What if New England IPAs were seasonal?

Discussion in 'Beer Talk' started by AlcahueteJ, Sep 7, 2018.

  1. AlcahueteJ

    AlcahueteJ Champion (801) Dec 4, 2004 Massachusetts

    Obviously, it's Oktoberfest season. My favorite beer season of them all. And I got to thinking, as much as I love this season, and this style, I'm very glad it's only seasonal.

    It gives me something to look forward to, and by the time August hits (it can be later for some of you), I am more than ready to spend the next couple months pounding as many beers of this style as I can.

    That being said, if it was available year round (if all of them were, I realize there's a couple imports that are), I don't think I'd drink them too often. And I LOVE this style of beer.

    And then the wheels in my head started turning (this can be a dangerous thing), and I thought, "What if New England IPAs were seasonal, just like Oktoberfests?"

    I like both styles, although I like Oktoberfests much more. But I would love it if New England IPAs were only available for a few months. They'd be fresher, and they wouldn't clog the shelves all year round. I'd get to drink my fill of them for a couple of months, and then get to take a break and move on. I know many breweries release certain IPAs on a rotation already, but to see ALL New England IPAs be a seasonal release would be something entirely different.

  2. nc41

    nc41 Poo-Bah (1,570) Sep 25, 2008 North Carolina

    I'd agree with that. To be honest they wear on me, even the best ones are a chore after two. The soft sweet low bitter has a limit. I'm at that point with Fest beers right now, I just need something different. And a hoppy Pils is my cure.
  3. Tilley4

    Tilley4 Poo-Bah (1,967) Nov 13, 2007 Tennessee
    Premium Trader

    I'm with you... Oktoberfests ring my bell when they show up on shelves... As much as I love them, I know me and I know I would burn myself out on them...which is sort of what ive done with fruit sours and hazy NE ipas...I find myself gravitating back to the basics more and more... Well made pilsners, helles, etc... I find myself passing over fresh hazy stuff just because with the vast amount available, they all run together... If they were more spread out as a seasonal is, I would definitely enjoy them more
  4. Lahey

    Lahey Disciple (315) Nov 12, 2016 Michigan

    Great idea. I think year round sales are too huge for it to happen. Though if it were seasonal, breweries would see crazy sales in that style for that season.
  5. FatBoyGotSwagger

    FatBoyGotSwagger Meyvn (1,076) Apr 4, 2009 Pennsylvania

    How would small local breweries stay in business? :wink: Oktoberfest is the best time of year to be a beer drinker.
    meanmutt, Gemini6, PatrickCT and 8 others like this.
  6. ecpho

    ecpho Aspirant (224) Mar 28, 2011 New York

    So a lot of breweries that seem to only make NEIPAs would have to shut down for most of the year. Or learn how to actually make another style of beer.
    Ale_Jedi, Gemini6, jaxon53 and 10 others like this.
  7. Saudade

    Saudade Initiate (38) Nov 25, 2014 Pennsylvania

    I agree......while i do love a good NEIPA, making them a seasonal beer would bring back some of the "yay" feeling, and honestly i tend to find myself here recently straying away from them. They are everywhere, im trying to see more breweries perfect the pilsner, or hefe, or belgian variety. Being that fall is quickly approaching i tend to want a more robust beer and whille great pilsners and hefes arent robust, they serve as a great session beer year round, at least for me personally
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  8. Jacobier10

    Jacobier10 Poo-Bah (1,900) Feb 23, 2004 New Jersey

    Simply put, the demand is just way too high for NEIPA to be seasonal. Maybe over time the demand will go down but for the past couple of years they have been the rare case that the supply is high AND people are buying the hell out of them.

    I think almost any beer would be more enjoyable if it we're available less. There are some Oktoberfests that are brewed year-round (e.g., Paulaner, Hacker-Pschorr) and I'm willing to bet they don't sell as well the rest of the year as they do Aug-Oct. The truth is a Vienna lager isn't that far off from an Oktoberfest Märzen and a Helles isn't that different from a Festbier, but if Vienna and Helles were made seasonal I still can't imagine people clamoring for them. The demand just isn't there year-round.
  9. cavedave

    cavedave Poo-Bah (2,416) Mar 12, 2009 New York

    While we're at it let's make AAL seasonal too. I mean, who wants to drink AAL in the winter, anyway? Let's only sell AAL in the summer.
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  10. cavedave

    cavedave Poo-Bah (2,416) Mar 12, 2009 New York

    Surely you aren't suggesting that profit and popular demand should be considerations of brewers in what styles they brew, are you?
  11. MJS08

    MJS08 Aspirant (277) Jul 29, 2014 Florida

    I'm all for seasonal beer. Oktoberfest is one of my favorites. Next up, Celebration and winter warmers. I look for the seasonal brews all year because of the freshness issues. There is just way too much old beer for sale, and I loathe carrying a flashlight and mag glass when I go beer shopping. If it says Oktoberfest, and has 2018 on the label, (SN), I'm in, and it's outstanding brew, as well. A better word for my habits would be "annual" beers, fresh hop, etc. Cheers.
    Lucular, Lahey and Mothergoose03 like this.
  12. AlcahueteJ

    AlcahueteJ Champion (801) Dec 4, 2004 Massachusetts

    I almost added, "I'm not realistically suggesting this, as sales are way too high for New England IPAs"...or something along those lines.

    This is a personal preference, because it would be suicide for many many breweries to make New England IPAs seasonal only.

    That being said, many pastry stouts are in fact seasonal. KBS in March, Bourbon County in November...etc.
    beertunes and cavedave like this.
  13. drtth

    drtth Poo-Bah (3,542) Nov 25, 2007 Pennsylvania

    KBS and BC are pastry stouts????
  14. EvenMoreJesus

    EvenMoreJesus Crusader (780) Jun 8, 2017 Pennsylvania
    Premium Trader

    There's no reason for any beer to be a seasonal, save ones, like fresh hop beers, whose recipes revolve around very perishable ingredients.

    I understand the traditional aspects of beers like Marzen, Festbier, and Maibock, but I kinda hate the idea of seasonal beers, in general. Maybe it's because of how much I despise spiced beers and pumpkin and Christmas beers seem to be the hallmark of seasonal beers? I guess you can throw shandies and radlers on that woodpile, too.
  15. matthewp

    matthewp Initiate (153) Feb 27, 2015 Massachusetts

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  16. Jacobier10

    Jacobier10 Poo-Bah (1,900) Feb 23, 2004 New Jersey

    Of course, but fads come and go. So, if your brewery is not doing something innovative or unique, and you are brewing popular styles for the sole purpose of turning a quick profit, you better have the skills to adjust quickly enough to adapt to the latest trend.
    AlcahueteJ likes this.
  17. cavedave

    cavedave Poo-Bah (2,416) Mar 12, 2009 New York

    Hard to think of a business for which that isn't true.
  18. azorie

    azorie Champion (876) Mar 18, 2006 Florida

    last time I went to store in may they still had Oktoberfest beer..so not sure how "seasonal' it is???

    never understand seasonal beer myself, even holiday beer is just a way to rip us off IMHO.

    So who cares about IPA, I just do not, if you want to drink something that hop bombs you go for it. to each his own. I getting a kick how the "style" has evolved,,,,
  19. Ahonky

    Ahonky Initiate (89) Feb 13, 2018 New York

    I don't understand why this requires a discussion. A hypothetical what if bears no fruit if the scenario runs counter to an obvious and collective boner this nation has for NEIPA.
    PatrickCT, Ranbot and azorie like this.
  20. AlcahueteJ

    AlcahueteJ Champion (801) Dec 4, 2004 Massachusetts

    You've never discussed hypothetical situations?

    For example, when people ask, "What's your dessert island beer?" I imagine most of will never end up stranded on a dessert island. And if we were, I highly doubt there would be beer available.

    The question is also one of opinion, not projection. Not, "Do you think New England IPAs will become seasonal?", but "Would you prefer it if they were?"

    You're right, they're not (well maybe the variants of Bourbon County). But I lump them all into the "barrel-aged" category in my head, even though I know they're not. My point was, there's highly rated beers that are seasonal.
    2ellas, Gemini6, Lahey and 1 other person like this.
  21. IPAExpert69

    IPAExpert69 Initiate (149) Aug 2, 2017 New Jersey

    I get the idea in theory, but the reason fall and Oktoberfest works so well is that the beer really reflects the taste of the season. It's like turkey dinner and thanksgiving, or pumpkin spiced lattes and ugg boot wearing basics. The NEIPA doesn't really taste like a season or a period of time to me, just hoppy goodness! It'd be like saying "breakfast stouts are for the winter only!", but like I eat breakfast every day biiiccchhhh!
  22. pbrian

    pbrian Zealot (598) Feb 8, 2001 Connecticut

    I wish milkshake IPAs were seasonal, offered only one day a year. That will be the one day of the year I give my body a beer break.
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  23. EvenMoreJesus

    EvenMoreJesus Crusader (780) Jun 8, 2017 Pennsylvania
    Premium Trader

    Because we were all missing your surly responses.
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  24. pbrian

    pbrian Zealot (598) Feb 8, 2001 Connecticut

    Well, on a dessert island, I would imagine one's beer would be a chocolate stout or new fangled pastry stout of some sort...
  25. AlcahueteJ

    AlcahueteJ Champion (801) Dec 4, 2004 Massachusetts

    It only does that because history has ingrained in us that it should be.

    Oktoberfest starts in September, and when I went it was 75 and sunny out, and I was wearing shorts.

    They held the original Oktoberfest and decided to finish off the beer brewed the previous March. Not because it was getting colder out and the style went well with the weather. In fact, shortly after it began they changed it from October to starting in September because the weather was nicer.

    I also think the style originally was more akin to a Vienna lager, and was lower in alcohol (I could be wrong on this one).
    RobNewton likes this.
  26. IPAExpert69

    IPAExpert69 Initiate (149) Aug 2, 2017 New Jersey

    I agree with your sentiment in part, but as the years have gone by beer culture has sub-categorized certain styles as seasonal. Why this was done, who knows but it's not a process you can just start. Especially with no basis in history, cheers!
    AlcahueteJ likes this.
  27. rudiecantfail

    rudiecantfail Disciple (386) Aug 9, 2011 Pennsylvania

    From your lips to god's ear.
  28. Harrison8

    Harrison8 Poo-Bah (2,456) Dec 6, 2015 Missouri
    Premium Trader

    I can't even trust breweries to wait to release their pumpkin beers until fall, so no - I don't think NE IPAs should be seasonal.
    JackHorzempa and GuyFawkes like this.
  29. Alefflicted

    Alefflicted Initiate (64) Dec 2, 2017 Minnesota

    I agree with you. Sure there are beer styles that I prefer to drink at certain times of the year. But not having or limiting my options for beer styles to certain seasons is not something I condone.
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  30. BayAreaJoe

    BayAreaJoe Zealot (517) Nov 23, 2017 California

    I'd rather have Oktoberfests around all the time like NEIPAs are than the other way around. If/when I get tired of hazies, I just ignore them like all of the other beers & styles I'm ignoring at the moment. Oh but when I want one again, there they are.
    2ellas and thesherrybomber like this.
  31. dlcarst

    dlcarst Initiate (87) Aug 21, 2015 Illinois

    You're on to something there. But I think we'd have to cut out the 90% of them that are way overpriced and/or mediocre for me to start buying more than a can here and there.
    2ellas likes this.
  32. Lahey

    Lahey Disciple (315) Nov 12, 2016 Michigan

    It's funny, many german marzens are 5-6 months old by the time we're drinking em. Imagine drinking a 6 month old NEIPA. My wife bought an old 4 pack of one and they were god awful. 15 dollar 4 pack pour:confused:

    Imagine how many old NEIPAs there would be if they were released 2 months ahead of the season like pumpkin beers. No one would buy them after a month or two and they'd rot on the shelf.
  33. AlcahueteJ

    AlcahueteJ Champion (801) Dec 4, 2004 Massachusetts

    There they are, old beers on the shelf. Just like the Paulaner Oktoberfest that's year round and old as balls.

    Hofbrau and Weihenstephan this year were bottled mid-June, and I started drinking them in August. But yeah, many are kind of old. I have/had some Spaten and Ayinger bottled in April.

    With the insane popularity of New England IPAs if they were relegated to a two to three month season they would fly off the shelves, if they even made it off the truck.
    Lahey and cavedave like this.
  34. beertunes

    beertunes Poo-Bah (5,326) Sep 24, 2007 Washington

    By making actual beer?
  35. beertunes

    beertunes Poo-Bah (5,326) Sep 24, 2007 Washington

    Sure it does. It tastes like the season of sadness in your life, that when you're older, you never speak of again. Go ahead, ask all your friends how many have a single white glove?
  36. pbrian

    pbrian Zealot (598) Feb 8, 2001 Connecticut

    Thank you for the laugh before I retire for the night. :smiley:
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  37. BayAreaJoe

    BayAreaJoe Zealot (517) Nov 23, 2017 California

    Ya, right next to a bajillion fresh ones.

    That's pretty much what's happening now with it being year-round.
    AlcahueteJ likes this.
  38. denver10

    denver10 Poo-Bah (2,345) Nov 17, 2010 New Mexico

    I just want them to always be labelled as a hazy IPA, not just an IPA, so I know to avoid them. Most tap rooms do a good job of this.
  39. Lahey

    Lahey Disciple (315) Nov 12, 2016 Michigan

    Fair enough. I'm just used to seeing everybody making them all the time. They do fly off the shelves, it just seems brewers would make larger batches than normal and consequently run into freshness issues. It seems like NEIPAs are normally made and sold in smaller batches than you see with most popular seasonals, which allows for quicker sale and drinking of said batches. Year round small batch production is probably better for the freshness aspect than one or two big seasonal batches.
  40. Junior

    Junior Disciple (308) May 23, 2015 Michigan

    I wish more beers were seasonal.
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