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Oktoberfest and a hay ride full of different pumpkin ales have started to invade the last few blistering days of summer. Photo by Ryan Woldt
Oktoberfest and a hay wagon of different pumpkin ales have started to invade the last few blistering days of summer. Photo by Ryan Woldt
Cheers! North County Columns Food & Wine

Seasonal creep hits the beer industry for Oktoberfest

Seasonal creep is happening again and this time it’s the beer industry and Oktoberfest.

Do you remember going to department stores? Before Amazon and online shopping, if you needed a pair of sneakers, cargo shorts or a No Fear t-shirt, you’d go to the mall. You’d walk in through the sliding doors of Macy’s or Kohl’s and embrace the air-conditioned air offering respite from the wet heat that comes in the shade of late summer.

You’d walk past the hardware, treadmills and high-waisted jeans headed for the food court to a fruit smoothie. You’d be halfway through the store when your brain would comprehend the sound: Is that Nat King Cole singing Frosty the Snowman?

Why, yes it is. Christmas music in July.

Just past the jewelry counter, a couple of store employees would be setting up fake holiday trees covered in various light displays and pulling apart the white cotton ball snow to spread on the ground. You’d continue on your way and step into the mall past the Halloween costume shop that opened in June.

You’d shake your head. It gets earlier every dang year.

That’s what’s happening in the beer industry.

Pumpkin ale in August? I still use two fans at night. Photo by Ryan Woldt
Pumpkin ale in August? I still use two fans at night. Photo by Ryan Woldt

Earlier this week, I received an e-mail inviting me to try a fresh 2022 Oktoberfest bier from one of San Diego’s fine craft brewers. “Now on draft. Available in bottles and cans!”

Then I went to the liquor store. There was a huge display right by the door – Oktoberfests, Fest lagers, and even PumKing Imperial Pumpkin Ale. Pumpkin Ale! Halloween is at the end of October.

Seasonal creep must be stopped!

Oktoberfest is one of the biggest and longest-running beer festivals in the world running from late September to the first weekend in October — and that’s when I want to drink Oktoberfest.

Not now. Not when I’m running two fans in hopes of staying cool enough to fall asleep. Not now, when I’m still enjoying sweet shandies and ice cold light lagers during a day at the beach. Not now. The beach is still packed on Sunday evenings, and half the cars parked on my street rotate in and out from Arizona. It’s too hot to visit the desert and red streaks of summer sunsets are still painting the sky.

I’m taking a stand. Despite my documented love for the fall Märzenbier, no Oktoberfest-style beers will pass these lips until the first day of Munich’s annual festival, which kicks off this year on Sept. 17. Not because I don’t love them, but because I don’t want to see pumpkin ales in August or spicy wintery stouts in September, or a watermelon wheat ale in February.

As Thomas Haynes Bayly wrote in 1844, “Absence makes the heart grow fonder.”

Ryan Woldt also hosts the Roast! West Coast coffee podcast. Stream it on the Coast News Podcast page, and be sure to follow and share your drinking adventures with Cheers! North County on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram.

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