Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Season of Incongruity

The nights are drawing in, the leaves on the trees are turning their various shades of yellow, orange and brown, finally the fierce heat of summer is a distant memory and it rains pretty much every day, the delights of Autumn are here.

Hang on a minute! When I stand on my deck and survey the trees in my garden the leaves are still green, when I go for my lunchtime walk it is about 90°F, or 32°C for my metric friends, rain is something of a rarity at the moment. Autumn most definitely has not arrived, but in the minds of retailers it has.

Already this year's iteration of Samuel Adams Octoberfest is in the shops, as are innumerable pumpkin ale abominations (I am yet to have a pumpkin ale that didn't taste like wet cardboard). This despite the fact that according to the dictionary, Autumn runs from the September Equinox to the Winter Solstice in December, which means this year's Autumn is from September 22nd to December 21st. As such all these seasonals being  sold in the shops are at least 2 months ahead of the season they are intended to be enjoyed in, never mind the incongruity of drinking an Octoberfest in August (there might be a clue in the name, I am not sure).

This being out of step with the seasons is something I have noticed more this year than in previous years. Especially galling for me was loving Samuel Adams' Spring seasonal, Alpine Spring, and not being able to get it after March, just as Spring began.

I am not sure who is to blame for this silliness, whether it is pressure from the retailers for constantly changing product, the distributors for putting stuff in the market before it is due or the brewers for not having a calendar. Whoever is responsible for this needs to buck their ideas up, stop treating customers like impatient idiots and let us enjoy our beers in their rightful seasons.

I stole the picture above from my friend Hunter's Facebook account, he is also the president a new brewery coming to Charlottesville in the near future.


  1. It is the same with other merchandise. In Germany Christmas decorations often appear as early as October, Easter in February and last week when I went to a local supermarket (in Germany) there was a huge section devoted to obscure autumn decorations, such as plastic coloured leaves (no idea who buys this stuff).

  2. Silliness indeed.

  3. I've never understood why more breweries don't do a late summer seasonal. Sierra Nevada did their Southern Hemisphere Harvest which falls into that category. I get why breweries jump the gun with seasonals like Octoberfests, but talk about taking the fun out of it for the consumer.

  4. Well... if you follow our calendar, it is now Autumn so perfect timing.

    Winter - November, December, January. (Mí na Samhna, Mí na Nollag, Eanáir)
    Spring - February, March, April. (Feabhra, Márta, Aibreán)
    Summer - May, June, July. (Bealtaine, Meitheamh, Iúil)
    Autumn - August, September, October. (Lúnasa, Meán Fómhair, Deireadh Fómhair)

  5. It is interesting that the US and the UK/Ireland have different approaches to the seasons.

    Apparently, according to Mrs V, in the US the equinoxes and solstices mark the transition from one season to the next rather than the mid-point of seasons

    So while autumnal seasonals in August make sense (just) from a British and Irish perspective, from the US perspective there are still 7 weeks of summer left.

  6. They will get that 7 weeks of summer and from the looks of things, we never got ours. That said.... today is rather nice.


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