Thursday, August 16, 2012

Fall Forward

In typical beer fashion, the fall season is making an early appearance this year as fall seasonal beers have started showing up since at least Monday, and even earlier in some areas of town. Fall seasonal beers seem to elicit the loudest of the good old 'seasonal drift' debates, simply because there's something inherently absurd about drinking a beer with the word 'October' in its name while sitting in 100 degree August heat. Even breweries have gotten into the squabble this year, with breweries like Sixpoint calling out the early release of seasonal beers, and others, like Weyerbacher, defending it as a move based on demand and capacity. That damn Three Tier System!

Regardless of how you feel about autumn seasonal beers arriving so early (I personally don't mind, because I can't wait to gorge myself on unhealthy amounts of Schlafly Pumpkin Ale), they have started to become available, so here's a quick look at what is already out there and what you can expect to see.

Fall seasonal beers available right now include Avery Kaiser Imperial Oktoberfest, Free State Octoberfest, Sam Adams Octoberfest, Sam Adams Harvest Pumpkin Ale, Shipyard Pumpkinhead, and Summit Oktoberfest.

Southern Tier Pumking starts hitting shelves TODAY, so keep an eye out at the usual suspects (Lukas and Royal have both already announced that it's ready for purchase) to pick this one up. Anticipate it being limited, and remember that Southern Tier is only available on the Missouri side.

Schlafly Pumpkin Ale should begin showing up tomorrow on the Missouri side, and likely the middle of next week on the Kansas side.

Coming down the pipe, other notable beers you can expect to see a Southern Tier's Harvest Ale (think a kicked-up ESB), Bell's Octoberfest, O'Fallon Pumpkin and Hoppin' Frog Frog's Hollow Pumpkin Ale.

One fall seasonal that actually won't be released until September, that I am extremely excited about, is Ska's Autumnal Molé Stout. This beer is the first of their new canned seasonal line, and as the name suggests, will be a stout brewed with cocoa nibs, spices and peppers.

And of course, the one that everyone around here is surely wondering about, Boulevard Bob's 47 is expected to be landing around the 28th of August. AND, we may possibly be seeing Reverb, the new Smokestack series Imperial Pilsner, a week early on the 21st. Keep in mind that has not been 100% confirmed, but it's a possibility.

So, already, you have plenty of options for marzens, pumpkin ales, and other autumn-appropriate beers, with many more coming soon. With the ridiculous heat finally breaking a bit, maybe, at the very least, it will start to seem a little more weather-appropriate to start scooping up beers like these and enjoying them on a cooler night.

What do you think about fall beers starting to come out in August, and even July in some cases? Excusable because of the nature of the business, or is it just excuse?

Also, what are you looking forward to drinking the most this fall?


  1. Can't talk. Too depressed over BBQ on hiatus.

  2. It's kind of annoying. I'm not in the mood for it now. Summer isn't nearly over yet.

    Looks like I have to start grabbing Pumking now so that I'll have some available in late October when I'm actually in the mood for it. It's really the only pumpkin beer I enjoy.

    Thankfully SN Tumbler isn't out yet. There's not enough room in the basement.

  3. Flip I saw Tumbler at Lucas Liquor on the Kansas side today.

  4. Bell's Octoberfest is only in kegs this year, so I doubt the city sees much of it if any.

  5. The Flying Saucer has New Belgium's Red Hoptober on tap.

  6. I love them, cool nights, bonfires, pumpkin ales....

  7. I don't see a reason to complain about it. Summer Beers are still on the shelf. Fall beers will still be on the shelf in sep/oct. I can't pretend to know anything about how a brewery forecasts seasonals. I have to think that no brewery wants Summer beers to linger on the shelf in the fall and also doesn't want the shelf to be empty in that space for the sake of waiting for the Fall to get here.

  8. We all have to remember also that the real Oktoberfest in Munich actually happens mainly in September. This year it starts on Sept 22. So I dont think releasing an Oktoberfest at the end of August or beginning of September is really that far out of season.

    Of course there are lots of other harvest festivals that happen much later, but I don't really think of Maerzen as a harvest beer. It would be a delicious style to drink this weekend based on the weather forecast come to think of it...

  9. I'm looking forward to Bob's 47, and I'm getting into New Belgium's brews, so I'll pick up its seasonal as well.

    That said, I will wait until it is truly the season. When I read your post, I immediately thought of how Christmas has been pushed up to August these days. It's a disgrace.

    BTW, love the pic of the puking pumpkin. I will always chuckle at those photos. It's the one chain e-mail I look forward to every year.

  10. Waiting for Sierra Nevada Celebration ale.

  11. Haha Anon, talk about a beer wayyy too early - Celebration. I think fall beer shouldn't be available until the very end of August; if they are, I ignore them until then. I'm interested to see what New Belgium did to one of my favorites, Hoptober. I was really looking forward to that beer; I wasn't really hunting for Red Hoptober.

  12. Tried some schlafly pumpkin ale today. Holy shit. Its a spice bomb. 8% abv, loaded with flavors. Maly bomb, spice bomb, booze bomb. Just a bit much

  13. Really looking forward to Nutcracker Ale, you guys.