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Who else is glad Oktoberfests are seasonal?

Discussion in 'Beer Talk' started by ssimpson89, Aug 30, 2014.

  1. ssimpson89

    ssimpson89 Savant (465) Illinois Jul 24, 2009

    I love Oktoberfests. Great Lakes is my favorite, but not my only love. I jump on them when they first come out, even though late July is too early. Two cases or more of various brands have made their way through my fridge and it's not even September.

    By October I will tire of them and move on to stout, Celebration, etc. The OF's will disappear and I won't miss them, until they pop up next year. I really appreciate and drink a lot of them, but feel if they were year round I wouldn't drink or appreciate them as much.

    I sometimes wish brown ales were seasonal. I really enjoy them, but I always seem to grab IPA's and whatever else is new at the moment. Maybe I would appreciate them more if they were only around for a few months a year.

    Does anyone else feel this way about Oktoberfests or another style?
    Genuine, dangle47 and Givemebeer like this.
  2. Knobs303

    Knobs303 Savant (420) Colorado Nov 8, 2013 Beer Trader

    By October Your Sick of Them? Around Here all the Good Ones are gone by mid-September. Pumpkin Beers, on the other hand, hang around until early December. By then, all the Excellent Holiday Beers are Quickly Disappearing/Selling Out.
    302BeerGuy likes this.
  3. You know, if they were released year-round, you still have the ability to NOT purchase them, and only buy them when you feel like it. So no, I don't feel the same way as you OP. I don't feel this way about any style actually.
  4. zeff80

    zeff80 Poobah (1,160) Missouri Feb 6, 2006

    I used to get excited about them but now not so much. It's a style that doesn't have much flavor variation. Meaning that if I blind tasted 10 of them I'd probably guess wrong on all 10.
  5. 302BeerGuy

    302BeerGuy Savant (485) Delaware Jun 11, 2014 Beer Trader

    I am glad in the fact that they are "seasonal" because Oktoberfest Beers are kind of a treat for me. On the other hand, I see them like their Late Winter/Spring counterparts Kolsch, that they are both "sessionable" beers and should be sold year round. No difference drinking an Oktoberfest in April vs drinking one in September!
    creepinjeeper and AdmiralOzone like this.
  6. I'm glad they're seasonal because, aside from the idea that you could just not buy them other months, breweries can do other stuff the rest of the year. If you want it later, you can just throw some in the cellar. Otherwise, yeah, I can recognize that it's a slightly artificial thing to drum up interest, like Beaujolais nouveau -- the difference being that it's good.
    302BeerGuy likes this.
  7. pitweasel

    pitweasel Advocate (550) New York Jun 11, 2007

    They'll only be around a few months a year if you only buy them a few months a year...

    But as far as Oktoberfests go...I often associate things with first impressions. And my introduction to that style was sipping them outdoors in cooler weather as the leaves started to change, so whenever that weather rolls around, I get a craving for an Oktoberfest. And when I drink it, it just feels right for the time and place.
  8. tmbgnicu

    tmbgnicu Advocate (600) Pennsylvania Mar 15, 2014 Beer Trader

    I agree 100% with @pitweasel. When the weather changes, or maybe a better indicator for me is when football starts, I reach for an octoberfest. I grabbed a sixer of GL Octoberfest which is available in my area for the first time this year and I'll crack a few for the ND game this afternoon. Can't wait!
    AdmiralOzone likes this.
  9. JuicesFlowing

    JuicesFlowing Poobah (1,035) Kansas Jul 5, 2009 Verified

    I've purchased Paulaner Oktoberfest at random times throughout the year, it's always available. I love Oktoberfest/marzens.
  10. robear

    robear Advocate (675) Wisconsin May 24, 2014 Beer Trader

    Ah, but if they're truly seasonal then you know you're getting fresh beer brewed with care for that release time-frame. With year round beers, especially styles that aren't coveted, they end up sitting on many shelves making it difficult to find fresh bottles. I'm sure this would happen with Oktoberfests.
  11. pitweasel

    pitweasel Advocate (550) New York Jun 11, 2007

    I'm sure it would happen to some of them. But you're saying that every year-round brew is made carelessly and never available fresh, which is just silly. I can walk into my local grocery store any day and find fresh beer that, if you were to accuse the brewer of not really giving it much attention during the production, would happily spit in your pint before you drank it.
  12. mychalg9

    mychalg9 Champion (770) Illinois Apr 8, 2010 Beer Trader

    I'm also glad that summer ales and winter ales are seasonal because otherwise those would be "named" incorrectly too!
    BuckeyeBeerhead and WTKeene like this.
  13. herrburgess

    herrburgess Poobah (1,035) South Carolina Nov 4, 2009 Beer Trader

    Throughout the history of mankind, cultures have upheld seasonal rituals. Germany is very devoted to maintaining such rituals when it comes to beer, and tends to "drink to schedule." I, for one, loved participating in this aspect of beer culture over there, and would look forward to (Oktober)Fest season, followed by Winter Bock season, followed by Starkbier season, followed by Biergarten season. As Michael Jackson said of Germany, "There's a place for every beer, and every beer in its place." I personally find that something is lost when, as we tend to do in America, everything is available everywhere all the time. But I realize I am in the minority here and most U.S. beer geeks prefer "variety uber alles."
    Last edited: Aug 30, 2014
  14. rgordon

    rgordon Advocate (600) North Carolina Apr 26, 2012 Verified

    When Oktoberfests weren't ubiquitous, they were a real treat to add to the Lowenbraus, Heinekens, etc that were available and amongst the best to be had. Now, Oktos are everywhere and a different beast to navigate. I'll simply say that I still prefer the Munich offerings, because they are quite good and an annual nostalgic choice. Ayinger, Hacker-Pschorr, and Spaten are my favorites.
  15. robear

    robear Advocate (675) Wisconsin May 24, 2014 Beer Trader

    My bad- I definitely mis-spoke about beer being brewed with care. What I should have said was many year-round beers are brewed with care but distributed carelessly on a routine basis, at least in my neck of the woods. And even if a distributor is careful, plenty of shops don't move product fast enough and don't take the time to rotate out their old stock.
  16. robear

    robear Advocate (675) Wisconsin May 24, 2014 Beer Trader

    Oktoberfests/Marzens are actually meant to be consumed fresh, and in my experience lose a ton of flavor after 2-3 months. Many imported varieties are already a bit stale by the time they reach our shelves. That's why I love to see beers like Staghorn, CW Octoberfest, Lazy Monk Marzen, brewed fresh and distributed locally every year.
    AdmiralOzone likes this.
  17. AlcahueteJ

    AlcahueteJ Advocate (735) Massachusetts Dec 4, 2004 Verified

    Yes, I feel the same way. I like the idea of seasonals. For example, I love hefeweizens, but it's a rare purchase for me at the liquor store. If hefeweizens were exclusively a summer seasonal I would certainly purchase more of them when the season rolls around (whenever that would be given the whacky schedules for seasonal releases).

    I love Oktoberfests, but due to the fact they're seasonal, it "forces" me to sample multiple offerings in a couple month span.

    Great season, prost!

    I think you could taste the difference between an American version and an imported one. And you definitely could tell the difference between Weihenstephan's Festbier and say, Spaten's Oktoberfest.

    Marzens should never be cellared.
    steveh, TongoRad and herrburgess like this.
  18. Märzens were my favorite style when I first started drinking craft beer and didn't have the hop palate that I have now. I used to wish they were available year-round, but now I like the tradition of drinking them from Labor Day weekend until the end of Oktoberfest. My Dad's side immigrated into the US from Bavaria about 120 years ago and it's great to celebrate my heritage by drinking them seasonally like my distant cousins who stayed in Germany.
  19. You really hate living here in the US, don't you? Not sure i've read a post of yours that didn't praise all things "bier" in Germany, and critize anything and everything that is of the beer culture in the States.
    BottleCaps80 and YamBag like this.
  20. herrburgess

    herrburgess Poobah (1,035) South Carolina Nov 4, 2009 Beer Trader

    I bemoan the lack of a viable beer culture here in the U.S., yes.

    EDIT: But, as @rgordon points out below, there are many, many things I love about U.S. beer...and living in the U.S. I just wish that the current beer "culture" weren't so hyperfocused on ever-expanding variety and newness for the sake of newness.
    Last edited: Aug 30, 2014
  21. rgordon

    rgordon Advocate (600) North Carolina Apr 26, 2012 Verified

    I'll come to the defense. herrburgess loves beer, and he's spoken highly of many US beers. The word "hate" in any reference to his knowledgeable opinions simply does not fit. That he is a Germanophile is undeniable.
    azorie, surfcaster, steveh and 3 others like this.
  22. So IPAs should be seasonal so you know they are fresh, unlike year round beers
  23. TongoRad

    TongoRad Poobah (1,035) New Jersey Jun 3, 2004 Beer Trader

    Most of the American versions I could do without. even at this time of year ;).

    Weihenstephaner's and Hofbrau's would be staple items in my fridge if I could get them year-round, however. Too bad they have to share time with all the rest due to being a seasonal.
    These just started showing up around here, btw:
    The perfect package for that one, and a little bit of beer heaven!
  24. spartan1979

    spartan1979 Advocate (515) Missouri Dec 29, 2005 Verified

    I like the idea of seasonal beers in general. When SN Celebration comes out, it means the holidays are near. Maibocks mean winter is nearing it's end. Oktoberfests mean the beauty of autumn and the end of the hot days. Oberon means summer.

    If these beers were available year around, they it would be too easy to overlook them.
  25. zid

    zid Advocate (715) New York Feb 15, 2010 Beer Trader

    Maybe, but it's not a good representation of the style! (sarcasm/kidding)
  26. TongoRad

    TongoRad Poobah (1,035) New Jersey Jun 3, 2004 Beer Trader

    Ha! But please tell that's not what the reviews are actually saying :).
  27. zid

    zid Advocate (715) New York Feb 15, 2010 Beer Trader

    Well, I've penalized it many many points because it gets the style so wrong. Same with Fuller's ESB. ;)
    TongoRad likes this.
  28. TongoRad

    TongoRad Poobah (1,035) New Jersey Jun 3, 2004 Beer Trader

    Fullers? Stick with what you know- like brushes. Amirite!!?

    BTW- I did take a quick glance at the first page of the Hofbrau Oktoberfest reviews, and the topmost one right now is a great rant against people criticizing Munich O'fests as being 'out-of-style'. I guess if you look deeper into the reviews they are definitely there. Crazy days we live in...
    FatBoyGotSwagger and zid like this.
  29. HeislerGold

    HeislerGold Savant (330) Michigan Oct 19, 2013

    I like seasonals in general because they make it easier to grab something fresh, especially if you live in a more sparsely populated area where craft beer isn't always flying off the shelves. So, I guess I'm glad that a lot of beers I like are seasonal. Not just Oktoberfests.
  30. They've already been cellared half a year (minus whatever is the standard lagering time), so would a few more months matter? I've had them plenty of times over the winter, I'm sure. Genuine question, and on point for the original question. {Ah, that moment when you realize this has probably been asked 100 times on some other forum here.}
  31. zid

    zid Advocate (715) New York Feb 15, 2010 Beer Trader

    For the love of beer, if it says Oktoberfest on the label, it better be released September/October give or take a month. If you want to buy a copper lager in June, get a Vienna lager.
  32. HeislerGold

    HeislerGold Savant (330) Michigan Oct 19, 2013

    No offense but this is the argument against seasonals and seasonal creep that I dislike the most. The fact that the difference for some drinkers between an appropriate and an inappropriate time to release and/or drink a beer is simply a word printed on a label is ridiculously arbitrary to me. This is why I prefer the term marzen to Oktoberfest and why I advocate the phasing out of the term "seasonal" for an alternate term like annual, perennial, or quarterly.
  33. @TongoRad I had one of those mini-kegs last year. I'm thinking of turning it into a lamp.

    Ironically, the term Märzen means "March beer" because Germans brewed the traditional Oktoberfest beer in March and kept it over the summer to drink in autumn. You haven't escaped the seasonal aspect by using the German name.
  34. HeislerGold

    HeislerGold Savant (330) Michigan Oct 19, 2013

    I'm aware. I prefer it because the term is more opaque than the other and less likely to be associated with a specific time frame. I never claimed it was a perfect solution.
  35. zid

    zid Advocate (715) New York Feb 15, 2010 Beer Trader

    No offense, but it's not simply arbitrary. Marz = March, Oktober = October. If you want to divorce a beer from the culture that spawned it, that's your call. If I feel like drinking a traditional Christmas beer in July, I'll do so, but I would never want to lose sight of what I was drinking.
  36. rgordon

    rgordon Advocate (600) North Carolina Apr 26, 2012 Verified

    Stone should start a line of "Unseasonable Beers"; big dark beers in July, light easy drinkers in February, and Septemberfests to be held until March or so.
  37. TongoRad

    TongoRad Poobah (1,035) New Jersey Jun 3, 2004 Beer Trader

    Dogfish Head has a leg up on that idea with their Winter beer- Piercing Pils.
  38. rgordon

    rgordon Advocate (600) North Carolina Apr 26, 2012 Verified

    Different drums do play nicely now and then!
    TongoRad likes this.
  39. HeislerGold

    HeislerGold Savant (330) Michigan Oct 19, 2013

    Being knowledgeable of a beer's history is one thing but confining your drinking habits based on a name or designation is certainly arbitrary to me.
  40. TongoRad

    TongoRad Poobah (1,035) New Jersey Jun 3, 2004 Beer Trader

    That would make a nice one, although you'd have to keep in the closet 3/4ths of the year ;).
    LagersAndAles likes this.