I was thinking earlier today about waving so-long to Halloween in the rear-view mirror, and it made me a bit sad. Nothing serious, mind you. I’m not talking about call your bff and break out the Haagen-Dazs and spoons sad, the more dysfunctional I need some singles for a girl named Sparkles upset, or even the I need a strong beer and a Julie Roberts movie kind of melancholy. Truly, it wasn’t so bad. And obviously, I like me some Halloween; I’m always glad to see it on the calendar. But to me, Halloween marks the end of the most pleasant parts of autumn and the start down that long, chilly road of winter.
Yes, I do realize that fall doesn’t officially end until just a few days before Christmas. And, yes, obviously I can see that wonderful turkey icon marked so proudly on November 25th. So, clearly, there are still good times to be had this autumn. In fact, there’s going to be enough turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, autumn veggies, pumpkin pie and tasty well-made beer around my house that day to make The Voice, Jabba the Hutt, the Oompa Loompas, and that guy from Man vs Food full and contented.
Still, the end is upon us. But I’m not really just talking about fall and winter. I’m talking about seasonal beers.
It didn’t really hit me until I saw a box of Sam Adams Winter Lager at the grocery store earlier, nestled snuggly into the space previously occupied by my beloved Sam Adams Octoberfest. Sam’s Octoberfest is, without exception, my favorite of the beers brewed by the Boston Beer Company. And the same is typically true of nearly every brewery’s autumn/harvest offerings. I love the rich, deep, malty flavors that come with that first hint of chill in the air. Heck, I’d steal a Goose Island Harvest Ale from child if he had one and I didn’t. The argument that the kid probably shouldn’t be wandering around with a beer in hand would only be a secondary motivation for me.
Don’t get me wrong, I love the winter seasonal beers too. The Great Lakes Christmas Ale makes me weep with its goodness, as do many other spicy warmer-style beers. But I don’t want a winter beer in early November. With two weeks to Thanksgiving, some trees are still clinging desperately to fire-colored leaves and, frankly, I’m not deep-down cold enough to need an internal warm-up.
I get that retail stores need to milk the Christmas spending boom for whatever they can, especially in the midst of economic times like these. So, no, it doesn’t surprise me that K-Mart’s Trim-a-Home area always looks like a Chinese tinsel factory exploded the second that last piece of trick-or-treat candy hits a plastic jack-o-lantern bucket. But brewers, please, we have a better relationship than that. I’m going to buy plenty of your winter beer, and I’m not going to stop after Christmas. Or even New Year’s, although I suppose there is always the annual drying-out of the liver on January 1st and 2nd to consider. Regardless, the thing is that I’m going to want those winter warmers in winter, you know, when it’s cold and I need warming. It’s still autumn out there last I checked. So, can I please still have a harvest beer or two?
Don’t make me live February before it’s time. Nobody needs too much February.
Why do you think it’s only 28 days long?