Coming together over craft beer.
Last winter I remember a moment distinctly, where I was in a Hard Rock Cafe in Atlantic City for a conference, and during lunch I asked for a beer, and they had Sam Adams Alpine Spring on tap. I thought for sure it was a mistake or that the bartender was jerking my chain, but nope, Alpine Spring in February. I was bothered by this a little, mostly because it felt like it was rushing things, taking precious cool season time away from my treasured deep and dark seasonals. I knew it was only around the corner that I was not going to be able to escape the onslaught of shandys, fruit infused wheats, and pale as pale can be ales that dominate even the craft beer offerings in the hot Jersey summers. Now, however, I find my self hoping for the same thing in reverse.
I have been itching for a good selection of Stouts and Porters on draft. I mean, there is always a few, and a few good ones, but I can’t wait till beers like Lost Abbey’s The Angels Share and Goose Island BCS series start reappearing with regularity. But I don’t want to rush it, for some reason drinking a Pumking in August would just, I don’t know, not feel right.
If I could put forth a theory, I think what we are seeing is a natural progression in the craft beer market. Like the JC Penny and Sears Christmas catalogs when I was a kid. For the longest time they came out late October, some times even November, and then every year they started to come sooner and sooner. Why? Because more and more department stores began cropping up looking for a piece of the action, so they needed to get to the front of the line. I think we are seeing the same thing in craft beer. Larger breweries, who have the production capacity to get more varieties of beer to market at any given moment, are trying to beat the rush so to speak. And I don’t know if I can blame them. Business is business, and right now, the craft beer seasonal business is kinda like the wild west.
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