Seasonal Beer Creep: A Brief Rant

Its Halloween today! Guess what beers I’m seeing released in my twitter feeds and bottle shop emails?  Christmas Beer.  I began seeing them as early as two weeks ago as a matter of fact, when I saw a bottle of Port’s Santa’s Little Helper.  It’s a great beer to be sure, but I don’t want a beer named for the Holiday season before its even Halloween yet.  The day I saw it, I was still in short sleeves….In Illinois.  I can’t imagine seeing that beer if I was in a warmer southern state.

Yesterday I got notifications that my local bottle shop that they received Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale, Great Lakes Christmas Ale, Breckenridge’s Christmas Ale, Revolution Brewing’s Fistmas Ale, and a couple others.  I really enjoy these beers, but its just feeling like Fall out, I don’t want to drink something with Santa on it yet.  The other issue here, is if I don’t buy them now and keep them around, will there be any left come December when I really want to drink these beers?  Some of them will keep just fine till then, others may actually improve a bit, but what about hoppy Christmas beers?  If I buy a hoppy Christmas beer now and keep it till the Holidays, will the hop flavor lose something by the time the Holidays come?

This isn’t just the Holiday beers that have this issue, though this is the earliest I recall seeing them.  Fall beers were early this year too.  I remember a bottle shop getting Southern Tier Pumking in July!  Spring beers in late January!  It’s starting to get ridiculous how early these beers are coming out.  The problem here is, how do you combat this?  Not buy the beers?  Well, I certainly won’t do that since there are seasonal beers that are some of my favorites.  Wait to buy them?  What if I wait, and buy the time the proper season rolls around the beer I wanted is out of Stock?

I get why the breweries do this to an extent.  No one’s looking to buy a Christmas ale after Christmas, so they want to get their stock out there.  Oktoberfests in November may be a hard sell.  I just wish they could wait till mid November and let us finish our Fall stock before the new stuff comes rolling in.

And so ends my rant.  I don’t see this changing anytime soon.  The good thing about this whole thing however, and this brings me to the point of this blog, is being a homebrewer!  As a homebrewer, brew the beer to perfectly fit the season, and have it when the season arrives.  I plan to brew my black IPA Black December just so its ready to drink…..IN DECEMBER!

Happy Halloween to everyone, and enjoy your Pumpkin beers and Oktoberfests, because tomorrow I guess its time for Christmas beer!

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