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A Dog of a Different Color

Portland's Hair of the Dog marches to its own beat



Quick! What's the most expensive beer you can think of? Samuel Adams Utopias, maybe? No way: That's only $200-ish for a 700-milliliter metal bottle. Even BrewDog's The End of History—which you may remember from pics on the internet; it's that 110-proof sucker sold in bottles made from taxidermied squirrels and such—clocked in at a mere $765.

No, the priciest retail beer out there is Dave, a 29% ABV barley wine-style ale brewed by Hair of the Dog Brewing in Portland and aged for 21 years. It's available in bottles right now at their taproom off SE Yamhill Street, modestly touted on the menu as "the most sought after beer in the world." The price? A cool $1,500. And that's still a discount compared to the past—HOTD auctioned off a pair of Dave bottles in 2012 for $4,525.56 during a Guide Dogs for the Blind benefit.

Fortunately for those of us who haven't quite made their first $25 million yet, the rest of the beer at HOTD—a veteran of the craft beer business, opened way back in 1994—is much more reasonably priced. Adam, for example, costs $5 per snifter, and there's nothing else quite like it in Oregon. Modeled after Adambier, a style of dark ale that comes from Dortmund, Germany, it's a ten percent beer bursting with roasty malt flavor and just a touch of hops and sourness. If the alcohol percentage sounds a bit much, try Little Dog Adam, made from a second running of the Adam mash—that's only three-and-a-half percent, but still retains the same malt and hop profile.

HOTD, who made the Conflux collaboration beer with Deschutes Brewery in 2012 and whose bottles occasionally see distribution in Central Oregon, is not exactly the place to go if you're looking for the basic pale/IPA/stout brewpub lineup. On Halloween, the brewery held a bottle release for Putin, a Russian imperial stout created with the De Molen brewery in Holland. Still and head-less by design, Putin pours as dark as a winter's night and tastes similar, with intense flavors of chocolate, bourbon, and booze. It's good right now, but should be far better in a year or so, when the alcohol fades and the barrel aging's influence really kicks into high gear.

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