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Beer and Seasons

Winter, Spring, Summer or Fall- beer drinking occurs all year round!

Most of us around the country experience 4 seasons or at least some variation. I love the change in seasons and the beers that make you appreciate the good things about each one.

Summer: is a season full of sunshine, heat, the beach and being outside. When it comes to a beer, you need something to quench your thirst, cool you down and evoke some flavor. Here, I would go with an IPA, a single, maybe a double. An IPA is appropriately served at a chilled temperature, provides some festive flavors and is a drink you can sit back and relax with, in the sand, outside at a bar or on a roof.

Suggestions: 21st Amendment Live Free or Die IPA; Boundary Bay IPA

Fall: a transitional season as we gear up for the winter months, is a personal favorite. Here in Seattle, fall generally brings warm days and crisp nights. September marks the season of Pumpkin picking, apple cider, foliage, Halloween and thoughts of Thanksgiving. Not to mention pumpkin beers. Pale Ales, IPAs, Stouts filled with unusual spices and pumpkin is something I treasure every year. As my palette develops, I have come to love that extra spice in a beer, be it black pepper, ginger, nutmeg or cinnamon.

A quote from Beeradvocate.com about pumpkin ales,

Often released as a fall seasonal, Pumpkin Ales are quite varied. Some brewers opt to add hand-cut pumpkins and drop them in the mash, while others use puree or pumpkin flavoring. These beers also tend to be spiced with pumpkin pie spices, like: ground ginger, nutmeg, cloves, cinnamon, and allspice. Pumpkin Ales are typically mild, with little to no bitterness, a malty backbone, with some spice often taking the lead. Many will contain a starchy, slightly thick-ish, mouthfeel too. In our opinion, best versions use real pumpkin, while roasting the pumpkin can also add tremendous depth of character for even better results, though both methods are time-consuming and tend to drive brewmasters insane.

Suggestions: Dogfish Head Punkin Ale; Southern Tier Brewing Pumking

Winter: for most is a daunting, treacherous, long haul of a season with the exception of the Christmas holiday. This winter season, curl up on the couch in a flannel blanket, light your fire, be with friends and family and drink some damn good beer. When I think of winter, I think of lots of rich colors, flavors, smells and sounds. It’s pretty much a sensory overload- you are hot, then your freezing, then your hungry but you eat 5lbs of cookies and your stuffed. Winter pushes the extremes which is why you need an extreme beer to complement the season. Stouts are rich, smooth, thick, served at room temperature and will warm you right up. Higher in alcohol and packing the flavor regiments you need on a cold winter’s night, stouts are very diverse. Brewers are known to add fruit flavors, such as sour cherries, sweet flavors, such as chocolate, savory flavors, such as sweet potatoes and some even age stouts in whisky or bourbon barrels leaving the drinker with a fiery sensation climbing down their throat.

Suggestions: Hair of the Dog Doggie Claws; Port Brewing Santa’s Lil’ Helper

Spring: just puts you in a good mood. You can finally step outdoors without the bitterness of winter. Cherry blossoms are in bloom, colors are glowing from the flowers and trees…in celebration of this change in season, a season that gives you hope for warmer weather, I pick the Saison/Farmhouse Ale style. Saisons are generally brewed in the winter to be enjoyed during those warmer months and tend to be on the lighter side with fruity, earthy and spicy aromas and flavors. It is the perfect complement to the warmer days, the fresh flowers and signs of life.

Suggestions: Lost Abbey Red Barn; Jolly Pumpkin Bam Beire

So thats that, a beer for the seasons. Enjoy every last one of them!

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