Style: Strong Golden Ale
Brewery: Hair of the Dog (Portland, OR)
Availability: year round
Okay Belgium, let’s take a break and turn our taste buds to the Pacific Northwest, home of the adventurous brewers at Hair of the Dog. I mean, you have to like a brewery that is on a first name basis with their beers, right? This particular brew, Fred, was named after the breweries first patron; beer writer and historian Fred Eckhardt. Fred is a golden special ale which could be considered the baby brother of a barleywine with its paler color and slightly less assertive hop character. (note: this Fred was from batch 4)
Appearance: Fred pours a deep red with a slight cream head. The head dissipates quickly and leaves no lacing on the glass.
Smell: There are a lot of, well, golden notes on this one. Hints of straw and light caramel and even some apricot hints.
Taste: Surprisingly, the flavor is much more complex than the nose. There are notes of raisins and prunes as well as a nice woodsy hop character. Beneath it all is a layer of golden honey flavors.
Mouthfeel: Another thick and syrupy offering. The fine carbonation here leaves a bit of a tingle on the tongue and it finishes even but definitely not dry.
Drinkability: This is a pretty big beer despite the light color and softer malt flavors. As with all these rich flavored beers, Fred is not meant for a session so enjoy one and perhaps split a second with a friend.
Overall: A nice, unique take on the big beer category. I’d call this a fine barelywine if Hair of the Dog did not offer Doggie Claws, a bigger brew with even more malt and hops. This is a nice introduction into big beers that embraces their thick, rich character.
Brewing Notes: Fred was created to honor beer writer and historian Fred Eckhardt. This golden strong ale incorporates ten hop varieties from five different countries. Through the use of aromatic and rye malt, the beer achieves a unique balance of flavor. We hope that Fred will inspire you to share your knowledge with others as Fred has with us. Fred is 10% alcohol by volume. (source)