We’ll admit it: sometimes a winter lager sounds delicious in the summertime. So why are seasonal beers seasonal and not served year-round at our favorite Flagstaff breweries?
It all comes down to the supply of beer ingredients.
Back in the day, brewing was a fall and winter activity. That’s because new barley was harvested and workers no longer needed to put in long days in the field.
Cooler weather was better to store beer longer, so high-alcohol beers like stouts and double bocks were brewed. By the summertime, lighter and quick-fermenting beers like pilsners and pale ales were brewed with what barley and hops were still left.
We have the technology today to brew winter lagers in the summertime. But breweries don’t. Why not?
Today, it’s all about pleasing the palate.
We crave lighter beers in the summertime and heavier beers in the winter. So brewers serve beer to please customer demand.
But that’s not the only reason.
Seasonal beer means brewer experimentation. Breweries in Flagstaff brew their signature beers year-round, the ones that keep us coming through their doors for all seasons. Brewing a smaller batch of a seasonal beer lets our local brewers experiment. If a seasonal brew sells well, it has a better chance of earning a permanent spot on the menu.
The truth is that we enjoy the anticipation. There’s more meaning to the season with a seasonal beer, be it summer or winter. A seasonal beer may only be served for one season, and that gives us more incentive to try it before the tap runs dry.
What is your favorite seasonal beer? Is it a summer ale or a winter lager?