Flying Dog, U.S. – The Fear, 9% (£3.75, 355ml)
Bold, precise beers with an eye towards quality and impact, their attention-grabbing Gonzo aesthetic goes so far as to their amazing label designs, courtesy of the fabulous Ralph Steadman.
The Fear, the brewery’s pumpkin ale, is business as usual: explosive packaging, containing an exceptionally good pumpkin ale.
Where most pumpkin beers take the form of a golden or tawny bitter with a touch of spice, Flying Dog’s offering fits much more keenly within the Hallowe’en aesthetic: dark and brooding in the glass, with a boozy nose.
All-spice, nutmeg, toffee apples, and treacly tobacco ooze out of the glass from a dense butterscotch head.
Sweet throughout, yet remarkably light-bodied for a beer of such strength and complexity, initial flavours of bananas and walnuts make way for toffee apples and treacle.
Finishing with a dusty clove and cinnamon flourish that coats the tongue, The Fear leaves delightful alcohol warmth in its wake.
Not only have Flying Dog managed to make a unique pumpkin beer, they’ve united the flavours, scents, and sensations of autumn with every sip.
• Recommended by Michael Bates, Trembling Madness, 48 Stonegate, York, YO1 8AS