Friday, July 27, 2012
Seasonal Beers, what?!
Dear Breweries of America, I have a modest proposal to make, let's get rid of the Seasonal Beer. Seasonal beers were once brewed for a reason, and these reasons no longer exist. Most of these "seasons" were set in Germany many many years ago. Well guess what, we don't live in Germany, and it's not many many years ago.
Two styles, that traditionally are brewed in season are Maibocks and Oktoberfests. First let's stop kidding ourselves, Oktoberfest isn't a style, Marzen is the style. The only reason we think of it as an Oktoberfest is because in 1553 Bavarian ruler Duke Albrect V forbid anyone from brewing in the Summer. The reason, because in the warm season ambient bacteria would infect the beers. See not an issue anymore, we can brew when ever we want, because we understand more about bacteria than they did in 1553 Germany. Of course none of this even mentions that in Germany now, only six breweries can brew Oktoberfestbiers. So when local breweries brew an Ale and slap an Octoberfest sticker on it, I can tell they really care about tradition and not money.
The second style that mentions a month is Maibock, yet another German beer. This one was brewed for those short German springs, which I am sure everyone in the world has. Really all this is, is a pale Bock. Since we have different springs everywhere there really is no reason to brew this just in May, but if you want make sure you take the more laborious way of making it, and don't half ass it for profits.
The third type of beer, not really a type of beer but more of a tradition, is brewing for seasons. Wheat or lighter beers for the summer, Heavy Stouts or Spiced beers for the winter, and so on. I also call for you to end this practice. Now I don't want you to just say hey, Russian Imperial Stouts for the summer, and Lighter beers in Winter, but let's stop with the rules. You can brew, and I ask you to, anything you want whenever. Something I always wonder, in Florida or Arizona, do they care about winter fashion at all. Why should it be if you live in warm weather year round, should you have to drink what people in the Northeast drink. Don't give me growing seasons either, we can grow any crop, basically year round. Why does 1/4 of the US determine what beers everyone in the country should drink? You don't see to much snow fall in San Francisco and LA, but no here you go, here is this delicious Winter Warmer with Cinnamon and Nutmeg.
This all being said, there is still tradition to be upheld, so if you want to brew a Maibock, or Marzen go ahead, but stop pretending you are the same as German brewers who brewed/brew these for a reason. Also brew it traditional, I know of several brewers that brew an Ale and call it an Octoberfest. You brew and package these beers this way to make money, and that's why I want you to end the marketing of seasonal beers.