10/6/21: Thirsty Dog Brewing Company's Pumpkin Ale

5:18 PM

I've been on the hunt for today's beer for years. Thirsty Dog makes some of my all-time favorite seasonal brews (their 12 Dogs of Christmas isn't only my favorite Christmas beer, it's a contender for my favorite beer--I'd never be able to choose just one, though). So, some September awhile back when I learned that they did a pumpkin beer, I searched high and low for it, but never saw that it was distributed in my area on their beer finder nor spotted it on any local shelves.

This became an annual ritual for a good four years. The pumpkin ale season would roll around and I'd scour the market for a bottle of Thirsty Dog's version. I'd come up empty-handed each and every time.

Luck's smiling on me this year, though, because I finally found some. A bottleshop I follow on Instagram posted a photo of it and I jetted over to them to nab a share before it sold out. So, we've come to it now, in October 2021: Thirsty Dog's Pumpkin Ale.

Thirsty Dog is, for the uninitiated, headquartered in Akron, OH. Their beers, which crafted in small batches, feature flavors and profiles that are created from carefully selected ingredients. Here's the brewery's "About Our Beers" page fuller details.

Pumpkin Ale's official page can be found here. It's a 5.2% ABV offering brewed with pumpkin, squash, clove, ginger, and honey and is only available through the end of November.

A waft from my bottle begets pumpkin, honey, and clove. A return visit to the bouquet sees a touch of ginger added to that list. But, really, the pumpkin's the star of the show that's this ale, as it should be. Gourdy, vegetabley, heady. Purll gave my bottle three lazy whiffs--I guess pumpkin-forward beer isn't really her thing. Or it could just be she doesn't appreciate the whole "Dog" part of Thirsty Dog.

My first pull gives me pumpkin and ginger, with a subtle honey warm dancing around in the finish with the clove before the ginger reappears with the pumpkin; the swig has a circular ending. My second is much the same, with just a touch of honey spiking the first note of pumpkin before surrendering to the ginger. That's the routine Pumpkin Ale settles into nicely. One constant through each swig is the reverence given to the gourd.

The ale's incredibly smooth. Seriously, I'd  forgotten an ale could be this smooth and full-bodied.

Michelle and I carve pumpkins every year--we have since we first starting dating a decade ago. It's a much-loved tradition for us (as it is for most people who celebrate Halloween). We used to put on a scary movie while we whittled away our grouds' flesh. Nowadays, we just put on either spooky music or a hokey Halloween special.

It's nearly time for us to break our carving knives back out for the season. The goal for this year is to make it to an actual pumpkin patch instead of simply choosing our pumpkins out of a box at the grocery store. I hope I can track down more Pumpkin Ale for the occasion.

Thirsty Dog's Pumpkin Ale was well worth the hunt. I've had plenty of pumpkin beers over the years, and it's a rare occurance to find one that leans so heavily into the pumpkin. It makes for a special occurrence when I drink one such ale. That's what Pumpkin Ale is: Fantastic, and a hearty 9.5/10. If you're worried that now I won't have anything to hunt for during Spooky Finger Puppet Ghost Month, let me put your mind at ease;Thirsty Dog also brews a Barrel Aged Imperial Pumpkin Ale. That's what I'm gunning for next.

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