Malt Advocate magazine, Volume 5, Number 1, First quarter 1996 issue
Domestic Beer of the Year, Adambier, Batch #10
Perhaps the best kept secret in the microbrewery business. Let me say this right up front: like many great things in life, Adambier is not for everyone. It is a very rich, intensely flavored strong ale that was meant to be sipped and savored. Given this, Adambier is a very complex strong ale. It expresses a complexity approaching a well-matured Gale's Prize Old Ale, Thomas Hardy's Ale, or Courage Imperial Russian Stout.
Adambier is brewed by Hair of the Dog Brewing Co., Portland, OR, a small microbrewery "dedicated to providing the beer lover with new and unusual beer styles." It is a bottle-conditioned strong ale (10% alcohol by volume) that is top-fermented and cold-conditioned, and takes two months to make. The beer is bottled by batch, and the batch number is identified on the label. Each batch differs slightly in taste.
Adambier is at its best when served in a brandy snifter at cellar temperature. Under these conditions, its aroma is so full and complex, it is worth paying just for the smell. Molasses, chocolate, espresso, smoke, roasted nuts, black licorice, red and black currants, and pit fruits, are all woven together nicely. And the flavor delivers exactly what the aroma promises. All these components are wrapped up in a full, rich flavor that finished long and warming.
At about $60 for a case of 24, it's not a beer you'll be wanting to finish off in an afternoon while watching football. But, being bottle-conditioned and given its great potential for aging in the bottle, what's the rush?
American Strong Ales category
Hair of the Dog Adambier Batch #3
Evolutions of rich, complex flavors, and very unique. Garnet brown color. A very full-bodied, "take no prisoners" beer. Reckless and assertive some moments. Enjoyably complex and silky smooth at other times. Flavors continue to evolve thoughout the drinking experience. Rich "blackstrap" molasses flavors are joined by currants, licorice, espresso, pit fruits, and smoke. Very chewy and mouth-coating. A bottle-conditioned beer which will continue to evolve with time. Drink at cellar temperature, not cold. High $50s (Case price).