Seasonality and Brews: Picking the Right Brew for the Season

A man sitting on a couch in a brewery with a beer flight on the table in front of him

As the cold weather approaches again, breweries around the state–and the world–are transitioning their taps to reflect the season. While we might all know that lagers and hoppy, dry beers are common in the summer and dark beers resurface for the winter, did you ever wonder why?

Brews transition with the season for various reasons, like the availability of resources, brew and flavor, and customers’ demand. Let’s look at what makes a seasonal beer popular (or unpopular) at certain times of the year. 

How Seasonal Beers are Categorized

In general, summer is the season for light, refreshing brews, while dark and complex beers are saved for winter. Fall and spring beers often land somewhere in between, quite literally transitioning with the season. From there, we have seasonal beers that can be flavored to match the time of year, such as pumpkin brews in the fall or citrusy beers in the summer.

Many of these seasonal distinctions have sprung up with the popularity of homebrewers and craft brewing. The available ingredients can sometimes dictate seasonal brews, and the demand from customers also drives them. For example, if your customers want a cream ale for summer or a dark blend for the winter, seeking their approval will make a huge difference in sales.

The Basics of Seasonal Beer Profiles

Creating your distinctive seasonal brews is a great way to try new things while broadening your knowledge of craft beer and brewing. Thinking of this, let’s go over the familiar flavor profiles in seasonal brews.

Spring Beer Styles

Winter is over, and the weather is warming! Celebrate with something light, flowery, and citrusy. Typical spring flavors include:

  • Dry and crisp
  • Complex saisons
  • Fresh, flowery hops
  • German bocks
  • Hints of pine

Summer Beer Styles

As the heat turns up, the beers cool down. Summer beer drinkers seek cooling, refreshing drinks to pass long summer days. Common summer beer flavors include:

  • Fruity shandies
  • What beers
  • Pale, hoppy brews
  • Classic pilsners
  • Hazy IPAs
  • Sour beers

Fall Beer Styles

As the temps start to cool, beer drinkers look to cozy up with something flavorful and more complex than simple summer refreshers. Heavier, fuller-bodied brews begin to make their appearance again. Standard fall brews include:

  • Dark lagers
  • Pumpkin and spiced brews
  • Sweet maple flavors
  • Amber bocks
  • Oktoberfest beers

Winter Beer Styles

As the cold sets in, rib-sticking meals are paired with the heaviest and most filling brews. Creamy, full-bodied brews are expected and welcomed to pass the time cuddled in front of the fireplace. Common winter beers include:

  • Stouts: bitter, creamy, roasted, or dark
  • Porters
  • Imperial brews
  • Bourbon or barrel-aged brews
  • Chocolate and coffee flavors

Are you looking to try out a new flavor or brewing style this season? Find flavor-enhancing Oak Infusion Spirals and barrel aging equipment on our website.