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!
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.