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Des de Moor
Best beer and travel writing award 2015, 2011 -- British Guild of Beer Writers Awards
Accredited Beer Sommelier
Writer of "Probably the best book about beer in London" - Londonist
"A necessity if you're a beer geek travelling to London town" - Beer Advocate
"A joy to read" - Roger Protz
"Very authoritative" - Tim Webb.
"One of the top beer writers in the UK" - Mark Dredge.
"A beer guru" - Popbitch.
Des de Moor

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Deschutes/Hair of the Dog Conflux No 1 Collage

Deschutes / Hair of the Dog Conflux No 1 -- Collage

/ Conflux No 1 — Collage

ABV: 11.6%
Origin: Bend, Oregon, USA
Website: www.deschutesbrewery.com, www.hairofthedog.com

Two of the best known and highest achieving craft breweries in the general vicinity of Portland, Oregon, got together to produce this long anticipated collaboration beer. Over two years in the making, it became the first of the new Conflux series of collaborations overseen by Deschutes, now one of the US’s bigger craft breweries.

The Bend-based brewery’s bread and butter is the easy going pale ale Mirror Pond, one of the top ten best selling craft beers in the US, but it retains credibility among the cognoscenti with a highly rated range of specials, experimental and extreme beers. Among the most celebrated are The Dissident, a hyped-up take on a Flemish oud bruin infused with brettanomyces and matured in wine barrels, and The Stoic, a strong but conventionally fermented abbey-style beer with pomegranate that’s also barrel matured.

Hair of the Dog in Portland is smaller and more specialised, admired for strong and curious hybrids and obscure historical revivals created by brewer Alan Sprints, who founded the company in 1993. Alan’s first beer was Adam, a recreation of a defunct beer style from Dortmund rediscovered by local beer writer and historian Fred Eckhardt, whom Alan then honoured with a distinctive Belgian-inflected barley wine named Fred.

In Spring 2012, Alan got together with Deschutes founder Gary Fish to brew special batches of all four beers at the latter’s brewery in Bend. These were then aged for two years in a wide variety of different casks – refill rye whiskey, cognac, sherry, pinot noir, bourbon and new American and Oregon oak – to produce around 100 distinct beers which were then used to create a final blend. The limited edition of only 200 barrels (235hl) was released in May 2012.

I have to admit to a growing cynicism about well-publicised collaborations that seem designed primarily to push obsessive beer geeks’ buttons, but my admiration for both breweries overcame this when I saw the beer listed at upmarket San Francisco beer restaurant the Abbot’s Cellar in October. Unusually, the restaurant serves selected bottled beers by the glass in small , providing the opportunity for solo diners to try rare and strong stuff without the financial and hepatic challenge of buying a whole big bottle.

The beer poured a deep plum-brown colour with a light swirl of off-white head with a fine, light carbonation. An intense but refined aroma had black cherry and marzipan, with some wood and toffee notes.

The palate was delightfully smooth, rich and complex with dark chewy fruit, chocolate, wood, gravy and complex spice that reminded me of Zinfandel grapes. Wafts of alcoholic spirit, tantalisingly light sourness and funky brett flavours added to the mix.

A dark and sappy finish had plenty of fruit and moist tobacco tones, with spiced orange and more oaky wood. The beer earned its high price by sticking around for a long time, developing comforting alcoholic warmth without burning.

Overall, this distinguished and sophisticated beer more than lived up to its fanfare – a worthy demonstration of great brewers’ meeting of minds.

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