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Hair of the Dog Ruth

November 23rd, 2010 beckel

Today I have what is sure to be a solid beer from a very exciting brewery out of Portland, Oregon. Hair of the Dog was founded in November of 1993 and is one of the most under hyped breweries out there. Though the founder and brewer Alan Sprints recently expanded his operation a bit with a new tasting room and a few actual employees, Hair of the Dog has always been a one man show. One man with a serious passion for old, forgotten & unique styles of beer as well as barrel aging, quality ingredients and brewing history. All of his beers have simple names, often as a tribute to someone respected in the industry, or in this case his grandmother. While not all are available to the public Alan barrel ages almost all of his beers, for experimentation sake, which I highly respect. If that weren’t enough effort, Alan still brews very small batches with his 4 barrel system, producing about 120 Gallons at a time. Though not available in my market I have been lucky enough to sample a number of his brews and am very excited to sample this Pale Ale.

Pours a pale, light orange hue that is rather opaque. Head is minimal with about a half a finger of clean white, tight bubbles that fade with about 30 seconds, surprisingly leaving a hint of residual head around the rim of the glass. Smells nicely of citrus, reminding me of mandarin oranges, clean Pale Malt esters, gentle sweetness and soft bitterness. Flavor is malt forward with simple grain esters and nice sweetness, gentle orange, lemon and other citrus esters come from the Crystal Hops, as well as mild bitterness in the finish that lingers but isn’t overly intense. Body is rather light and the mouthfeel is gently carbonated and slightly creamy. Alcohol is barely noticed and at 5.6% ABV this is definitely a sessionable brew. Certainly the simplest brew from Hair of the Dog but none the less a beautifully clean, incredibly approachable Pale Ale. If you enjoy a well crafted ales and are looking for an easy drinker Ruth is a good choice. Those who enjoy subtle hops and quality malt will enjoy this very balanced Pale Ale. While not a good example of Alan’s creativity, this brew shows the importance of balance and traditional styles. If you are lucky enough to get your hands on anything from Hair of the Dog you will not be disappointed. Give it a shot and ride your bike.

Hair of the Dog Ruth