Seasons change and so did I, you need not wonder why. - The Guess Who, "No Time" (1969)
Living in the Northeastern United States, I am privileged to get a full on experience of all four seasons of the calendar. Unlike some other parts of our fair nation, which oscillate between “extreme summer” and “moderately extreme summer,” or “rainy” and “fuck off, so rainy,” we get clearly demarcated spring, summer, autumn and winter seasons here.
Sure, sure, I’m the first to admit, that in Syracuse, winter comes on stronger than a Bill Cosby date and lingers far longer into spring than I’d care for. This is a small price to pay, in my opinion, for a chance to live and enjoy the range of climate-related emotions.
It’s tough, for example, to find a place more scenic than upstate New York in autumn, when the colors are at the peak of change, and the foliage snaps in bright and forceful reds, oranges, and yellows.
Unless that critical eye is turned to the same place in January, after a fresh coat of pure white snow has blanketed the landscape, covering the world in serenity and beauty. It’s just like a postcard, I find myself telling others.
Spring, once it’s finished taking it’s sweet ass time arriving, is truly a time of rebirth, of newness, where we can rub the winter’s sleep out of our eyes, dust off our bikes from a winter of indoor-trainer/non-use, plant our gardens, and put the Eskimo layers away for a well deserved hiatus.
Summer? Well, summer takes me to the joys of my childhood, long days riding bikes in the neighborhood, swimming at the Rec Center pool, ice cream, baseball games. Laying out in the sun, eyes closed, on my desk and soaking up all of that vitamin D just there for the taking.
BUT WHAT ABOUT BEER?
Oh, for certain, every season brings its own delightful seasonal beers to be enjoyed. Like I needed another reason to look forward to summer or fall!
Well, not every season. I can’t really figure out if there’s such a thing as spring beers. I think we maybe should be drinking dandelion wine or just wringing out our mittens and hoping that something has fermented in them over the course of the winter. But aside from that, hell yeah! Seasonal beers!
Summer, to me, is the time to drink light, fruity beers, beers that go well with being outdoors and enjoying the warmest of days.
Fall? Well, that’s a good time for those delicious Oktoberfest lagers, brewed up for mid September and available for a good chunk of the autumn.
Winter is stout season, to me. Thick, high alcohol content, dark and delicious and filled with complex flavors.
However, there’s another trend I’ve noted in winter beers and from the title of this post I think you see where I’m going with this.
What the fuck is the deal with winter lagers?
You’ll notice that over the course of this post, none of these beers are shown in my home, or in a pint glass, or a frosty mug, or, really, even unleashed from the bottles. That is intentional.
When I started drinking beers a couple of years ago, with an eye for new flavors and textures, I sampled a number of winter ales, Christmas beers, and seasonal lagers.
I noticed, very quickly, that they all share a common characteristic.
They are nasty.
I’m also not alone in thinking this. I’ve heard these quotes offered up by Ceetar, my co-blogger here.
“There are times the Sly Fox feels like I’m eating a jar of allspice.”
” I’m not saying winter warmers necessarily taste like rotted pumpkins, but I’m not not saying it either.”
I personally will go one step further, and break out the all new negative prose-inator.
That’s right! For the specific sole purpose of capturing the sheer grossness of drinking, in beer form, the first three random spices that fall out of my spice rack, I’ve come up with an all new random negative praise generator. Let’s give it a spin, shall we?
“This beer tastes like the embodiment of the disappointment that I would imagine the parents of uber-celebrity
would feel if they knew that their child was consorting and cavorting with the likes of a totally unknown
instead of another celebrity of equal fame, value and prestige.”