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Wednesday, June 25, 2008

NYT Discovers Oregon Beer (and Alan Sprints)

I have spent a few posts deriding Eric Asimov's beer stories in the New York Times, so now let me praise the Gray Lady (if not Asimov). Today, Lucy Burningham exonerates the paper somewhat in an article about aging beers.

A growing number of Americans practice the art of beer cellaring. In Europe, laying down brews isn’t seen as innovative; many beer stores have sections devoted to vintage beers.

But in the United States, a country with a preference for lagers, which lose flavor over time, most beer drinkers assume fresher means better.

For the most part, they’re right. Most beers were made to be consumed as soon as possible.

But certain types develop desirable flavors over time, like those with a high alcohol content, bottle-conditioned beers with yeast in the bottle, barley wines, lambics, barrel-aged and sour beers and winter ales.

It's quite a nice article--informed and accurate--and as a bonus, one source she cites is Alan Sprints:

Historically, European brewers have been the ones intentionally making beers to be laid down. But increasingly, American craft brewers are doing the same.

Alan Sprints, owner of Hair of the Dog Brewing Company in Portland, Ore., says he opened the brewery 15 years ago to accomplish one specific goal: to create beers that improve with age.

Hair of the Dog’s first release, the Adam, remains a popular choice for cellaring. The next time Mr. Sprints sells an Adam from his first, and now dwindling, batch, he’ll ask $50 for one 12-ounce bottle.

Adam collectors can consult a vintage guide for the beer on the brewery’s web site, a new tool for the collector.

Go read the whole thing.

[Update: I see via the Brew Crew listserve that Lucy is a Portland writer. I think she ought to invite the NYT's Eric Asimov out to the Northwest for a beer tour.

Second Update: I corrected a pasting error mentioned in the first comment below. ]


  1. Not to nitpick, but you've quoted the same section of the article twice -- the second instance should be something about Alan Sprints. Thanks though; I will follow the link to read the whole article.

  2. Jeez, this is getting embarrassing. Please nitpick. This is terrible. I've corrected the text. One of those cut-and-paste-and-then-fail-to-read-your-post errors.