As the weather in the United States starts to—finally!—cool off, we started thinking again about how our beer drinking changes with the seasons. So this week, we asked the Fervent Few if there were beers that didn’t click for them until the seasons changed. More than that, what are the beers they just have to have in the warm and cool months?
Manny Gumina: “Autumn is probably my favorite season for beer drinking. I've never understood drinking ‘thirst quenching’ beer in the summer. There is nothing about beer that is necessarily thirst quenching to me. If I'm thirsty, I drink water. In the winter, boozy stuff is the go-to, but that doesn't make for sessionable days/evenings. Spring is blah in Wisconsin. After having my fill of Oktoberfest through September and early October, I picked up the Fall Pack from Sierra Nevada. It contains Ruthless Rye IPA, Torpedo Extra IPA, Vienna Lager, and Tumbler Autumn Brown Ale. My favorite was Tumbler. It was the perfect autumn beer while cleaning up from homebrewing in my garage last weekend.”
C. Sean West: “Starting around October, anything with rye in it will start to grab my attention.”
Kate Baker: “I’ve never truly subscribed to a certain beer for certain weather philosophy, but on the flip side, I lived in Rio de Janeiro for a summer, and the chances of my drinking anything but an ice cold Lager were next to nothing. For me personally, I want to drink what tastes good, really, no matter what the season is. At Olly Olly, some of the beers I enjoyed the most were the ones that were a little lighter in body, color, and strength—and we all know that weekend wasn’t exactly sunshine filled. But two of my favorite cold weather beer styles are Belgian Dark Strong Ales and Old Ales. I’ll take a Chimay Grand Reserve or a Great Divide Hibernation any day of the week. Something about those styles sings in the cold, but just feel too heavy when it’s warm out.”
Ryan Deyo: “We have two seasons in Texas, summer and winter. I learned about Lambic and other funky/acidic beers in the summer. The acid can really make a beer refreshing when it’s 110 outside. And yeah, Stout is fun to drink when it is 30 in January, but what really popped for me is a perfectly executed Pilsner or Helles in the winter. I may be in the minority here, but for me, winter is Lager weather.”
Jim Plachy: “The first Golden Ale I ever truly appreciated was while drinking on a balcony on a strangely warm April day. And, of course, at last year’s Olly Olly the weather was perfect for a few too many pours of Dogfish Head Oak-Aged Vanilla World-Wide Stout. I’ll definitely drink crisp Pilsners on a Winter day and a barrel-aged Stout on a Summer night, but every once in a while the weather and the beer do match up perfectly.”
Rob Steuart: “After a day of working outside in 35°C (95°F) temps, I can think of nothing better than Radlers. Any other time, not really a fan.”
Austin L. Ray: “I can drink a heavy-ass, barrel-aged Stout just about any time of year, but there’s something truly special about sipping on a snifter of the stuff when a) I’m sitting on my porch the night that the temperature in Georgia finally dips below 50 degrees for the the fall, and b) when it’s maybe even a little cooler than that out in the woods on the outskirts of Atlanta, and there’s a big, roaring fire in front of me. Come to think of it, I better go check the cellar. Those moments are coming up sooner than I realize.”