Beer Geek Meets Beer Freek

Craft Beer Portland

Some of Portland's most prized beers from Hair of the Dog have reached L.A.

The Yard in Santa Monica has been putting together a nice selection of rare beer nights that the Beer Blast has been chronicling for the past few weeks and last night I attended the Hair of the Dog night.

The Yard is a new gastropub with Chris “CJ” Jacobson of Top Chef fame manning the stoves and additional focus on both mixology and craft beer, but it was the Beer Freek idea that lured me out on a beautiful Wednesday night at the beach.

They have scored some really good beers that L.A. denizens don’t normally see like Bell’s HopSlam last month. Last night, I was treated to three big brews from my hometown of Portland, Oregon.

First up was the 2010 version of the holiday barley wine called Doggie Claws. This beer is upfront with alcohol but also had a light floral edge to it that will probably disappear as the beer ages. It was the lowest ABV of the group but it showed the heat more than the other two.

Next was Matt, an American strong ale. It is aged in Kentucky Bourbon and Apple Eau de Vie barrels from Clear Creek distilling. And boy does it show. Big brandy and fruit notes in the aroma that follow through even stronger in the taste. This is a melding of spirit and beer that will impress connoisseurs of both.

Lastly was Cherry Adam from the Wood. It is aged with locally grown black cherries in oak casks for 15 months. Cherry Adam and Matt both garner 100% scores on It is super smoky tasting with fruit filling in underneath. It is a sipper for sure. The cherry flavor is muted but lurking at the edges.

The next Freek is on March 23rd and it will be The Bruery night.

For the craft beer of the week, we travel to Mammoth Brewing
to sample their 395 IPA. Made with fresh hops, sage and juniper this DIPA (double IPA) comes across as more herbal than the usual tongue bruising hop bomb. The sage takes center stage with hop bitterness coming in second. The juniper takes some searching for, but it is there. 395 IPA is one of the best beers that I have had this year.

Your homework this week is to start your Best of 2011 list. Now that we are over two months into the craft beer year, I certainly hope that you have had some noteworthy beers. Well, by December, you may forget that saison that really struck you in March or that IPA with sage that was so exciting to drink. Why compile such a list? So that when you get asked the inevitable question: “What’s your favorite beer?” You will have a handy answer.

Find more of Sean Inman’s writing on his blog, Beer Search Party.


Sean Inman

Find more of Sean Inman’s writing on his blog, Beer Search Party.

Leave a Comment