What are seasonal beers?
With the word seasonal beer, we mean those drinks produced in some periods of the year or in case of special moments. In practice, the brew master connects a particular beer to an event that can be a religious celebration (Christmas or Easter for instance), or other events with a significant meaning for a great number of people or for a community. One of the most popular event is Oktoberfest, the party is that take place traditionally in October in Germany, in the centre of Monaco, during which many breweries foresees the release of drinks produced specifically for the occasion.
A need from the past
In order to understand better the phenomenon it is necessary to remind that in the past the production of food, as beer, was strictly connected to its immediate consumption. The raw materials should come from near territories, because of the lack of tools to preserve them, besides the danger and the costs that derive from the transport, often adventurous. Also the need to preserve and control the temperatures could influence the production of a product tied to the fermentation. In this frame, seasonal beers represented, thus, a need.
From Bavaria to the rest of the continent
The impossibility to produce the same beer in different seasons brought the brew masters of Bavaria, an area traditionally tied to this beverage, to dedicate great attention to the production according to certain events of the year. Here the consumption of beer was almost compulsory as it was a moment of socialization. Not only Oktoberfest but also other events as for example the wedding of a prince, a birth, the arrival of a new season. A custom that from Bavaria has spread immediately in many other countries of Europe, with the same success. Above all in England with its Bitter beers with a special barley, or in Belgium, with the use of spices and in Scotland with Moors Herbs.
Seasonal beers today
Naturally today the situation has changed and seasonal beers are no more a necessity but a pleasure for the consumers, above all the ones who want to experiment new horizons rather than the standard flavours of the industrial beers.
Actually, the fact that they are tied to particular moments and seasons, make this product unique and peculiar. To know better what we are talking about, it is important to say that the so called summer beer is produced within the month of march, as the period of maturation of the drink involves a cycle that can last from two to four months. Christmas beer, one of the most known in this season, is produced during the hot season when the temperatures rise.
It is a moment that contribute to make the beer richer and full or aromas. In this way, seasonal beers tied their presence just in some periods of the year, even when they can’t be available.
The trend of the phenomena
Seasonal beer found the way to spread even in Italy in the recent years, when always a greater number of passionate started to look for particular products and different from the industrial beers. For this reason, many microbreweries see the possibility to oversee on another market, creating high-quality beers.
In other cases, however, the trend overcome the needs to experiment new ways, in exchange for a flattening in the quality. An example is the fact of the microbreweries that decided to produce Christmas beers, inflating the market with a low-quality product.