52 Weeks: Hair of the Dog Taproom and Brewpub
Week 37 of 52: (are we caught up yet? anyone?)
61 SE Yamhill Street, Portland, OR
Type of Establishment: Taproom, glorious beer serving facility
Visit: Same as our Cascade post. After our stop at Cascade’s new taproom, Hair of the Dog was next on our list of Portland beer hot spots.
Beers on Tap (at time of visit):
Blue Dot Imperial IPA
and some foreign pilsner, but I didn’t pay a damn bit of attention to that tap.
Several vintage bottles to go and several that you can only drink in house. Magnums are offered of some beers and others date back to the mid-’90’s. HOTD never disappoints with vintage brews.
Pasta dishes, brisket sandwiches, potato based stews, bread and butter, pickled appetizers and more. Not an extensive menu but some good, filling foods that will pair well with the beers. Oh – Alan Sprints, owner and brewer, is cooking in the kitchen.
Hang out with bb.com and within moments, you would find out that Hair of the Dog Brewing is in all of our top ten list for US breweries. They cannot be denied that place in beer stardom.
For the past two years I have dreamed of visiting an establishment that had several HOTD beers on tap. My only encounter with this dream-like state of mind has been at Brouwers during Big Wood Fest (Fred from the Wood, B.O.B., Michael — beers with no ego that harbor all of the complexity and flavor you can imagine). I have called the brewery and attempted to visit the brewery in past trips to Portland, but due to the brewery being closed on the weekend, I was forced to hold out.
My time has come. Just one month ago, the news broke. Alan Sprints, owner and head brewer, unveiled a tasting room that is open on the weekends! Hallelujah, Praise the Lord, Hail the Goblin King! (That was weird, but I am leaving it) Although this exciting information cannot be found on HOTD painfully outdated website, you can friend them on facebook and get Alan’s news on whats going on.
HOTD has always remained a mystery to me, the outdated website, the lack of accessibility to the public on the weekends. You might think that all this build up could back fire. But, not in this case. No, not at all.
A large garage door lets the mid afternoon sunlight in coating a table or two in it warmth. Before choosing our seats, we take a lap around the wide open space. With exposed wooden beams, high warehouse ceilings, walls painted in primary colors and a stand alone rectangular shaped bar area, I immediately like the feel of this place.
Since there weren’t three seats to be found at the bar, we choose the table in the sun which provides us with a little Vitamin D and a direct view of the exposed kitchen. Behind the kitchen counter to the left of some rustic bread and to the right of a colorful bouquet of flowers, stands Alan. He has been the owner and brewer of HOTD for over 16 years, he is a master mind, an innovator and apparently a damn good cook too! This guy does it all. He even sliced my bread – no lies.
We order a taster of everything on the menu. A rainbow of beer descends upon us from the waitress’ tray. A combination of the small taster glasses, the sunlight, the bold colors of the beer and of course the epic flavors of each one made it an all too perfect experience.
We “oo’d” and “ahh’d” over Fred, Adam and Doggie Claws. Each beer performs to a “T” with layers of flavors. The Fred appeared to be very young, meaning that it most likely just came out of the fermenter. It was a bit strange, since we are used to having Fred after its aged and caramelized, but it was actually a unique opportunity to taste the young Fred. We weren’t too disappointed.
At the end of the day, I could drink these beers in a cold cave with sleeping bats and still rate it a 4.5/5. But lucky for all you HOTD lovers, there is a place with character and comfort for you to visit. Take a visit; its worth the drive.