Hair Of The Dog

Recently my finacee and I were in Portland, Or visiting with family. Portland has so many different breweries and its almost overwhelming. The two of us have visited Portland a number of times and we’ve been able to make it to most of the breweries around town. Including Lucky Lab, Roots, Hopworks, Rogue, Deschutes… the list could go on and on. On our most recent trip we decided to check out a few breweries we hadn’t made it to especially since new ones are opening all the time. This time the spot that was highest on my list to visit was the Hair Of The Dog brewery. We had just missed the 2009 FredFest the weekend before. But that didn’t stop us from setting up a time to visit the brewery. Recently Hair Of The Dog has become my favorite brewery. My love affair with them started about a year ago on my last trip to Portland, Or. Being from Chicago you almost never see a beer from Hair Of The Dog unless you are at an event and some generous person brings a bottle to share. Hair Of The Dog makes powerful, delicious beer. The 2008 Doggie Claws is amazing and one of my favorite beers; I’m having a hard time not drinking the ones I have in my fridge. I also think if Alan the brewmaster ever did any sort of Russian Imperial it would probably blow away the Darklord. So in other words I was extremely excited to be visiting Hair Of The Dog and seeing where the magic happens.

You have to call before you visit Hair Of The Dog and see if Alan, the brewmaster is going to be around to give a tour. He isn’t at the brewery brewing every day like many of the other larger operations, so you have to work around his schedule. We set a time in the late afternoon to stop by the brewery. Finding the brewery is sort of tricky, you either have to know the Portland road system very well or use the directions on the Hair Of The Dog website. Once we finally found the place we pulled up to see the door of the brewery open and ready for us to enter. As you walk in it is sort of like walking into someone’s very large garage. Barrels are piled all around and off in the back you can see all the brewing equipment. The size of the place is less than half of the newly opened Metropolitan Brewery in Chicago. When we walked in further we found Alan stirring the brew kettle, he was on his first batch for the day with three more to go. Alan finished what he was doing and then welcomed us to his brewery. The tour started and ended almost at once, you basically walk around in a small circle and Alan explains what everything is. My favorite part of the “tour” was being able to see all the barrels he had and what was being aged in each one. After Alan showed us around the brewery we stepped up to his bar to try what he had on tap. He gave a little history about the brewery and talked about each of his beers. Alan had five beers for us to sample; Greg, Fred, Blue Dot, Ruth, & the 2008 Doggie Claws. The Greg was the only one I had not had and one of the more unique beers I have had recently. He doesn’t use any hops in the Greg, only squash.

Overall it was great to visit the brewery and I greatly appreciate Alan for taking time out of his day to show me and the finacee around. If you’re in Portland or just visiting and you love beer, be sure to make the time for Hair Of The Dog.

Hop Cast – Episode 42

In episode 42 of the Hop Cast, Ken Hunnemeder and Brad Chmielewski are joined by two ladies; Darcy Laughlin and Jane Kim. The four of them sample and review a few beers that Jane brought back with her from Arizona. The first wobbly pop they sample is a pale ale from Prescott Brewing. This guy comes in one of Ken and Brad’s favorite vessels, the can. They follow up the pale with the Cordillera Blanca from Sonora Brewing. The Cordillera is a little different then Ken and Brad usually feature on the Hop Cast, it is a White Chocolate Ale. Another great brewery that wasn’t featured on the Hop Cast was Nimbus they are definitely worth checking out. Big thanks to Jane for bringing back these beers.

Download the Podcast (175.5 MB).

Hop Cast – Episode 41

Brad Chmielewski and Ken Hunnemeder welcome you to the wood episode. They might have had a few too many at Rock Bottom’s Rockfest before shooting episode 41 of the Hop Cast. The two beers they sample and review are beers that use wood to age or for additional flavor. The first beer is the Palo Santo Marron from the great brewery Dogfish Head. They follow that 12% ABV beast up with a beer from Brad’s favorite brewery Hair Of The Dog. It is the Fred From The Wood, coming in at 10% ABV. Both of these are high alcohol beers.

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Hop Cast – Episode 40

In episode 40 of the Hop Cast Ken Hunnemeder and Brad Chmielewski take it to the stoop to toss back a couple brown bag bombers. Since there are very few Olde or King Cobra style craft beers, Ken and Brad had to improvise. They sip on a 2009 Correction Ale from Lagunitas and a Sky High Rye from Arcadia Brewing. Ken and Brad didn’t forget to pour a little out for their homies. With 40 episodes down Ken and Brad are ready for 40 more, thanks for watching them and stay tuned for more.

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Hop Cast – Episode 39

With the 2009 Dark Lord Day still on their minds, Brad Chmielewski and Ken Hunnemeder decided to open up a bottle of the Three Floyds Dark Lord. They wanted to make this episode even better so Brad pulled out a 2008 Three Floyds Dark Lord from his cellar. The two of them have the honor to sample both a 2008 and a 2009 Three Floyds Dark Lord. They take a look at what makes both beers unique and how the 2008 holds up to age. They also share with everyone the events that took place at the 2009 Three Floyds Dark Lord Day.

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The Fellowship of Gentlemanly Gentlemen

#gents or The Fellowship of Gentlemanly Gentlemen is a weekly, exclusive gathering of some of the world’s finest. Sampling exceptional craft beers, cigars and spirits; discussing politics, design and entrepreneurial affairs; the Fellowship aims to capture the true essence of living as a gentlemanly gentlemen. In a nutshell its a small group that gets together and share beers. It started in late February 2009 at Bridges Media Group, as a small after work get together but has quickly become much more. Each week there is a theme and everyone brings beers that fit into that theme. The beers are either ones that were picked up at the store that day or maybe that have been aging at home for years. Most weeks the group consists of Brian McCauley, Mike Kislovsky, Nick Campbell, Stephen Freshnock and myself. More recently the group is growing and more people have attended, including: Ken Hunnemeder, Timothy O’Connell and Brad Stark.

Most of the #gents are on twitter, so in order to sort of catalog and take notes on the beers that are being sample and enjoyed they put #gents into their twitter updates. This #gents code also allows for all the messages to be seen on The Fellowship of Gentlemanly Gentlemen’s website. These weekly gatherings make it a wonderful opportunity to experience a great selection of craft beers in a smaller non event setting.

Tuesday, May 6th marked the latest meeting of the gents with the theme, “Best Of Your Cellar“. Really it was more of a bring the best you have, it could include rare, aged, or even just a favorite. I brought with me a Three Floyds 2009 Dark Lord, a Pliny The Elder from Russian River and a Crack’d Wheat from New Glarus. Tyler a friend of Brian’s brought a Three Floyds 2008 Dark Lord, which was fabulous. I feel honored to have gotten to sample the 2008 Dark Lord twice in one week… the first being episode 39 of the Hop Cast. Brian shared a 60th Anniversary Special Edition Abt 12 that he had been aging for over a year. Stephen usually brings one of his home brews and he didn’t disappoint this weekend. He brought one of the few remaining bottles of his Rye. Stephen also brought a Fred which is from one of my favorite breweries Hair Of The Dog. Ken and I sampled the Fred and an Adam in a previous special. Finally from Stephen was the Ballast Point Victory At Sea. Looking back, I can’t believe we had all of that and it was only about half of what we drank that night, the list seems to just go on and on. Tim brought the Rocky’s Revenge Bourbon Brown from Tyranena Brewing, which I was rather impressed by. Brad Stark being new to the craft beer world picked up a Lost Abbey Inferno, which was reviewed on episode 22 of the Hop Cast.

We started off with the two Three Floyds Dark Lords so we could enjoy them before the alcohol took hold. From there we tried to work backwards but ended up jumping around. Beside the Dark Lord, stand outs included the aged Abt 12 and Hair Of The Dog Fred. The Victory At Sea was good, but had a bit too much chocolate for my liking.

Overall it was a fantastic night with some hard to find beers. If anyone in Chicago is looking to join us, you are more then welcome. Either contact me here, leave a message on The Fellowship Of Gentlemanly Gentlemen website or get a hold of any of us on twitter.

Hop Cast – Episode 38

In episode 38 of the Hop Cast Ken Hunnemeder and Brad Chmielewski are joined by scotch and whiskey lover Charlie Drews. Join the three of them as they look at three current versions of Harviestoun Brewery’s Ola Dubh. The Ola Dubh is a collaboration between the brewery Harviestoun and distiller Highland Park. Ken, Brad and Charlie sample and review the Ola Dubh 12, 16 and 30. You can currently find the 18 and 40 around so keep a look out for them at a beer store near you.

Download the Podcast (216.2 MB).