Hair of the Dog Brewing Drink, Stories and Friendship.
Soon after moving to Portland Oregon in 1992, only a handful of different “Micro Brews” drank. Attended my first Beer festival, now I’m hooked and my slide into the craft scene is going to be the craziest ride ever. Soon, I find myself with a bottle of Hair of the Dog Adam in hand. What is this elixir? Found at local beer store – Johns Market (Another story unto itself), took it home and was amazed with the pronounced chocolate and fig flavors, deep amber color and being 10% ABV, this is not your normal BMC* beer. A Term that would come to bare teeth as time rolls like a dented keg.
Hair of the Dog Brewing has been a part of my Craft Beer matriculation for the past 20 plus years. Moving to Portland just when they opened and years later moving away, I have always had a deep admiration for the brewery and beer. Alan Spirits the main cog throughout the entire history of the brewery has always been a huge influence on my beer tasting and education about the malted barley pop. Adding new ideas, flavors, and fun. If you know Alan, then soon you would get to know Fred Eckhardt the preeminent OG of Beer writers and Portland Beer scene Icon. You just can’t know one without the other. To know Fred, you had to listen to stories about beer, swimming, and life. If it was going to be a short talk add 15 minutes he will still be chatting. This added to the folk lore of Fred. You always knew if Fred was there, it was going to be a great time and a good story.
Hair of the Dog and Fred will always be linked. Alan brewed a delicious golden strong ale with ten different hops, rye malt for added flavor and aroma with a finishing 10% ABV. This was a beer you better be careful with, or you will be telling leaning on your friends the rest of the night. Then the stories are about you.
Fast forward the last Fred Fest this past May 14th, 2022 – As I left from the Amtrak station one more time arriving to Portland knowing this was my last trip to HoTD. The news a few months before – Hair of the Dog was closing, Alan is retiring. I knew I had to make one make one more trip. Fred Fest was also slated to happen one last time. Ascending the Morrison Bridge there was HoTD in all it’s glory. I saw regulars I have seen over the past 2 decades and Alan right there at the door. A hug, a picture and our normal how are you doing and damn dude we love you and this place.
Now it is down to ordering for the umpteenth time – Fred, Adam, Adam Cherry, Fred on the Wood, and many others. Pictures of Fred on the wall and many a character from the Portland beer scene milling around. Flavors, memories and so much happening. To Fred, Alan and HoTD, we held our glasses up in love of beer and what was.
Hair of the Dog Brewing for myself will go down as one of the quintessential places that made “Craft Beer” what it is today. Before Slushie beers, Kettle sours and the extra fruited sour beers there was Hair of the Dog. Fred on the Wood releases had the first lines and release days that were first of its kind. Back when there were just three of four exclusive whales a year – “Fred on the Wood” was the best. I remember waiting in line during a down pour under a tent sharing many a beer as we all waited for the first or second Fred Fest at the original HoTD location. No one complained and we all cheered as Fred arrived, he walked by waving and could not wait to share stories of his passion for the industry. How we needed to listen to our beer, try new things and most of all enjoy.
Hair of the Dog is closing but the memories will live on. Alan for all you did, the beers you brewed, the inspiration you gave. The passion will live well beyond last call – June 26, 2022.