Would you decorate your house and buy candy for Halloween in August?
This year the Autumnal Equinox (first day of fall) lands on Sunday, September 22nd, that is the official end of summer on the calendar, unfortunately in the beer world it’s not quite as clean cut as a date on the calendar. It’s August 22nd a full month before the end of summer but the fall seasonals have been on the shelves for weeks and I get it, it’s supply and demand, there are plenty of people out there champing at the bit for a pumpkin ale mid-summer which turns into a race to be the first brewery to roll out a pumpkin beer.
I’m not judging anyone; you want what you want, and all I’m saying is that sometimes it’s worth the wait. I really appreciate a well-crafted Oktoberfest but I can’t enjoy that beer when it’s 80 degrees out, I don’t often find myself wanting a pumpkin beer but I have been known to enjoy one after an afternoon of apple picking, which my family does in October.
So getting back to that first question, more likely than not you don’t, it’s too early. Pass up the Pumpkin ales and Oktoberfest’s until they are truly in season, enjoy those crisp, refreshing summer ales while they are on the shelf because in a few months you’ll be complaining about how much you miss summer. I am staying away from these beers until September 21st, the day that the Mayor of Munich taps the first beer barrel for Oktoberfest; this seems like the appropriate benchmark for the season.