Last night, a friend and I were out barhopping around Penn Quarter. Our nightcap was at Hill Country, because it’s hard to pass up that late-night happy hour with $3 PBR and $5 margaritas. As I made my way to the bar, I noticed that there was a new addition to the half-dozen Shiner beers on tap: Shiner Holiday Cheer.
A Christmas beer. In October.
I realize that we can’t go back to the days when Santa didn’t make his appearance in department stores until the day after Thanksgiving, but this seems to be a little much. (Especially when it’s going to be close to 80 degrees today.)
Of course, this isn’t just a problem with Christmas beers — “seasonal creep” means that pumpkin beers now show up in stores around Labor Day, before the fruit has even ripened in the fields, and Oktoberfest beers arrive on tap weeks before the celebrations begin.
But a Christmas beer a full two months before Christmas?
Great Lakes has the right idea: The Ohio brewery is launching its annual Christmas Ale with a big party at Meridian Pint on November 1. That’s a little over a week from now, but there’s a psychological difference between drinking a rich, spiced holiday ale in mid-October and tapping it in November. How early are you willing to start drinking a “holiday” beer?