Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Seasonal Beers Are No Longer Seasonal

This has been bugging me for a few years, so now that I have my very own beer blog, I'm going to write about it. Every year, pumpkin beers come out way too early. This year, and last year, I've spotted a few of them in early August. That picture of Smuttynose Pumpkin? I took that last week at a bodega near my house, where the beer had presumably already been for a day or two before I spotted it. Not a fancy specialty beer distributor, just a bodega — they also had it at my local grocery store. Then, tonight at Hop Devil Grill, I spotted a new pumpkin beer, Harpoon UFO Pumpkin. (See my review of that here.)

I'm not the only one annoyed by this. This year it seems to have become a bit of a thing with other beer bloggers. DrinkCraftBeer.com has an entry about it, and started up a whole Twitter campaign (if you're into that sort of thing). Brew York New York has stated that they won't post any information about pumpkin beers until September. Doubtless, after I write this post in my own blog, riots will ensue.

"What's the big deal?" you may wonder. "If you don't want pumpkin beers in early August, don't buy them yet. This is simply one ramification of supply-side economics and increased demand for pumpkin beers in the craft beer scene." It does seem odd that I should complain about one of my favorite styles of beer being available too soon. I spend the entire summer wishing for its quick demise, hoping for an early and extra-long fall. And I hoard certain pumpkin beers, like Southern Tier Pumking. I won't pretend like I care when that comes out, because I will be first in line to buy 50 crates of it, enough to last a decade long apocalypse of bunker-dwelling. Should you get in my way, or try to buy up Pumking before me, I will destroy you with the fury of one thousand bears.

But that's the problem: if pumpkin beer comes out too early — and not just too early, but entirely out of season — then there isn't any left by the time it's actually appropriate. Fall hits, and half the pumpkin beers are gone. Pumking, being the best, sells out within three weeks or so. A few mass-produced or obscure pumpkin beers maybe stick around until later in October. A few are still there for Halloween. But they're definitely all gone by Thanksgiving. And that sucks. I want my Thanksgiving with pumpkin beer, not just pumpkin pie, god dammit. I want pumpkin entering my face in every possible form that pumpkin can take.

So please, breweries. This problem isn't limited to pumpkin beers, but it's especially frustrating with pumpkin beers, which are especially seasonal and quite popular. Back in college, I remember seeing Sam Adam's seasonal beers months before their corresponding seasons — one year their spring seasonal started popping up in February, and even Young Derek knew enough to know that this was wrong, and silly. But beyond silly, it prevents us from buying pumpkin beer when we need it most. Fall is too brief as it is. Let's not waste the good parts when it's still 85 degrees outside.

1 comment:

  1. that smuttynose pumpkin is gross... but they were selling a 18 pack of it for 9.99 at key food during March. I'm not above old beer.


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