Hair of the dog brewing opening soon!

hotd The nice lady at Hair of the Dog Brewing tells us they’ll be opening inside of two weeks! The tables look ready, the bar has a good sheen and they’ll have free wi-fi.

In case you missed the last FredFest event, the new location is 61 Southeast Yamhill Street. It’s just a stones throw from the river bank on Portland’s Southeast side. Lot’s of growth going on over here; Bunk is opening up a new bar/bakery thing next to Water Avenue Coffee too. Busy busy!

The story is that Hair of the Dog Brewing will be open 2pm to 8pm, Wednesday through Sunday for starters, and expand hours as time goes on.

My best guess is they’ll be open Wednesday, August 11th, but that’s just a guess. I’ll update this post when I get better info.

UPDATE on 8/16/2010:

Hair of the Dog Brewing opened last Friday, August 13th! They say they’ll have free wifi next week and a full kitchen the week after that! Here’s some photos from our stroll today:

Doors are Open!

Doors are open!

Plenty of Room for Everyone


Don’t spill your beer in the moat!

Mind the moat!

You Have Fine Taste


– Enjoy!

Would a ‘Warm Beer’ Sign Make You Stop In?

A good way to develop your taste in beer is to keep drinking and try new beers. Yet, you should make sure you’re getting everything you paid (or brewed) for. The temperature of the beer and the glass can have a large impact in the amount of flavor exposed to your palate.

Last week, I performed a simple taste test to compare a flavor of cold beer in a cold glass to the flavor of beer in a glass that approached the ambient temperature. I used Total Domination IPA (6.7% alc./vol. 65 ibus.) from Ninkasi Brewing Company in Eugene, Oregon in both tastings. My results are as follows; I encourage you to try a similar test and confirm my results.

Ninkasi Total Domination IPA
Ninkasi Total Domination IPA

Cold Glass + Cold Beer

I used a freezer mug for this test. This mug had been inside the freezer overnight and the fluid inside the mug kept the beer frosty cold.

  • First, the beer tasted cold (obviously, but I need to state this for completeness, right?)
  • I could tell it was a carbonated fluid, but not much more.
  • There was little, if any, flavor on the sip.
  • The beer raced through my mouth, not much time to savor.
  • I tasted bitterness upon swallowing; when back of tongue reaches the roof of my mouth.
  • It also exhibited a bitter aftertaste.
  • This reminded me of the macro-brews consumed during my college years. The point was to drink this one and then move on to the next one. Not much thought was put into enjoying the experience.

Ambient Glass + Near Ambient Beer

Now that I write this, I wish I would have taken a temperature measurement with Dave’s sweet laser thermometer. I didn’t think about it, so maybe I’ll have to re-do the test. Ha!

  • This warmer beer was thick, with a full body which bloomed into a slight citrus taste after a few sips and more time in my glass.
  • This beer was more savory and definitely more chewy than the cold glass I had earlier. I could chew on the bubbles that make up the head.
  • The beer exhibited a more malty finish too.
  • I could tell the bitterness was more of an after-thought than the primary flavor present in the cold glass.
  • I could sense a slight pine flavor; other beers like Pliny the Elder (the beer, not the ancient Roman nobleman) have a bold pine flavor, but this was more subtle.
  • I stuck my nose in the glass and smelled a real craft beer.

Based on my results, I experienced a much broader flavor when the temperature of the beer neared the ambient temperature of the room. I wasn’t missing nearly as much as I did with the ultra cold beer. Even after burning a fair amount of my taste sensation on the cold, bitter beer, I could still enjoy the flavors present in the warmer beer.

You might be asking yourself why some beers actually highlight the coldness of the beer and/or the can. That’s a good question. My guess is that (1) you were watching a commercial for mass markets and (2) the beer advertised was not a craft beer.

I don’t have anything against big market beer with less flavor, it has a time and a place too. And I’ll still get a lot of enjoyment out of my Blazer mug with embedded super-freeze technology. I’ll just put the right beer inside it and enjoy the day. Its a close analogy to mixing Seagrams 7 in a glass of Coca-Cola and pouring Woodford Reserve in a tumbler with a little water to open up the flavor. I enjoy both beverages, but there’s a time and place for each. When you select one, make sure you’re getting all the flavor available to you.

Making a Batch of Boni Fide Sucka

Boni fide Sucka

My first beer, Boni Fide Sucka, was a strong batch of IPA brewed on Cinqo de Mayo, 2007 with my own gear. Its a clone of Hop Rod Rye by Bear Republic. This was made possible by a purchase of some fine products from the nice folks at Let’s Brew.

The recipe calls for a lot of Rye (obviously) along with some other grains. This took as much liquid malt extract as I’ve ever seen anyone use at BS Brewing. I was also careful to not use the handle while pouring the liquid malt extract from the plastic bucket into the pot, as it can (and has) snapped off (more than once) and fallen into said pot.

However, I was mildly disappointed in myself by forgetting to cut the heat on the pot while I poured the liquid malt extract into the pot. When the heat is on the pot, the malt will burn slightly when it touches the bottom of the pot and flake up. Killing the heat will let the liquid malt extract just blend in nicely without flaking. I used Centennial hops for bittering, Cascade hops for flavor, and pitched a California yeast on the end. After one week I used Cascade hops again for the dry hopping process.

Let’s Brew sold me a great kit to get started. I’ve been brewing batches with BS Brewing for a while now as Chief Bottle Capper and it feels really good to move on up and enjoy the full merits of owning a custom beer. There’s nothing quite like brewing your own batch to really understand how subtle parts of the recipe shape the result.

Bottling went super smooth with the integrated side spicket on the five gallon bucket. I’m really happy with the brewing kit. The special plastic bucket and the bottle washer are a toss up for my favorite brewing tools. I love the bottle tree too — a keen recommendation from a fellow brewer, Thom Schoenborn.

I fully understand the beer must remain in the bottle a minimum of two weeks but I broke down the other night with the notion of experimentation in my head. I wanted to know what kinds of changes were going on with the flavor, so I grabbed a bottle and had a taste. I wasn’t expecting great things but I was pretty happy by the end of the pint so I finished the open bottle. I think I might try one bottle a week for the next two or three weeks to see how the flavor matures and improve my knowledge of the overall process.

The beer is definitely a strong IPA. With just a week in the bottle, the pressure hadn’t built up much under the cap, but enough to let me know something was going on. Some bubbles cascaded up the pint glass too. I’ll really be looking for an improvement in the head on the beer over time too. As Papazian says so well in The New Complete Joy of Home Brewing, no beer tastes quite as good as one you brew yourself.

A Visit to Hanafin’s Irish Pub

I found myself in charming New London, CT for a week so I searched out the local watering holes and came across Hanafin’s Irish Pub.  

Its a smaller bar that’s somewhat like a merge between the Horse Brass and Moon & Sixpence in Portland, Oregon. New London is a small town, just off the water’s edge on the East Coast. The town’s large military submarine manufacturing plant looms in the distance – I suspect they’ve seen better days. 

Hanafin’s featured IPA was the Redhook Long Hammer, a welcome refreshment in a land of clear beers.

The bar had the obligatory dart boards in the back but their choice in cooler was the most interesting part. I suspect the place might have been a bank back in the olden days. The photo below shows the bank vault – just off to the side of the bar. Where else would you want to keep your beer safe?

The Bar Keeps
Big Beers
The Beer Cooler