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True Winter Seasonals

Michael Donato, March 25, 2014 -   

Most beer volume results are heavily weighted based on the size of the brewery crafting them. Clearly some batches of beers contain many more barrels than others, but it's still interesting to see what beers were actually consumed this winter by volume.

To help mitigate the brewery-size issue I compared the results of winter against the results of fall and am only including beers that had twice the number of check-ins in winter as they did in fall. This won't completely solve the issue, but it will gives us beers that were clearly more common in the colder season.

Brewery

Beer

Style

BAR

Style+

Winter Rating

Samuel Adams

Rebel IPA

American IPA

-0.306

93.07

3.556

Lagunitas Brewing Company

Lagunitas Sucks - Brown Shugga' Substitute Ale

Imperial / Double IPA

9.114

104.08

4.257

Bell's Brewery, Inc.

Hopslam Ale

Imperial / Double IPA

14.464

111.00

4.542

Tröegs Brewing Company

Nugget Nectar

Imperial / Double Red Ale

11.439

111.56

4.306

Green Flash Brewing Co.

Palate Wrecker

Imperial / Double IPA

5.730

100.57

4.130

Deschutes Brewery

Red Chair NWPA

American Pale Ale

5.134

104.56

3.842

Goose Island Beer Co.

Ten Hills Pale Ale

American Pale Ale

0.969

95.87

3.514

Founders Brewing Company

Imperial Stout

Russian Imperial Stout

5.504

102.60

4.172

Dogfish Head Craft Brewery

Piercing Pils

Perry

1.940

99.89

3.559

Abita Brewing Company

Grapefruit Harvest IPA

American IPA

-0.243

93.07

3.575

This chart is ordered by the top 10 beers with the biggest differential in winter check-ins against autumn ones. Right at the top you can see what's likely a result of volume; Sam Adams is a pretty big brewery with a wide distribution. Most of these other beers do alright for themselves though, and while they're not adhering to any real winter theme or style they do represent what we spent the winter drinking. 

Interestingly, Sam Adam's Oktoberfest is at the bottom of this chart as the beer with the most fall check-ins compared to winter. 

Brewery

Beer

Style

Fall Rating

Dogfish Head Craft Brewery

Punkin Ale

Pumpkin/Yam Beer

3.902

Shipyard Brewing Company

Pumpkinhead Ale

Pumpkin/Yam Beer

3.734

Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.

Celebration Ale (2013)

American IPA

3.895

Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.

Flipside Red IPA

Imperial / Double Red Ale

3.730

Southern Tier Brewing Company

Warlock

American Imperial / Double Stout

4.182

Green Flash Brewing Co.

Green Bullet

Imperial / Double IPA

4.004

Boston Beer Company (Samuel Adams)

Samuel Adams Winter Lager

Winter Lager

3.524

Founders Brewing Company

Breakfast Stout

American Imperial / Double Stout

4.410

Southern Tier Brewing Company

Pumking

Pumpkin/Yam Beer

4.234

Boston Beer Company (Samuel Adams)

Samuel Adams Octoberfest

Oktoberfest/Märzen

3.759

Now this looks a lot more like a list of fall seasonals. You do find a little of the seasonal creep that many craft beer fans lament; Sam Adams Winter Lager should probably not have more check-ins in the fall than in the winter. 

Fall has a clearly defined list of seasonal styles and beers, but it seems that winter doesn't have that same set of beers that you can truly define as winter seasonals. Most of what we are drinking in the colder months are just the beers that breweries happen to release around that time. Lost in this chart is the fresh-hop season, which happens after the Oktoberfest and pumpkins, although there should be some correlation in the harvest of fresh hops and fresh pumpkin.

Perhaps it's time to define beer seasons; ones that don't necessarily coorelate with the Gregorian Calendar as we know it. 

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