5 Beers That Inspired Hair of the Dog’s Adam

6 Degrees of Fermentation by | Sep 2015 | Issue #104

Illustration by Brett Affrunti

Adam | 10% ABV | 60 IBU

Hair of the Dog Brewing Company founder Alan Sprints reveals the sources of inspiration for Adam, an Old Ale brewed with Pacific Northwest hops and black, crystal, chocolate, peated, and organic Pilsner malts. Sprints also produces cherry and peach versions of the beer along with Adam From the Wood, a popular release that ages in bourbon barrels for three years.

From Sprints:

Adam was inspired by a mention in Michael Jackson’s Beer Companion about an Adambier from Dortmund, Germany. Mr. Jackson came across the beer in John Bickerdyke’s 19th century book The Curiosities of Ale and Beer. As a young brewer, I really wanted to recreate historic beer styles and this was a brew I first made for a homebrewers conference in 1992. The beer had been described in glowing terms, and since [there] wasn’t anything [like it] available at the time, it seemed like a great first beer for my new brewery.

As a young beer drinker I was not happy with the popular industrial lagers that most of my friends drank and turned to imported beers for my drinking pleasure. These are the five beers that led me to brewing strong ales.

Heineken Dark Lager
This was my everyday beer, the first keg of beer I ever bought at the tender age of 17. Easy drinking with a bit more flavor than domestic lager.

Theakston Old Peculier
This beer came in wide mouth bottles and was malty and rich. The style is Stock Ale, a sweet beer, showing me that you don’t need to be the same to be good.

Mönchshof Kloster Bockbier
A dark lager that was quite drinkable and thicker than my regular Heineken. Nice roast and chocolate flavors helped make this beer memorable.

Eldridge Pope Thomas Hardy’s Ale
Big and complex, some vintages are world class. This beer made a huge impression on me and continues to be my go-to when I want to show people what beer can be. I have been collecting this beer since 1989 and love the malty complexities and sense of history you get drinking [it].

Sierra Nevada
This brewery formed my understanding of what good domestic beer could be. I was lucky to attend one of Ken Grossman’s first Los Angeles tastings in 1979. He poured six or seven fresh and tasty beers that began the wheels turning for me. It would be almost 10 years before I moved to Portland and discovered that I could make decent beer at home, and a few more before I became a professional brewer. Looking back, it does seem that my path led me straight to Adam. 

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