If you can’t tell, that’s Harpoon’s Summer Ale directly next to UFO’s Pumpkin Ale
The other day I found myself in the beer aisle of one of my favorite grocery stores. They have an awesome, awesome beer selection. (I recently discovered a 21st Amendment Monk’s Blood, a beer I love but had never seen outside of a bar before). While deciding what to purchase, I did a double take. Rubbed my eyes. Narrowed my brow. Ran my hand through my hair. But no matter what I did, the six pack still sat there before me: A six pack of pumpkin ale. Yes, pumpkin ale. In fucking August.
I’m not going to be one of those snobs who’s all like, “Blah blah flavored beer is stupid blah blah blah.” I know that there are people out there who have major issues with pumpkin ales. Personally, I enjoy all sorts of craft brews, even ones infused with berries or chocolate or raisins (well, maybe not raisins). But I especially love seasonal brews. What better feeling than popping open a summer ale on the Fourth of July, taking a sip, and letting the sunny, light blend of hops treat your taste buds? Perhaps I’m romanticizing this, but so much of what we enjoy comes down to place and timing. Coffee tastes better when you’re sitting in your underwear in the kitchen. Music sounds better when you’re stoned. Sex feels better when you’re in love.
So then could somebody please tell me what pleasure there is in drinking a pumpkin ale when it’s 98 degrees outside? Pumpkin flavors are meant for the fall. When leaves are changing colors. When you have to wear last year’s jacket. When there’s a giant turkey on the table. Pumpkin ale cannot be enjoyed when it’s too hot to wear pants.
On a more basic level, this beer is simply out of season. When do you go pick out a pumpkin from the pumpkin patch? Well, you do that in October. Why? Because that’s when the pumpkins are ready! Sixpoint, a brewing company based in our fair city, wasn’t afraid to share these facts with the rest of the world. A few weeks ago, they tweeted, “Any pumpkin beer on shelves now is clearly not made with this year’s pumpkin. Pumpkins are not harvested until October or November.”
Even if they are brewing with last year’s pumpkins, I can understand where the brewers are coming from. They obviously want to make money. Pumpkin-infused things tend to be absolutely loved by consumers. (Just think about how crazy people go when Starbucks announces their Pumpkin Latte every year). But the problem is that if they’re using last year’s pumpkins, logic tells us that the beer’s main ingredient is shit, right? And when I do eventually start drinking pumpkin ale in September, the last thing I want to drink is shit.
Fellow beerheads, it’s up to us. If we stop buying these beers so freaking early, then they will stop selling them at the time of year when it’s so hot that the asphalt melts your shoes. Take a stand with me. No matter how tempted you are, don’t buy pumpkin ales until late September. We must take back the seasonal brew!