What better way to celebrate the day best known for candy consumption than a teeth cleaning? That is how Baxter and his friend Boycat spent Halloween in preparation for Washington State's Thursday night meeting with Arizona State.
In case you've never taken your pet in for a teeth cleaning, it is an all-day affair. Dogs and cats don't exactly succumb to someone scraping and prodding in their mouth easily, so anesthesia is required. We dropped Baxter and Boycat off at 8:30 in the morning, then picked them up about 3:30. The drugs were still having a strong effect.
As you can see in the picture above, Baxter has been just sort of staring out into space for the past couple of hours. We opened up the sliding glass door and Boycat is staring mindlessly into the darkness, his pupils consuming the entirety of his usually stunning blue eyes.
Despite his drug-induced state, Baxter has persevered to bring his beer for the Arizona State game. He wanted to have something festive for Halloween, so he chose a pumpkin beer: Uinta Brewing Company's Punk'n (not to be confused with Dogfish Head Punkin).
Uinta is based in Salt Lake City, Utah and yes, they brew beers over 3.2 percent. The brewery describes Punk'n Ale as "Malt and hops accented with roasted pumpkin and spices of the season. A subtle hint of vanilla and honey."
The use of pumpkins in beers was actually prevalent in colonial times when the vast majority of malted grain was imported from England. When colonists no longer wanted to support that venture, they began using whatever they could find that had sugars to ferment into beer--including pumpkins, turnips and other root vegetables.
I learned this from one of the breweries I visited on a week-long trip with my dad to all the commercial beermakers in Vermont. That unnamed brewer personally did not like the special pumpkin and turnip based brew his recipe-maker had concocted, for what that is worth. Maybe it was the turnips, because pumpkin beers are quite popular.
Craig's review: I've enjoyed a lot of different pumpkin beers. I enjoy them during the fall (until wet hop harvest ales come out, then they are kicked aside). Uinta is certainly one of the best I've had.
The flavor starts with a subtle sweetness, followed by another subtle flavor of pumpkin and fall spices. There is a small hop finish to clean all that up.
This is an actual ale instead of the pumpkin "malt beverages" than some breweries put out. Those tend to be sweeter and taste more like pumpkin pie. Not terrible, but you'd be disappointed if you were looking for a beer when drinking those.
There are also the imperial pumpkins, like Pumking from Southern Tier. That is a fine beer, but I don't take kindly to it because of the heavy use of Magnum hops.
If you are out looking for a pumpkin beer, Uinta Punk'n is an excellent bet.
Baxter's review: Hey man, it's like, man. Oh man. Beer and stuff. Have you ever just stared at a light bulb? Not looked, but like, stared? I just did and man, I just don't know. What is it to be a dog? Have you ever noticed that dog is god backwards? Like, do bad spellers accidentally worship dogs? Man, that would be wild.
Well, Baxter is probably going to lay off the beer tonight. He is plenty buzzed enough for the time being. What will you be having this Halloween night, assuming you didn't enjoy an anesthesia cocktail this morning?