The Collage

5 Sep

Collage: Conflux series No. 1…A collaboration of Hair of the Dog and Deschutes

This a collaboration of my favorite large Oregon brewer, Deschutes (where the beer was brewed), and one of my favorite local breweries, Hair of the Dog. This is a review of a young beer, in fact the bottle clearly states best after 4/30/2013. I love aging beers so I bought two. Now, these 12oz beers did not come cheap at roughly $11.50 a pop. But this is also a big beer at 11.6% ABV. All there is to note from outside the bottle is Conflux No. 1 is a malt beverage aged in distilled spirit and wine oak barrels. Now I just have to let it warm a bit from fridge temperature before I get to tasting this beer.

The beer poured very softly, showing minimal carbonation, forming a thin head of relatively big bubbles that dissipated as fast as it appeared. The nose is all wood. From the nose, I would guess the distilled spirit barrel was a whiskey barrel. If I am wrong about the whiskey barrel, let me know. The first taste revealed the influence of the wine barrel, giving the beer a noticeable, but not over powering, sourness. The finish is slightly astringent and quite dry. It is notable that the 11.6% alcohol already plays little role in this young beer (although Miranda disagrees with with me somewhat on this point). And a young beer this is, where the dominant flavor comes from the aging vessel.

So, there you have it, I tasted a young, and expensive, beer so you don’t have too. If you picked up a bottle out of curiosity or sought it out, put the bottle up and store it until next year. Its best days are yet to come. I may need another bottle to see what it will be like in 2014.

Taking a step back from reviewing this beer, I hope this beer is a good ambassador for Hair of the Dog (HOTD). Blue Dot and Fred have long been on my favorite beer list and I send anyone visiting Portland and interested in good beer to the HOTD pub. Maybe now, with Deschutes distributing power behind it, people outside of Portland will taste this beer and seek out other HOTD beers.


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