KNOWN FOR THEIR devastating B.O.R.I.S. and a full swathe of aggressive ales (not a one below 6% ABV), Ohio’s Hoppin’ Frog seems an unlikely source for a balanced pumpkin ale. In absolute terms Frog’s Hollow is far from equilibrium and at 8.4% neither is it tame. But compared to the excesses so common in the field it proved to be surprisingly level-headed.
Frog’s Hollow pours an earthy orange with a frothy eggshell head and full but not explosive carbonation. It’s a reassuringly natural look, more akin to Märzen or an amber ale than the alarming electric hues of many pumpkin brews. The aroma is also more grounded than most: spicy pumpkin (actual pumpkin, not extract), and then allspice and clove in relatively modest doses. On the palate those spices assert themselves more fully. The body seems rather light for its strength—partially due to the diffusive tang of the finish almost like champagne—and is estimated to be no more than 3.5 Plato. This contrast to the pumpkin sweetness is welcome, though conventional hops or other balancing elements are hardly to be found. Indeed, drinking an entire bomber of Frog’s Hollow (the brewery’s only bottle size) alone is a nonstarter, but shared between two it becomes a much more feasible—maybe even appealing—proposition.
Served: 22 oz bottle