Hair of the Dog Doggie Claws 2014: Brewed in Portland, Oregon by a brewery that introduced me to the wonderful world of Barleywine and Old Ales, this is a 2014 bottle of their Christmas release that is brewed to a strength of 11% abv. It was day 6 of my advent calendar exchange with my father, and is one I had my eyes on but never managed to get my paws on before.
Aroma and Appearance: It pours a cloudy mud brown colour with no bubbles, nor any noteworthy foam. The aroma is full of toffee, plums, prunes, molasses and dates with whiffs of cinnamon spice in the air.
Flavour: Doggie Claws starts out very malt forward with notes of ripe plums and prunes that dominate the front of the beer. It settles into a toffee malt middle that is entrenched in over-ripened fruits and figs, showcasing a surprisingly thin body and some honey sweetness before finishing with fruit leather and rich savoury dates on the aftertaste.
Overall Impression: I was missing the fuller body I’m used to with Barleywines, that texture likely would have put this in the very high rankings of my blog. However, it was still a very, very enjoyable Barleywine that shines as it nears room temperature and is worth a pick up.
Rating: Excellent at 8/10, I’ve heard really good things about other vintages so I’ll have to chase them down.
Food Pairing: A nice stinky cheese (see the pic from the brewery below) or quality bakery fruit cake would make for a fine pairing by the fire on a cold night, or warm summer night, or any night really!