Mrs V is a teacher, I may have mentioned that before, and her school is currently still on its winter break. As such, and because I am still looking for my next job, we are enjoying a rare opportunity to spend an extended period of time together without the intrusions of the real world. We are starting to make plans for our vegetable garden, talking about where to put the fruit trees and berry bushes, we pop out to the shops, or just lounge around watching films and junk on the tele - once she is back at school though, the TV gets replaced with listening to daytime radio, an infinitely less moronic choice over daytime TV.
Yesterday we headed into the nearest little town to us to mail some parcels and go get some groceries at our local Food Lion, having eaten through the inevitable leftovers of Christmas. As ever, I perused the beer aisle with my usual critical eye - which basically involves walking past all the 'domestic' beer ('domestic' in the US beer scene appears to mean anything made by a brewing conglomerate, you could say 'large and foreign owned' if you were a snarky git) to get to the 'beers I might be interested in drinking' section, even though there are another 27 days before I have a drink again.
In the coolers I saw a beer that to my mind had no place being there, at least not yet. Already, with the 12 days of Christmas still in full swing, were 6 packs and 12 packs of Samuel Adams' Spring seasonal lager, Alpine Spring. Now, don't get me wrong, I loved Alpine Spring when it first came out last year, as did Mrs V, but having your Spring seasonal in the shops on January 3rd is simply ridiculous. According to convention here in the US, Winter itself only began 2 weeks ago - convention here is that the equinoxes and solstices mark the beginning of seasons rather than the midpoint as in Britain. Spring doesn't begin until March 21st and yet already there are Spring beers in the shops?
You can argue until you are blue in the face about the need for retailers to have ever changing product to keep customers interested, or distributors wanting the seasonals ever earlier to get them on the shelves but to be perfectly blunt it often seems that the unseasonal seasonals are a rapacious attempt to fleece the consumer for money by using their desire for something new. Would it really harm business to hold off on the Spring beer until at least the beginning of March, at least then I could actually drink the beer in the appropriate season?
Photo credit: taken from the Samuel Adams website.