of an extinct beer style called Adambier that is commercially produced. Simply put, no other brewery in the world is brewing this beer style.

What exactly is Adambier? It is a very strong, dark, sour ale that originated in Dortmund, Germany. The style was expense to produce, and eventually lost favor with the people of Dortmund with the arrival of golden colored lagers such as pilsner, and the golden lager that started being produced in Dortmund, and became known as the style Dortmunder.

HOTD Adam comes in at 10% abv and 50 IBU (bitterness units). It is brewed with dark malts, and unlike the original versions of Adambier does not have any sour notes. HOTD Adams is strong, rich, complex, delicious ale that is the perfect match with deserts, dark chocolates, or even a good cigar. I dispense with all that and enjoy the bottles of Adam I have tried alone. This is a warming and delicious beer to sip and relax with. It is a perfect beer in the colder months to enjoy and one you will want to drink slowly.

Adam pours to a beautiful deep garnet to brown color, with a thick, off white head, and a soft to moderate carbonation. The nose on this beer is fantastic, with lots of big aromas of dark chocolate, light roast, piney hops, and peppery alcohol. The palate is rich and full on the tongue with big flavors of sweet malt, dark chocolate, and light roasty flavor. Adam finishes with more really delicious sweet malt flavors, more dark chocolate and roast, then ends with a burst of piney hop bitterness and peppery alcohol.

There is a lot going on in this beer. Adam has become very hard to find over the years, and the distribution of this beer can be hit or miss. I have seen this beer in East Coast markets only to dissapear for a few years and then return. If you ever see Adam or any HOTD beer in your market, it is well worth trying. I would suggest you buy a few bottles, as Adam will age like wine, and will actually improve and those big, bold flavors will mellow and meld over time. For more information on this amazing beer and brewery visit their site at:

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