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.