Hair of the Dog Brewing Company / Brewery and Tasting Room
Active Beers: 30
Beer Ratings: 7,900
Beer Avg: 4.07
Taps: 8 / Bottles: 15
Cask: N / Beer-to-Go: Y
Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 56 | Reviews: 42 | Show All Ratings:
Reviews by portlandjeff:
4.33/5 rDev -1.1%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 3.5 | $$$
When they were calling it the hair of the dog "tasting room", I had envisioned a little cramped corner of the new brewery with a couple seats and a few beers to try, but that turned out to be very wrong. The bar area is pretty large, with a long horseshoe shaped bar that accommodates about 20, along with a lot of table seating, and more bar type seating along the west wall. The place is an old converted industrial/warehouse type building about as close to the river as you can get on the east side. Located conveniently across from a bridge off-ramp, it has the advantage of no tall buildings across the street to block the view of the downtown skyline, which is a big plus; especially at night when you can see all the lights. While the bar is nicely done, and leaving a converted industrial place pretty intact often tends to work for some restaurants and bars, the rest of the interior seems a little unfinished. I hope that they'll spend a little time and money down the road to polish it up a bit. Still, it's a very comfortable place to hang out, and you're drinking HotD beers... what more do you need?
The quality is about as good as it gets. When you're in a bar where Adam and Fred on tap sound a little boring because of the other offerings, you know you're in a top notch place. The special stuff on tap I've tried since they've opened includes cherry adam, a few vintages of fred from the wood and doggie claws, 2009 jim, and little dog. Wow! The draft beers are definitely where the deals are. Even the best and rarest stuff is only $6.50 for a 12 ounce pour - about half the cost of buying it fresh in the bottle at a dock sale after waiting in line since 5 am... On top of the draft selection though, is the AMAZING collection of vintage bottles to try. 5 year verticals of doggie claws? Matt? 2005 rose cassis? michael? etc... yep!
Then there's the service. As far as I can tell, there only two employees working at Hair of the Dog besides Alan, and they're great. Wendy in particular is super friendly and helpful, and goes out of her way to make sure you're enjoying your visit. I'd give the place a 5+ on service if I was just rating their individual performance, but the truth is, when the place is full, two just isn't enough. I have to dock a point for not having enough staff for busy times. Even so, I've never really had terrible wait times or anything, it's just nice getting a little more attentiveness, which is especially lacking sometimes if there wasn't room for you at the bar.
The selection is great. Like I mentioned when I was talking about quality, there is a wide range of beers (and vintages of those beers) to try that just aren't available anywhere else.
The menu is always changing, but I'm liking the direction that it's been moving since its debut. I've only ever tried the adam braised smoked brisket, and I thought it was a great snack to pair with the bold hair of the dog beers, and a good value too at $6. When they first began serving food, a lot of the menu items were priced a bit higher than I would have liked for the venue (although they may have still been a great value for what you got), and I'm glad to see most everything now priced at under $10; with a good variety to boot. Besides, it leaves more drinking money, and that's the point, isn't it?
Value here is subjective. On tap, I feel like everything is a great deal, ESPECIALLY the rarer stuff. Like I said, I've waited in line for 5 hours to buy 12 oz bottles of some of this stuff at TWICE the price they're offering it on tap, and I guess that's the way it should be. The availability of some of the stuff they have only in bottles is fantastic, but here's where the value starts to seem questionable. On the same day, they let you choose between 12 ounces of cherry adam on tap for $6.50, or 12 ounces of the same vintage in a bottle for $12. Or how about $6.50 for 2007 doggie claws on tap, but $15 for a bottle? Then there's Matt, a FANTASTIC beer no doubt, but $25 for 12 ounces? There's how much you need to sell a beer for to make all the time and effort to make it worth while, and then there's how much you think you might be able to get someone to pay once in a while. I think a fair price is somewhere between the two, and some of these seem to be priced closer to the latter.
Atmosphere and some of the bottle prices aside; this is a great place, and it would certainly be in my top 5 recommendations for anyone coming to Portland for beer. Visitors from other big cities might even find the prices really appealing. I've lived and traveled all over and know what things cost other places, and HotD isn't out of line when you take that into account. It's just a little high for Portland. Still, these aren't just any beers, this isn't some big corporation, and you don't get to really experience this kind of pride, hands-on attitude, and impeccable quality just anywhere, and that's worth a lot.
10-19-2010 23:10:43 | More by portlandjeff
More User Reviews:
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Hair of the Dog Brewing Company / Brewery and Tasting Room in Portland, OR
96 out of 100 based on 56 user ratings.