It feels like summer has just started, but already the seasonal beers for autumn have begun rolling out of the regional breweries, and this means the summertime favorites will soon disappear from the shelves.
Seasonal creep -- when it feels like the seasonal craft beers arrive on shelves earlier with each year -- is getting increasingly out of hand. There have been reports of pumpkin beers finding their way to retail stores on the East Coast. In July. It’s madness, but it’s a result of logistical and marketing challenges for breweries with large distribution footprints, and it trickles down through the craft brewing industry.
Here are three stand-out summertime sippers that you should scoop up while you still have the chance.
Firestone Walker Easy Jack
A new brew for 2014, Easy Jack joined a wave of session IPAs that crashed on the scene a few months ago, and it’s one of the best examples of the en vogue style. Lighter in body than the brewery's similar Pale 31 pale ale, Easy Jack stands out because of the unique, intense hop character achieved with a blend of hops from across the globe. The brewery won’t package any more of the beer this year as production has transitioned to the new-to-bottles autumn favorite Oaktoberfest.
Golden Road Brewing Heal the Bay
The fan-favorite summer IPA from Golden Road -- and our Beer of the Month in June -- got a longer release window this year, but that window is closing and the brew will only be around for another month. My advice is to squirrel a 4-pack away in the back of the fridge. When Indian Summer comes in late September, you’ll be glad you have it.
Sierra Nevada Summerfest
Craft beer fans are often too quick to dismiss Sierra Nevada Brewery. They still make some of the best craft beers in the world, and thought Summerfest doesn’t get much respect, it’s a fantastic West Coast take on a refreshing pilsner. The lager is light, crisp and when it’s on sale it can be a remarkable bargain; grab a 12-pack while you still can!