College football Saturday: Baxter's beer of the bye week is Baxter

Baxter's beer is Baxter.

Baxter has a beer named Baxter this week. Really!

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It's been an interesting bye week for Baxter. Things didn't start off well, as he's been struggling with an allergic reaction to living in the country for the first time since he was with his mother. This is not a joke.

We took Baxter to the vet because he was relentlessly licking all four of his paws. Turns out Baxter s allergic to something outside.

When we first got Baxter, we lived on Capitol Hill in Seattle. Most of his walks were on cement, with occasional trips to dog parks. After that, we moved to Nashville for more of the same. When moving to Vermont we moved to the only urban center, Burlington, and lived right downtown. Baxter spent plenty of time in the park, but that was about it.

Now we live in Stowe, but not in the middle of town. Baxter is free to roam outside on grass, dirt and through all sorts of weeds and bushes. Apparently his city-dog feet can't handle something, and he had a reaction. For the last week, he's been on a regiment of antibiotics and Benadryl, known to him as "things inside peanut butter or lunchmeat."

To make Baxter feel better, I decided to pick him up a very special beer. Last weekend, the girlfriend and I visited some friends in Boston. I knew Baxter Brewing Company out of Lewiston, Maine distributed to the area, so I was on a mission to find some.

It didn't take long, as I located the Craft Beer Cellar, which is a local chain that features a wealth of delicious beverages. Among those was Baxter Hayride Autumn Ale, and that is what I brought home for Bax to try.

Hayride isn't your typical Fall beer. It's not a pumpkin ale or oktoberfest or even a fresh hop ale. It's a rye-based ale with spices and New Zealand hops. The result is a complex, enjoyable beverage that is along the lines of what you may expect from a winter warmer. But really, Autumn in Maine is similar to winter in many other places.

Craig's Review: I didn't really know what to expect from this beer. It has a lot going on in the description: rye malt, black pepper, ginger, orange peel and multiple New Zealand hop varieties.

Turns out, Baxter Brewing did an excellent job of bringing all those flavors together. The beer pours a reddish amber color and smells of spice (rye is a spicy malt and the pepper enhances that) with a balance of tropical fruits from the hops.

The flavor is more of the same. The first sip is a subtle sweetness followed by a nice spicy kick (not spicy like hot, but just "bold). After that, the hops kick in to give it a surprising bitterness (in a good way) and some citrus flavors.

I picked up a six-pack of this beer, and I'm glad I did. Hayride Autumn Ale will be a delicious accompaniment to a day of watching college football.

Baxter's review: The beer was good, but the name is great! My feet have been annoying me lately, but whenever Craig gives me peanut butter they stop itching. I knew peanut butter tasted good, but who knew it was such a good medicine as well? Anyway, the peanut butter makes my mouth all sticky and the Baxter Beer (I love saying that!) washes it down nicely.

So Baxter and I will be enjoying Baxter Beer as we spend this cold, drizzly Northeastern day on the couch. What will you be having?

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