As we hit mid-February, we’re almost finished with my favorite time of year. Fall/winter is where it’s at for me. Spring and summer usher in unbearable heat waves, reruns, and no decent sports on TV. In the fall, however, you’re greeted with optimal grilling conditions, the return of football, and the most important thing of all: good beer.
Nothing screams fall quite like bringing home a case of Octoberfest from your favorite brewer (I’m partial to the Sam Adams and Shiner varieties). These pumpkin-spiced “harvest beers” usher in the cooler temperatures with their rich, nuanced flavors and fall foliage-adorned labels. Then, as you move more into the throes of winter, you’re treated to all varieties of dark spiced lagers, porters, and ales, culminating with my favorite, Shiner Cheer. It doesn’t get much better than sipping on one of those peach-flavored beauties next to a hot fire on a cold night. It’s flat-out magical.
But something awful happens as you move toward spring. Everyone starts getting lazy with their seasonal brews. The delicious beers of fall and winter are replaced with generic citrus-flavored unfiltered wheats and ultra hoppy beers. Beers that already exist by the dozens year-round. Beers that bore and annoy more than they delight and inebriate.
Imagine this scenario: you’re in the dog days of summer and it’s too hot to go outside, there’s nothing worth a damn on TV, and heading down to your local liquor stood for some liquid refreshment is just about the only thing you have. When you get there, you’re greeted by an army of Blue Moon clones and pilsners that are almost too hoppy to drink.
We’ve all been there. You pace around for a few minutes, trying to find something just right, then finally settle on a sixer of *insert light beer here*. It’s like going out to the big party hoping to bring the hottest girl home with you, and finding out she’s not even there. Just so the night isn’t a total waste, you end up making out with one of her homely (but she has a wonderful personality!) friends and playing it off like you don’t even care.
Those parties are right around the corner. Even as you read this, spring brews are already making their way onto the shelves, replacing what’s left of their cold-weather cousins. Get out there and enjoy what’s left of those wonderful winter treats. Before you know it, the weather will start getting warmer, the flowers will start blooming, and the beer will start sucking.