10/29/22: Hoppin' Frog Brewery's Frog's Hollow Double Pumpkin Ale

11:38 AM

It is by the broad light of day that I type this missive. I woke this morning before the sun had risen bright in the east. From the seat of my porch did I watch it banish the long night I had weathered, the darkness shrinking to but spindly shadows reaching for the west in anticipation of the sun's departure from this land. The dark of night is not long banished.

We are now well within that time of year when those frightful wee hours are well populated by that which we cannot explain. Spectres of those time ago lost return for rites they never received. Beasts unnamed prowl through wood and field alike, seeking ever to satiate, in vain, their insatiable hunger.  The sky beneath pale moonlight is alight with echoing cackles and screeching bats. All Hallow's Eve draws nigh. I can no longer resist the nightly call of the beer that is Hoppin' Frog's Frog's Hollow.

The artisanal brewery from Akron, OH boasts that, for these last fourteen years, their wares have seen them declared amongst the world's one-hundred greatest breweries. This is true: As one can plainly see from their own description, Hoppin' Frog's brews (some more frightful than others) are distributed far across our globe, finding footholes within thirty-nine different countries.

One of their far-ranging elixirs is today's offering, whose plaintive cry of 8.6% ABV I fear I can no longer ignore. From the boiling kettles of Hoppin' Frog is Frog's Hollow summoned with the following incantation: "There's a place just south they call Frog's Hollow, with cauldrons afire in Fall, and they only speak in whispers of the name. There's a brewery they say who has the secret, of spices picked just right. With a crying shout, they'll knock it out, and hand you this Frog's delight."

An enticing aroma wafts from the open can before me, luring me closer to whatever doom it might bestow. I detect roasted pumpkin, a plethora of spices (those included in the ale's enchanting recipe are listed as ginger, cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg, and clove). The witches and warlocks of Akron have worked their dark brewer's magic on the haunted potion; despite the voluptuous alcohol content, the full strength of the substance is masked, lurking somewhere unseen beyond what I perceive.

Lo! As the encroaching winter darkness grows ever nearer to overwhelming the light with it's cold grasp, Henrietta the Horrid returns from her accursed slumber! Only this afternoon did she turn her nightmarish visage in my direction. Aghast and desperate to avert her attention, I performed the sole action I was able: I thrust my Frog's Hollow before me, seeking but a momentary distraction in which I could flee her presence. The can provided me with twelve whiffs of time, during which I made my harrowing escape.

Unable to any longer resist the can's call, I succumb, at long last, to the desire in which it has long held me inraptured: I take a pull of the liquid. Immediately, I find myself awash in pumpkin and brown sugar, spice and alcohol warmth. The drink is deceptively delicious. Only by exercising extreme caution am I able to resist the immense temptation to drain my can in a singular swallow, an act that may well leave me paralyzed by its welcoming flavor and, thus, easy prey for the likes of Henrietta the Horrid!

In stark contrast to the spell that is the ale's warm autumnal spice, it land on my tongue sharp and full of bite. There is a wonderful malice in the ale's body, a fire setting my mouth ablaze; an unexpected sensation this is only yet another of Frog's Hollow's many magickings.

Though I sit in the sun with this beer, I know soon night will fall once more. The warmth of the day will be swallowed by the all-encompassing gloom of night. The wind will howl, spirits will rise again, and horrible beasts will prowl unhindered. 

Somewhere in the night, a modern Ichabod Crane might flee from a ghost, hoping that by crossing some unassuming bridge, he might shake the restless soul pursuing him. Yet, that spirit is no Brom Bones in disguise. There will be no relief from the terror. Not even Frog's Hollow can save this lonely soul.

And so, gentle reader, I implore you: Carve your pumpkins with care. Should you butcher the task, perhaps the ghost of Stingy Jack himself will call upon your home, seeking some treat to avert his terrible trick. Would you give him a can of your Frog's Hollow Double Pumpkin Ale? I could not. I would be unable to part ways with this 10/10 solution from those noble Hoppin' Frog brewmasters. At Jack's whim would I solemnly receive what trick he might play. Beware!

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