Hair of the Dog Adam

Also From This Brewery

Have you ever heard of Adam beer? Not many people have. Still, according to the Hair of the Dog brewery, Hair of the Dog Adam is a re-creation of a historic beer style once produced in Dortmund, Germany. Adam is an ale, a style not usually produced in Germany. Save for wheat beer, Alt, and Kolsch (which is actually more of a hybrid), most beers in Germany are lagers.

That in itself makes Adam something of an anomaly. There is not much information widely available as to the old German style, and we canít know for sure what one really tasted like. Brewed in Portland, Oregon, Adam has more of a Pacific Northwest character about it than a Germanic one. Still, itís a complex masterpiece of a brew that simply should not be missed. Add to that the fact that it is rarely made, and you have a beer worth scouring the globe for.

The brewery, of course, takes its name from the old adage that a bit of whatever you were drinking the night before might remedy that nasty hangover you have in the morning. ďThe hair of the dog that bit you,Ē as it were. Probably not a good cure in reality, but it makes for an interesting story after all.

Adam is sold bottle-conditioned with batch-numbered labels; my sample was from batch 67. Itís been a while since Iíve had an Adam, though I did jot down some thoughts on batch 21 in 2000. As you can see, this is a low-run brew with only 46 more batches made since then. Hereís what I thought then:

As I poured, the deep brown to almost black color of the brew surprised me. I hadn't been expecting this from a German-style beer, albeit a seldom-produced one. The first whiff of the beer was loaded with rich Scotch ale like aromas. Upon sipping, the rich roasty-sweet maltiness blended with very strong notes of licorice and a warmly alcoholic mouthfeel, no surprise since the alcohol content is about 10% by volume. Licorice and alcohol linger with a slightly bitter hop presence in the finish.

And now:

Hair of the Dog Adam pours to a rich brownish black color with a thick, creamy towering head of foam and a wonderfully sweet malty nose that hints at prune and fresh bread. Sip gently, because this is a monster: complex and rich with a full body, lots of hops, and 10% alcohol by volume. Itís more like a barleywine than anything else in all reality.

As soon as you sip, your tongue will be bathed in chewy caramel, chocolate, prune-raisin, black pepper, rum, soft fruit, lots of licorice, and bready yeast notes. Just sit back for a moment and enjoy the luxurious mouthfeel. There are citrusy notes of orange, too, that blend nicely with the chocolate. In the finish, the hops (50 IBUs of them) intensify, balance all that malt and leave you with a long lingering bitter finish. Thereís even a hint of smoke too.

Adam is most definitely a sipping beer, a savoring beer, a beer to be enjoyed in moderation before or after a meal. It will age very well over the years, too. A little pricey perhaps at $4.29 a bottle, but itís worth every penny. When you can find it.