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Thursday, December 29, 2011

Impromptu Hair of the Dog tasting

So on Tuesday night of this week, Brewslut and I headed over to Brass Rail Deli to get some KBS and Oak-Aged Pumking on tap.  Unfortunately, the Pumking was already kicked, so we had to "settle" for KBS.  My good beer friend, Dan, was also there, and he asked me when I would like to drink a bottle of Hair of the Dog bourbon barrel-aged Adam from the Wood.  "Ummm... how about tomorrow night!" I answered enthusiastically.

So last night the four of us (Dan, Kristen, Brewslut and I) polished off the aforementioned HotD beer as well as four others that have been aging (or festering... however you want to look at it) in my beer cellar: vintage '08 and '09 Doggie Claws, '09 Fred from the Wood and '09 Cherry Adam from the Wood.  Truly a nice line-up, indeed!

We started off with the BBA Adam from the Wood, which was by far the best of the evening.  I would have liked to cap off the night with this one, but Dan was anxious to try it, so I didn't put up a fight.  While this version was definitely less smokey and earthy than the traditional Adam, these attributes were replaced with a lush vanilla and tangy bourbon character that made this beer slide down my throat quite effortlessly.  This is definitely a beer to savor.  Unfortunately, we shared a 12oz. bottle four ways, but I enjoyed this one more and more with each passing sip.

Up next was Cherry Adam from the Wood.  While I enjoyed this one, it ultimately didn't live up to my full expectations.  I felt it didn't offer a lot of cherry character, which I was anticipating due to its namesake.  There was a tinge of soy sauce in the flavor as well, which typically does not agree with me, at least in the context of beer.  Still, it was quite smooth and subtle for such a high ABV beer and I am glad to have had the opportunity to try a bottle of this rarity.

Fred from the Wood was next up on the agenda.  If memory serves me correctly, I'd already had the '08 vintage of this (thanks Dan) a while back.  This '09 vintage was definitely brighter and sweeter than its elder counterpart.  The woody notes were quite subtle overall.  This was the perfect beer to place in the middle of our roster as it was much lighter than the previous two and ultimately more hoppy. 

We ended with Doggies Claws, one of my favorite barleywines on the market.  We decided to start with the '09 and work our way backwards.  Released from the depths of its dark and foreboding muddy body, the '09 vintage offered a complex nose of leafy hops, sweet caramel and tangy alcohol notes.  Doggie Claws definitely straddles the line between an English (traditionally maltier) and American (traditionally hoppier) style barleywine, but one this is for sure - this is a delicious beer any way you slice it!  The '08 was surprisingly a bit disappointing, or at least certainly not as fine as its more youthful heir.  The nose, as Dan pointed out, was a bit oxidized.  However, the flavor still delivered a pleasant experience overall, although it was Brewslut's least favorite of the evening.  She pointed out that it smelled like "split pea soup."  (For more of her amusing descriptions of beer aromas and flavors, check out one of my past blogs by clicking here.)

To read more about past Hair of the Dog travels, check out my previous blog, Tripping the West Coast-tastic - Part I: Seattle and Portland.

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