It’s Fall and that means it is time to break out the new Autumn beers. What? Beer just for Fall, you ask? That’s right. One of the most popular craft beer trends is seasonal brews. For some reason, we have been lead to believe that certain beers taste better during certain times of the year. Each time a different season rolls around, craft beer lovers(like me) flock, like so many stumbling sheep, to the beer store to buy up whatever seasonal offerings grace the shelves. The only mystery is how the craft brewers decide what beer goes with each season and how they tricked us into believing them.
Since it’s Autumn, let’s start there. Obviously, Fall is Halloween time, so that means pumpkins and monsters. While I’ve never tasted a beer made from the latter, I definitely have had my share of pumpkin beers. They make “Harvest” beers and even goose-stepped right into mass production of Oktoberfest brews. While these beers are all tasty, I’m not sure they taste any better in November than they would in April.
Now, let’s move onto Winter. This season hits us hard with the thick, heavy, high alcohol brews. Who can complain about that? Those are basically dinner in a glass. Winter allows us to use the cold as an excuse to funnel such styles as Imperial Stouts and Winter Warmers down our throats. It’s cold out, lets warm up with this Bourbon Barrel Aged Imperial Chocolate Stout or… we could just put on a sweater. The sweater is faster, but where is the light headed feeling of enjoyment and an inflated sense of self-esteem that comes with large quantities of alcohol?! If it’s mid-August and I want a Winter Warmer, I’ll just crank up the AC and strip down to my skivvies. Although, that may be the reason I was offered a “work from home” position.
Spring gets the least amount of falderol when it comes to beer. You might find a few certain styles, like Saison or DIPA that claim they are meant for Spring, but that’s just a trick to get us to buy those beers and I fall for it every time. Spring means slightly warmer temperatures, birds singing, rain, and mud. If I want a beer that tastes like rain, mud and bird crap, I’ll just grab some vintage Meister Brau out of the dumpster, behind the drugstore.
Once we hit summer, the craft breweries have convinced us that we want light, crisp beers, like IPAs or Pilsners, that quench our thirst. I’m a beer lover and I will admit that there are not many things better than a cold beer on a hot day, but thirst quenching? I think not. There’s a reason spectators don’t hold mugs of lager out to passing marathon runners. Once again, I’m not sure the flavor of any of these beers changes from month to month.
Hey, if the brewers want to give me a reason to drink in celebration of the changing of the seasons, who am I to argue? Plus, the sale price of off-season beer makes me feel like I’m not putting every brewer’s kid through college, just the smart ones. I just wish I could get out a seasonal liver to help speed up the process.