The Best*: Great Notion and Hair of the Dog

Great Notion's Obscurial IPA in glass on table.

At Great Notion I started with the Obscurial IPA. It’s an imperial, which I don’t mind, but it’s a hazy, and every other beer on the menu says if they are hazy. So some consistency would be nice.

The nose has an orange candy scent, so I’m expecting juice box.

I am pleasantly disappointed. Don’t get me wrong; the beer IS sweet, but they remembered the utility of finishing hops! It comes across far more balanced. My friend says it’s pretty mellow & we agree the finishing bitterness reigns it all in.

My friend got the Northern Light which is supposed to be a Helles but is waaaaay to hoppy for me to grok. It might not be bad, but I don’t know that it is what it says it is from the brief description on the board.

Next up, the Obligations of Autumn stout. Now, I’m expecting there to be pumpkin so…here we go.

And there is just too goddamn much going on here. Cinnamon, vanilla, ginger-any one of these flavors would be enough, but that with clove, nutmeg and coffee too? This is a mishmash and I can’t enjoy it.

My friend got the Horchata ale and it’s got a fine cream brûlée flavor. I’m glad the pour is a short one (10.5 oz) because I cannot imagine having a pint of this, though. Heck, finishing this small amount might be too much.

There is a reason why beer snobs look at Great Notion with a touch of disdain. The beers are always on the sweet side and that rarely seems tasty to a aficionado. But for someone who isn’t immersed, this might just be the thing they need to see that beer has a lot more personality than they knew.

At Hair of the Dog, I’m having the Green Dot triple IPA because the Blue Dot is responsible for the worst hangover I’ve had in my life. The nose is giving me orange and caramel, which I do not object to at all!

Green Dot IIIPA by Hair of the Dog in glass on table indoors.

The bitterness on the Green Dot is a slow burn, coming in late, and lingering. But it does help tie the beer together, because the front end is rather sweet.

My friend has The Hague, a dopplebock and it’s got a little hint of smoke to it. An interesting and enjoyable ale. I’m a bit more impressed than I thought I would be, but maybe that’s because Hair of the Dog is practically an institution here and expected to be decent.

But that expectation is well deserved, ‘cause it’s good stuff.

I had the Fred ale next, an American strong, because it’s arguably their flagship beer. It’s a nice beer but it feels a little under-carbonated. This isn’t a heavy beer, but I think I’d appreciate it a little more if it felt a little lighter on my tongue.

That said, it’s got those roasted caramel notes and isn’t overly sweet. About halfway through, I even get a little alcohol warmth in the back of my throat. Glad I tried it.

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