A Seasonal Beer Rant
The other day we were asked to map out a diagram of when different types of seasonal beers are released.We thought about it, and realized that this would be a complicated request to fulfill.With so many breweries doing their own thing, such as coming out with new beers around the clock and crafting seasonals that some would deem out of season, we knew we had a tough task on our hands.
We started to brainstorm some of our favorite breweries seasonal lineups, before quickly coming to the realization that there isnt really a standard for seasonal releases.At this moment, Bells Brewery has 12 seasonal beers that they bottle, 8 of which are released in October or later, 6 of which are released in the month of November.The exceptions are Hopslam (January), Consecrator Dopplebock (March), Oberon (April), and Octoberfest (September).
Like Bells Brewery, Three Floyds Brewery also has 12 seasonal beers.But instead of flooding the later/colder months with seasonal releases like Bells, Three Floyds releases a seasonal 22oz bomber every month of the year.But Three Floyds also has what we like to call semi-seasonal beers.Take Dreadnaught for example:this beer is brewed year round now, but Three Floyds will not brew a fresh batch of it unless they feel like the latter batch has made a complete exodus from all retail shelves.
After coming to the conclusion of something most of us know all to well, that powerhouse craft breweries such as Bells and Three Floyds are not normal and do things their own way, we tried to think of a more traditional brewery; one that only has seasonal for each of the four seasons.Breckenridge came to mind, with Pandoras Bock for spring, Summerbright Ale for summer, Autumn Ale for fall, and Christmas Ale for the winter.But shortly after we had our seasonal conversation, Breckenridge released three brand new beers into their small batch series, which many would deem as seasonal beers.Well, so much for tradition. It looks as if even some of the more conventional breweries are drifting from the seasonal norm.
While we could map out traditional seasonals, such as bocks for the spring, wheat beers for the summer, Oktoberfest beers for the fall, and Christmas ales for the winter, we didnt think this would be correct because of the evaporating number of breweries who still follow this practice.Take fall for example:we have the Oktoberfest beers as the most popular style, but who can forget about pumpkin beers and fall harvest ales?
What is the point we are trying to make?We are unsure, but we did realize that habitual brewing traditions are evaporating about as fast as a fresh Alpha King set in front of me.We know that this is a good thing, because most breweries are still brewing customary beers in addition to all the new and superb beers.They are putting in the hard work and effort of crafting exceptional and cutting edge beers, while we as the consumer reap the benefits.Is there a brewery who you think is the model of seasonal beers?Do you have a favorite brewing season or seasonal beer style?