Monday, December 01, 2008

Microbrew Review of Thirsty Dog Brewing 12 Dogs of Christmas Ale

Microbrew Review of Thirsty Dog Brewing 12 Dogs of Christmas Ale

by Microbrew Review

As I mentioned the other day, from here on in for the next month or so I'm going to be sampling and focusing on microbrew and craft beer reviews of the Christmas Ale, Winter Warmer and winter-style ilk. Tonight's offering by Thirsty Dog Brewing Company falls perfectly in line with that theme, and I for one am glad that it does.

First of all, I dig the label on this 12 ounce chilled brown bottle. It's a little different but plain enough, cartoonish in a way but almost like an artist's rendering of what could have been a real actual photo of 12 dogs of all varieties decked out in their Christmas best on and around an old flatbed delivery pickup truck(I'm guessing an actual brewery-owned pickup used long ago for local beer deliveries...but I'm just guessing).

Here are the vital stats on this beer right from the label...
IBU's = 21.5
O.G. = 18.5 degrees Plato
8.3% alcohol by volume
12 fluid oz. bottle (355 mL)
Recommended best serving temp 43 - 49 degrees F.

Thirsty Dog Brewing 12 Dogs of Christmas Ale is a celebratory ale and pours into my pint glass as such. This ale pours fairly thick and rich and looks sticky as it cascades into my glass vessel. A crystal clear body boasts a beautiful ruby red/copper appearance graced with just enough carbonation activity to make it pretty. A creamy, butterscotch one finger head glazes the surface just for a few brief minutes and quickly subsides.

The aroma of this craft beer is of chocolately rich malt and very, very sweet. Figs and honey are present in the smell and those scents clog the nostrils along with that somewhat fiery alcoholic burn. A bit of clove hovers in the background but none of the cinnamon the bottle label proclaims.

Sipping down the first few swigs, I can't help but notice I may be drinking this beer just a bit too cold. While the label gives an actual ideal serving temp, I've not gone too technical with checking if this beer's got a fever yet but am guessing probably not, so I waited a while longer. It was just too cold to experience the full flavor.

So fifteen minutes go by and I try the Thirsty Dog Christmas Ale again. This time is better. Spilling the brew over my tongue, it's a little warmer and rich as heck. Sweet, sticky with some very nice nuances of that cinnamon (so boasted on the bottle label) but also with some creamy bakery flavors that go so nicely in beer this season of the year. Gingerbread and sugar cookies came to mind and a hint of cloves became more evident in the nose. While the alcohol was always present through sipping the entire glass, it was nothing more than a pleasant warming sensation and not the burn that was a bit more evident in the nose of this Christmas Ale.

One special point of note I'll make is that, while the beer had a reasonably respectable head of foam initially (that didn't last long), Thirsty Dog Brewing Company's 12 Dogs of Christmas Ale presented an intriguing set of legs down the side of my 16 ounce pint glass very reminiscent of a nice wine. Kind of unique and interesting and not something I often experience in my microbrew and craft beer reviews.

All in all, I really really like Thirsty Dog Brewing Company 12 Dogs of Christmas Ale. It's a well-put-together seasonal ale that, while not standing out as totally unique or extreme in any one area, it is an enjoyable and warming sipping style of beer that does bring to mind this wonderful Christmas season time of year. You could try this craft beer blindfolded in August and you'd definitely get the feeling that 12 Dogs of Christmas Ale is a winter/Christmastime style of beer.

I'll give Thirsty Dog Brewing Co 12 Dogs of Christmas Ale a 7.75 out of 10.00 points on my microbrew rating scale. It's definitely one I'd like to get my hands on a few more bottles of. With the 8.3% ABV though, don't get too carried away. Respect the beer and happy holidays!

P.S. Thirsty Dog Brewing Company cannot do too much wrong apparently. These folks from the Akron, Ohio-based microbrewery have never really disappointed me yet to date with their nicely crafted beers. I'm going to be on the lookout for more beers to try from Thirsty Dog Brewing and I recommend you should too if you see any of their ales locally. Cheers!

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Enjoy, and always remember to drink responsibly!

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