This blog has its downsides. One of the biggest is that I feel duty-bound to try new beers, which, since I don't actually drink a lot of beer, means I don't drink old beers as often as I'd like. However, prompted by my post on the forthcoming cherry Adam, I decided to eschew Raven Mad, Full Sail's new doppel, and the new batch of winter seasonals and instead grabbed an Adam. It's been a year or more since my last; far too long.
Adam is HotD's first beer. When it came off the line in August, 1994, they made their first buck by selling it to Fred Eckhardt. It was inspired by a now-defunct beer style of Dortmund that Eckhardt had spoken about. What the brewery produced is an impressionistic rendering of the style (adambier), but it's pure Hair of the Dog: very strong, hoppy, and richly-layered.
Hops are used to offset malt sweetness, but in Adam's case, a pronounced smokiness in the nose and palate aid the cause. Sally commented on the hop intensity, but I found it more serene--a burnishing of the plummy malt. I don't recall the smoke being this strong. In my memory, it's more plums and chocolate with just an undercurrent of smoke. HotD now uses all-organic malt, and this may be part of the explanation. The nature of the beer is unchanged, but the emphasis has shifted.
I have only recently put a few of these in the cellar, and I regret I didn't do it years ago. This is a beer with nearly infinite aging capacity. It's only getting more expensive, so maybe I'll go buy a few more bottles for future enjoyment.
Update. Oh, one other thing I forgot to mention. When you brew espresso, it produces a skiff of foam known as "crema" (or should, if it's brewed properly). It is a very dense foam, and beguiling to the eye of this caffeine addict. As I got further and further down my glass of Adam, I noticed that a dense foam clung to it, too, looking very much like the crema of brewed espresso. Remarkable durability, given the strength of the beer.
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