Pumpkin Ale In August Is Stupid: Let's Take Back the Seasonal Beer

Categories: Beer, Beer UP

550pumpkinale.jpg
Sundermann
If you can't tell, that's Harpoon's Summer Ale directly next to UFO's Pumpkin Ale

The other day I found myself in the beer aisle of one of my favorite grocery stores. They have an awesome, awesome beer selection. (I recently discovered a 21st Amendment Monk's Blood, a beer I love but had never seen outside of a bar before). While deciding what to purchase, I did a double take. Rubbed my eyes. Narrowed my brow. Ran my hand through my hair. But no matter what I did, the six pack still sat there before me: A six pack of pumpkin ale. Yes, pumpkin ale. In fucking August.

I'm not going to be one of those snobs who's all like, "Blah blah flavored beer is stupid blah blah blah." I know that there are people out there who have major issues with pumpkin ales. Personally, I enjoy all sorts of craft brews, even ones infused with berries or chocolate or raisins (well, maybe not raisins). But I especially love seasonal brews. What better feeling than popping open a summer ale on the Fourth of July, taking a sip, and letting the sunny, light blend of hops treat your taste buds? Perhaps I'm romanticizing this, but so much of what we enjoy comes down to place and timing. Coffee tastes better when you're sitting in your underwear in the kitchen. Music sounds better when you're stoned. Sex feels better when you're in love.

So then could somebody please tell me what pleasure there is in drinking a pumpkin ale when it's 98 degrees outside? Pumpkin flavors are meant for the fall. When leaves are changing colors. When you have to wear last year's jacket. When there's a giant turkey on the table. Pumpkin ale cannot be enjoyed when it's too hot to wear pants.

On a more basic level, this beer is simply out of season. When do you go pick out a pumpkin from the pumpkin patch? Well, you do that in October. Why? Because that's when the pumpkins are ready! Sixpoint, a brewing company based in our fair city, wasn't afraid to share these facts with the rest of the world. A few weeks ago, they tweeted, "Any pumpkin beer on shelves now is clearly not made with this year's pumpkin. Pumpkins are not harvested until October or November."

Even if they are brewing with last year's pumpkins, I can understand where the brewers are coming from. They obviously want to make money. Pumpkin-infused things tend to be absolutely loved by consumers. (Just think about how crazy people go when Starbucks announces their Pumpkin Latte every year). But the problem is that if they're using last year's pumpkins, logic tells us that the beer's main ingredient is shit, right? And when I do eventually start drinking pumpkin ale in September, the last thing I want to drink is shit.

Fellow beerheads, it's up to us. If we stop buying these beers so freaking early, then they will stop selling them at the time of year when it's so hot that the asphalt melts your shoes. Take a stand with me. No matter how tempted you are, don't buy pumpkin ales until late September. We must take back the seasonal brew!

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andysrace
andysrace

I'm with you. I just saw three pumpkin brews at one of my favorite stops tonight. And, while I lingered for a moment, I opted to snag a few Summer brews, instead. Call me nostalgic, if you want (it never feels like Summer, once the school buses start slowing my morning commute), but I still think September is too early for a pumpkin pie - so much the more, for a pumpkin beer.

JoshS
JoshS

First off please don't call pumpkin beers shit while you consider Budweiser a good beer.  Pumpkins only take 100 days to grow and it is a warm weather vegetable that gets stored in the fall and winter for consumption http://urbanext.illinois.edu/veggies/pumpkin.cfm.  

 

Next craft breweries cannot keep up with the demand of pumpkin beers.  They only have the capacity to brew so much at a certain time.  They are brewing early this year so people can buy it now and drink whenever they want.  Go onto the Facebook page of most craft brewers.  You will see people begging for pumpkin beers to come out.  

 

Starbucks does not use fresh pumpkins either.  They use artificial flavorings in their syrup so please do not compare pumpkin beers to that.

 

Finally just like everything else seasonal items come out early.  Around Halloween we start seeing stores advertising for Christmas.  Christmas beers come out also in the Fall as well.  Drink a Southern Tier Pumpking, a Cigar City Gourd, Avery Rumpkin, and stay away from the Budweiser!

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