7/25/23: Christmas in July! (Hoppin' Frog Brewery's Frosted Frog Christmas Ale)

1:43 PM

Let's try something. If I were to ask you to close your eyes and picture a location that you associate with Christmas, what would you conjure? The North Pole and Santa's workshop? Bethlehem and a little manger? A farm with the perfect tree hidden, just waiting to adorn your living room? A crowded auditorium where you sit beside other people watching a children's pageant? A snow-covered countryside flying by the window as your parents drive you to your relatives' to celebrate the holiday with your extended family, Christmas songs coming through on the radio?

Did I guess it? Well, regardless, I'm willing to bet (unless you're part of a select group of folks), you didn't think of Akron, OH. And I get that. There was a time that I wouldn't've, either. The city makes one of my favorite Christmas beers (which, if you catch me on the right sort of day, I just might call my favorite beer), so the city actually crosses my mind whenever I think about Christmas. 

A can of Hoppin' Frog's Frosted Frog and a sign that reads "Santa stop here for John!"

Today, on this too-hot July day, I'm turning my attention another Christmas ale from the city, one I've never before tried: Hoppin' Frog's Frosted Frog Christmas Ale. Let's see if it'll become a new holiday classic.

Hoppin' Frog's been turning out beers that would go on to win awards since '06. They specialize in "...very flavorful beers in the most flavorful styles." I can anecdotally say that certain brewers in the greater Cincinnati area hold the brewery in esteem high enough to bring Hoppin' Frog beers to bottleshares.

Frosted Frog's an 8.6% ABV spiced brown ale whose flavor profile is claimed by its makers to capture the very essence of the holiday season.

The ale's bouquet does a pretty solid job of capturing the whole Christmas thing; I'm finding honey, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, molasses, allspice, and a little inexplicable hint of pine in my first waft. It's a heady nose, but not one that's overpowered by the ale's ABV--there's not really even enough of it here to bear mention, aside from contrasting it against lack of a boozy punch in the aroma.

Lottie (yes, she's still here and happy as ever) gave my can a whopping twenty-eight whiffs. That's my girl!

Puppy Lottie sniffing toward an open can of Frosted Frog.

Christmassy is just as apt descriptor of Frosted Frog's flavor profile as it is it's bouquet. All those notes I just mentioned? They're here, too. The standout is the molasses, which give the whole affair an almost cookie quality. That booziness is a tad more present here in the ale's flavor, standing in the finish with pine and molasses, warming me to my core.

The mouthfeel on this thing hits just as an ale should, yet--especially given the robustness of Frosted Frog's taste and aroma--it's thinner than I had initially expected. After grounding myself and remembering the beer's style, I have no complaints on this front.

You know, it's really something special that can make me feel like it's Christmas time in July. Sitting here and drinking this ale's really doing the trick. I feel like Michelle and I just finished trimming our tree and decorating our home, full of the holiday spirit.

Normally, after those activities, I like to relax on the couch with a certain other Akron Christmas beer and admire our handywork. Now, I'll have another NE Ohio beer to nurse on those special, once-a-year nights.

Hoppin' Frog's Frosted Frog is most definitely an Akron Christmas ale, and that is a compliment I don't lightly give. This is a 9.5/10 from me; just the thing to get me over the last lingering bit of the year until Christmas brews hit store shelves once more.

Well, the review proper's finished and you're still here. You are still here, right? Cool. I have a little bit of housekeeping to go over.

As you might have noticed, I've been pretty damn scarce the last few months. See, I have a special beer that I was going to drink to commemorate the release of the lastest Legend of Zelda game. However, I quickly realized that I'd much rather drink it to celebrate my finishing the title. And, since my free time is pretty slim ever since we brought our son home a year ago, that's taking a little longer than I expected.

I'd ideally like to get that post and one more up before Oktoberfest season hits the blog in September. Even if I haven't finished the game, I'll drink the beer and write about it for you by or on August 31st. If it takes that long, I won't get to that second beer until the new year. I hope it's worth the wait!

All this to say: Thanks for your patience and sticking around with me! I'll be much more active on here as the year comes to a close (Oktoberfest, Halloween, Maple Month, and Christmas'll all round out 2023). 

Until next time (and since it is July 25th), grab that final Christmas ale you've been sitting on out of your fridge, throw on your favorite Christmas album, and let the joys of the season wash over you.

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