Thursday, January 15, 2015

Thirsty Dog Brewing Company

Photos by OHventures

529 Grant Street
Akron, OH 44311
(330) 252-BREW

I like dogs. I like beer. I like Ohio. Therefore, it makes perfect sense for me to like Ohio-made beer with a dog theme, right?

Enter Thirsty Dog Brewing Company. They've been concocting tasty beers since 1997. But only recently have they opened their very own Tasting Room, located right on site in the room next to where the stuff is brewed! It's in a nondescript building near downtown Akron and the University of Akron, with an entrance hidden away in an alley (come in groups, to be safe).

Inside, you'll immediately notice the alluring smell of freshly brewed hops as you make your way past the massive stainless steel vats and equipment. Be on the lookout for a beeping forklift driving throughout the warehouse, transporting hops to and fro. 

Turn to the right, and you've arrived at the tasting room - essentially a bar with high tops and every Thirsty Dog Brewing Company beer you can think of.

If you live in Ohio and pay attention to local craft beer even in the slightest, odds are you can name at least a couple of the Thirsty Dog varieties. Not only are the names super catchy and the labels really recognizable, the tastes are superb. In my opinion, they outshine other local favorites, including (dare I say?) Great Lakes (both are great, of course)

Most samples are just $1 a pop, so you can try out the flavors you might not be familiar with so you can find your favorites. Some specialty brews are $3 each (such as the sours, which are SUPER strong and, you guessed it, SUPER sour).
Here are some of my suggestions:
  • Labrador Lager: A classic. A staple. A safe bet. A winner.
  • Ol' Leghumper: Points for the crass name. More points for the chocolatey, toasty flavors.
  • Citra Dog: Hoppy + Citrusy = a perfect combo. Light & summery!
  • 12 Dogs Of Christmas: The best Christmas ale I've had (yes, I said it). And quite a strong one.
  • Barktoberfest: A great seasonal brew that will make you bark at the moon (not really I hope).
  • Raspberry Ale: No mistaking the raspberry-ness in this one! Try mixing w/ Leghumper for a chocolate covered raspberry delight!
  • Whippet Wheat: One of my all-time favorites. Goes down smooth. I can have a few of these.
  • Hoppus Maximus: You can deduce what this one will bring to the table based on the name.
  • Irish Setter Red: Another one of my top picks. Slight caramel undertones. 
  • Pumpkin Ale: I have not had this one personally, but no doubt it is delicious.
  • Cerberus: Named after the dog from hell, probably because it's 10% alc./vol.!
  • Ankle Biter: I love me a good IPA. And I own an "ankle biter" for a dog, so I enjoy this one.
  • Rail Dog: Lagers aren't my favorite, but this one is complex, smokey, strong, and unique.
  • Siberian Night: Bourbon barrel aged. Rich in flavor!
As you can see, there are plenty of tastes for every palate and every kind of beer drinker (if you have a friend who doesn't like beer, give them the raspberry ale or pumpkin ale, trust me). This list doesn;t even include all of your options.

A couple of pro-tips: prepare with a good base of food, since there are no menu options available at Thirsty Dog. Also, wear warm clothing in the winter, since it is a giant warehouse and it can get chilly inside. 

The bar is CASH ONLY (including the t-shirts and merchandise for sale) so, BRING CASH! Lastly, you can check out Aqueduct Brewing located within the same building on the other side (not affiliated with Thirsty Dog). Aqueduct is extremely new to the scene (opened in 2014) and still finding its way. But, I always encourage people to give local breweries a try!

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