For the last five years, much-decorated Belgian brewmaster Dirk Naudts, who develops beer recipes for brewers throughout Holland and Belgium, brings an American brewer over to his village, Lochristi, to collaborate. The chance to work with Naudts at his Na De Proef Brouwerij is much sought—beer writer Michael Jackson once described Naudts' ultrasophisticated brewhouse as "the ultimate toy for the aspiring homebrewer."
This year the honor goes to a Portlander, Alan Sprints from Hair of the Dog.
Sprints is the first Pacific Northwesterner to get the honor. Other brewers selected have come from San Diego's Lost Abbey, Michigan's Bellâs and Maine's Allagash.
SBS Imports founder Alan Shapiro says the beer will be a blend of quintessential Hair of the Dog Fredâa Strong Ale named in honor of local beer guru Fred Eckhardtânamed Flanders Fred, a reference to the Flanders Red beer style dubbed "Burgundies of Belgium."
Expect the result to pack a tart cherry sourness and bone-warming boozy heat. It'll be perfect for aging, too. Too bad we wonât get to try it until this summer, as Sprints wonât actually brew the batch of Fred in Belgium until March. The collaboration beer should first see release through the former Michael Jackson Rare Beer Club in June, with full U.S. release in July.
Luckily, the collaboration partnerâs home state always receives the largest allocation.
In other PDX beer news:
Black Dawn III
In sad news, Rogue's hop fields are floodedâ"DECLARED A DISASTER AREA," is how the New School Beer puts itâwhich sucks but is probably fixable.
Finally, the Beetje nanobrewery has officially sprouted into a full-fledged micro, The Commons. The new Tasting Room at 1810 SE 10th Ave, between Hawthorne and Division west of 11th, has had a soft opening, pouring eight beers.