Pooch hooch

Share a pint with your pup

Miss Ellie Mae, beer taste-tester; photo: Dana Walczak

By Dana Walczak

When people ask me what my hobbies include, the first thing that pops into my mind is heading to the dog park with my hubby and my pup, followed by a trip to a local brewery for a patio session, with maybe a grocery trip thrown in. It sounds lame, I know. But the more time I get to spend with my dog, the better.

Just seeing her droopy face salivate at the prospect of going to “her store” or “the place that gives Ellie treats” is enough to make me want to patronize only dog-friendly businesses. Luckily for us, Dayton has a lot of them. But frequent brewery trips can get expensive. So when I heard that a number of companies were making treats out of the spent mash and grain from the beer brewing process as well as making dog beer from various bone broths, my interest was piqued.

Don’t get me wrong, I love going to breweries—and I will get to that later—but the prospect of sitting on my deck, sipping a beer while my dog licked up her own (i.e., not having to go anywhere or worry about anything) sounded quite appealing.

Unfortunately for us, there is currently no location in the Dayton area where you can pop in and grab a non-carbonated, non-alcoholic beer for your pup. However, there are locations like Lock 27 Brewery of Centerville where, if available, your pup will get a treat made from the leftovers of the last batch brewed (or at the very least, they will offer slices of cheese and a big bowl of water). Dayton Beer Company also recently hosted a Wagtown Pups on the Patio event. There is also a company just down I-75 called Brewhaus Dog Bones, which sources its grains for their treats from various Cincinnati breweries.

While we may have to travel a bit or order online, there are plenty of companies around Dayton that offer sustainable, earth-friendly products for our pets, and we should take advantage of that. Additionally, for all of the home-brewers out there, please don’t feel left out. You can take your spent grains and make your pup a treat, as well.

All it takes is:

6 cups spent grains

6 cups flour

1 1/2 cups peanut butter

3 eggs

1 banana, cut into small pieces and baked for 30 minutes at 350 degrees

(I also like to use locally sourced honey from my local farmers’ market.)

However, you should be careful to avoid grains that have had contact with hops, as hops can have toxic results in dogs.

There are also many websites you can visit online, including Amazon, where you can try brands like Bowser Beer and Bark Brew.

So I did. And we threw in DogWine’s Fetch MeNoir for good measure. It’s always good to have an outlier, right? After reading the suggested usage directions, we decided to start first with Bowser Beer.

Our taste-tester was our dog, Miss Ellie Mae. A Neapolitan Mastiff, whom we believe could possibly be related to this year’s World’s Ugliest Dog, Martha. In addition to the beers, I purchased two kinds of treats from Brew Buddies, Brew Sticks and dark beer treats. The main ingredients in are malted barley flour, chicken liver, and brewer’s rice, and the dark treats are shaped like beer bottles. She loved them. She even humored me and sat for photos, knowing full well those treats would soon be hers. Little did she know what we were setting up.

Snatching a glass bowl, we grabbed a bottle of Bowser beer from the six-pack and poured it for Ellie.

At first she was psyched, but then after tasting a decent amount of it, she decided she was done and wanted to go back to her treats. I have a feeling, however, that if it been colder than room temperature, she might have liked it more on a hot Dayton day. That being said, our cat loved the Bowser Beer. I think it’s his now.

For our next taste test, we decided to try our three remaining brands at the same time. DogWine’s FetchMe Noir and Bark Brew’s beef and chicken ales to see which was her favorite.

To our surprise, she chose the noir and threw a fit when she realized it was empty.

“Salmon oil and bacon extract?” my husband exclaims, “I probably would have drunk it too, if I knew what was in it.”

Out of all of the contenders, the Beef Ale was her second favorite as far as the liquids go. When it came to the treats, she listened better for the brew sticks, but enjoyed the dark beer treats better.

Returning to dog-friendly Dayton, readers should know that I hold these places in high regard.

Imagine a 115-pound puppy walking into your eatery during the brunch or lunch rush. She looks like a house hippo or a mini horse—and you are the person who is supposed to help deliver food and drinks to the people holding onto said hippo with a thin piece of leather. Never mind her size, if you’ve ever been around a puppy, you know that they aren’t easy.

So to Mack’s Tavern, Lilly’s Bistro, Lock 27, Archer’s Tavern, Crooked Handle Brewery, The Dayton Beer Company, Toxic Brew, Warped Wing, Eudora, and Star City Brewery, thank you for welcoming our pup and allowing us to see the smiles on most of your patrons’ faces when they met Ellie Mae. And a special thanks to Freddy’s in Centerville for the “Pup Cup” ice creams—many, many thanks to you. Your custard is her favorite. Perhaps you could collaborate on a dog-friendly ice cream with a local brewery?

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Reach DCP freelance writer Dana Walczak at DanaWalczak@DaytonCityPaper.com.

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