The Curmudgeon: Seasonal beer “I told you so” edition

The Curmudgeon:
The Curmudgeon hates to say he told you so. Well, maybe he doesn’t. But in February, the Curmudgeon pointed out that climate change (and its resultant seasonal shifting) does not actually exist…it’s a trick of the brain perpetuated by breweries releasing their seasonal beers way too early. It was also suggested that drowning polar bears may just need to up their cardio:

You really have gotten lazy. Look at yourself.

Back then, Spring and Summer beers were coming out in February, and the Curmudgeon presciently foretold the early arrival of pumpkin beers. He predicted August. Well, the Curmudgeon was wrong…they showed up in mid-July! Mean Machine reported seeing Southern Tier Pumking the week of July 10th, twitter is full of angry pumpkin beer sightings, and dangermenparenting reported seeing Blue Moon Harvest Pumpkin on July 28th.

Listen, nobody cares about the first person to report on whether the sun came up. That is, unless you’re CNN or Fox News and you are the first to mistakenly report that the sun didn’t come up.

Standby, I’m hearing it is a bit more complicated than previously thought. THE SUN MAY HAVE COME UP.

The truth is, with things that aren’t novel (just like news that people are going to find out eventually anyway) what people want is for you to get it right. Now, obviously there is serious first-to-the-market competition for shelf space. But sorry, Coors, being first isn’t going to make your Blue Moon Harvest Pumpkin Ale taste any better.

Further, The Curmudgeon isn’t stupid….well…the Curmudgeon isn’t too stupid to figure out that canned pumpkin gets thrown in some pumpkin beers. But why can’t we be fat and happy and just pretend you tossed in some fresh jack-o-lanterns. Oh, I almost forgot, because you expect us to believe you got fresh pumpkins in June or July.

So suck it, brewers racing to Fall. It’s still freaking hotter outside than a pair of sweatpants full of BBQ. I don’t want any pumpkin beer. So, may your Fall beers gather dust. And may the fleas of 100 camels infect your balls and your arms be too short to scratch.

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The Beerbecue Cocktail: The only beer cocktail you’ll ever need.

Much has been made of beer cocktails, or “hoptails”, lately. The beerbecue beverage lab has engineered its own. Below are detailed video instructions on the only beer cocktail you’ll ever need (and as a bonus, the Curmudgeon’s identity is finally revealed).

Craft Beer is Major Contributor to Climate Change (in my mind).

The Curmudgeon
I don’t care how many eggheaded calculator-wielders tell you that temperatures are on the rise, glaciers are melting at an alarming rate, and polar bears can’t swim far enough. Further, I don’t care that a stated effect of climate change is the earlier arrival of Spring and the increasingly delayed arrival of leaf-peeping assholes to New England each Fall. In truth, nothing has actually changed! It’s all in your head, and it’s the craft beer industry’s fault.

Case in point: Dig Spring Seasonal by New Belgium was released this year on February 1. The label has a picture of a Chuck-Taylor-All-Star-wearing hipster casually digging a hole, presumably to plant black cumin, Bordeaux spinach, dragon carrots, or some other similarly ironic- or rare-sounding edible.

One problem: It’s fucking February. It’s no wonder everyone thinks Spring starts early, these a-holes are releasing their Spring seasonal before Punxsutawney Phil has even had a chance to take his first post-hibernation piss.

Used with permission from: goldengophershower.com

And they’re not the only ones: Sam Adams Alpine Spring released in January. Flying Dog Garde Dog (Biere de Garde) out in February. Hell, Leinenkugel’s Summer Shandy says, “Screw Spring right in the eye. Let’s skip straight to Summer on February 29th.”

As for Fall, everyone thinks it’s suddenly taking longer for the leaves to change color and fall. Climate change? No! We’re having pumpkin beers thrown at us beginning in August. Of course Fall feels longer. And where the hell do you even get pumpkins in August?

In further support of my theory, Notch Brewing recently had to pull their harvest beer. Apparently if you use actual, fresh, end-of-the-season harvesty stuff in your beer, as Notch does, it will be too late for Fall shelf space. That’s messed up.

Listen, I don’t know if it’s the fault of brewers, distributors, or retailers. I don’t care. Cut it out. My damn allergies are starting already this year.

Brian Strumke Can Come to My House and Drink My Beer…All of It.

The Curmudgeon
Brian Strumke, who is the brewer, chief executive, president, receptionist, janitor, mailroom clerk, etc., for Stillwater Artisanal Ales, held a recent email interview with DCBeer.com. After an in-depth discussion of Stillwater’s Premium Post-Prohibition Style Ale, they move on to miscellaneous topics such as Strumke’s thoughts on the state of session-strength beer at the moment. His reply:

I personally really enjoy lower ABV beers for their refreshment and drinkability. I think there is a time and place for beers of all strengths and don’t want to turn the concept of producing moderate weight craft beers into a trend, I just think the idea of session beers becoming popular again is rubbish.. 90+% of beer drinkers have been and do drink beers between 4-5%. I just think that ’session beer’ hype came as a backlash to the popularity of heavyweight extreme beers that took the scene by storm, and while I love to get down with a case of Prima Pils, I also like to session with Orval (6.5%) when I am in Belgium, but that’s how I roll.”

Then for the rest of interview, Strumke uses the term “session” with quotation marks. Beautiful. That’s how the beerbecue household rolls, too (except we don’t need to be in Belgium to “session” with 6.5%). In fact, some of his thoughts are strikingly similar to beerbecue’s thesis on the ridiculous “session” morass: What is a Session Beer? Who the F$%k Cares?

I enjoy Stillwater immensely, when I can actually get my grubby biscuit snatchers on it. And I have heard anecdotal evidence that Brian Strumke is a cool guy. However, I may now have officially lost all capacity for objectivity with respect to Stillwater and Mr. Strumke (as he will hereafter be known on beerbecue). In fact, Mr. Strumke, you can come over to my house and drink all my beer if you want to. If I am low, I will make a beer run just for you. And you can rest assured, Mr. Strumke, that the word “session” will ne’er be uttered, save in scorn or jest. ;7

What is a Session Beer? Who the F$%k Cares!?

The Curmudgeon
This topic is of negligible interest to many, but apparently highly contentious for very few. So, it’s perfect for Scott’s crappy blog. This term “session beer” and the phrase “this beer is sessionable” have been popping up, with increasing frequency. I hate it. I am not sure why, and it’s probably not sane…but here goes:

The term “session beer” appears to be of British origin, and seems to mean that the beer is suitable for an extended, uninebriated period of moderate- to high-volume drinking. In the US, I have never heard anyone use the term “session” to describe any period of drinking. So, why would we start using such a fancy-pants derivative thereof?  Maybe the British do, but the word sounds so silly in this context. (It’s OK, British readers (if any). We say silly things, too. I lived in London for a year, and I encountered numerous cross-eyed looks from my American expressions.)

Of course, I have accepted many words of foreign origin relating to beer. But this one is utterly useless. It doesn’t tell me anything about the damn beer that the name, style, and ABV don’t tell me already. And quite frankly, I find it a bit paternalistic.

Even worse, there is no consensus on what it actually means. British beer colonialist, Dingsbeerblog, clings to a hoary notion of the session beer’s Maginot line, which is based in a meticulous analysis of the historical output of British brewers’ lowest strength beers (4% ABV or less). Ding’s logic is nearly the same as that employed by Latin-loving twits who have claimed for years that we shouldn’t split infinitives. Well, I’ll split infinitives if I want to fucking split infinitives. Likewise, if I accepted the term “session”, I would gladly call 21st Amendment’s 4.4 percent ABV Bitter American a session beer.

Beeradvocate tries to draw a somewhat arbitrary distinction, based on what ABV won’t cause the average individual to get loopy (5% or less). Beeradvocate even uses the term in a cutesy sentence that, if actually uttered by a man in a bar, would be deserving of a swift kick to the testicles.

And my favorite is from Aleheads, who essentially conclude that all beer is generally “sessionable”. Although, this begs the question: Why do we even need the damn word, then?

So, no more “session”. Just pick some beer appropriate for your circumstances (lower ABV before a job interview, while operating a front-end loader, or while juggling chainsaws…and higher for any other circumstance). Then, drink your damn beer, and stop fussing about what to call it. Then we can get on with debating more important topics like: Why do men have nipples? Is Khloe a real Kardashian? And are Justin Beiber and Selena Gomez for realzies?