Sunday, February 17, 2008

Hair of the Dog Doggie Claws (2007 Vintage)

Today, I opened up my fridge and found that I have a lot of beer in there. Which is usually good, except I keep wanting to buy more beer. However, I need to drink this beer before I buy more so that the beer I bought doesn't go bad and thus go to waste. Hence, I have decided to start another Clean out the Fridge Countdown. You at home can follow along with me as I go through all the beer that's in my fridge in no particular order.

From L to R: JosephsBrau Winterfest Lager, Deschutes Obsidian Stout, Hair of the Dog Doggie Claws Barley Wine Ale, Buffalo Bill's America's Original Pumpkin Ale, Full Sail LTD #2 Lager, Sierra Nevada Anniversary Ale, Kennebunkport Blueberry Wheat Ale

First on my list (and coming in at Number 7) is the 2007 vintage of Hair of the Dog's Doggie Claws (for brewery history, see Hair of the Dog Ruth), a barley wine that's "brewed in the west coast style." Brewed in September/October of every year and released in November, it's a winter seasonal that will truly warm you up with it's 11.5% alcohol content. This is officially the strongest beer I've had, with HotD's other strong beers, Adam and Fred, being the runners up. This will mark the fourth Hair of the Dog beer I've had, and I haven't been disappointed yet. I'm expecting this one to pack a wallop.

After speaking with Alan Sprints, he revealed that it was first brewed in 2000 as "Fido" and it was only available on draught when he entered it in the Toronado Barley Wine Festival (which is actually going on right now in San Francisco). He bottled it one year later and changed its name to Doggie Claws. He now brews 350 cases a year, half of which is sold at the brewery and the rest is sold in Oregon and Washington. Every November, he throws a big release party, an event that I'll have to attend sometime soon.

Here come the stats:

Hair of the Dog Doggie Claws
BREWERY: Hair of the Dog Brewery, Portland, OR, USA
STYLE: West-coast barley wine
FIRST BREWED: 2000 (draught), 2001 (bottle)
CALORIES/SERVING: ~200 per 12 oz. bottle
ABV: 11.5% (my bottle says 11%)
ORIGINAL GRAVITY: 25.67° Plato (1110)
MALTS: Organic pilsner, British crystal
HOPS: Amarillo, simcoe
FOODS TO PAIR WITH: Spicy cold cuts, cured meats, pizza, ginger cake
AWARDS: 2006 Hard Liver Barleywine Fest 1st Place

I got the style, IBUs, and ABV from the Doggie Claws webpage, and the award came from the Hard Liver Barleywine Festival Past Winners site. The rest came from an interview with Alan Sprints on Saturday February 16th. (By the way, I thought it was really awesome that he called me back on the weekend. He's a classy guy and I appreciate him taking the time to talk to a little blogger like me.)

Once I opened the bottle, I first noticed the hoppy aroma that radiated from the bottle. It poured a clear amber color and produced a foamy off-white head. The interesting thing about this beer is that over a matter of minutes, the beer grew darker and less transparent, evidenced in this photo:

The taste was hoppy, but not overly so; I could taste the 11%-plus alcohol content and the honey that came from Mt. Hood. The aftertaste started off sweet and alcoholic, but transformed into a little bit of the hoppy taste that I don't like; however, that did not deter me from drinking this beer. And I was right: it did get me buzzed.

This beer is a great value for the price and ABV and is one of the most interesting barley wines I've had. Pick up one the next time you're in Washington, Oregon, California, New York, or Denmark (random distribution, I know).


No comments: