Food & Drink

Way Too Soon for Pumpkin Ales, Even in Michigan

August 20, 2019, 11:22 AM by  Alan Stamm

Some free-thinkers treat calendars as an artifical construct, ignored at will. These anarchists toss Christmas in July parties or light fireworks months before Independence Day and months after.

Even school superintendents brush tradition aside and summon kids back before Labor Day, as nearly 200 Michigan districts are doing this month. Summer break already is over for some Madison Heights students, as well as for pupils at two Kalamazoo elementary schools.

We get all that, but can't swallow pumpkin ale in August -- and not just because Metro Detroit temperatures are expected to hit the high 80s today and stay well above 70 at least another week. 

Griffin Claw says this as though "now" is a good thing.

So hold your fall beers, Griffin Claw and New Holland. 

Sending pumpkin-spiced brews to shops and bars two weeks before Labor Day puts the crafty in craft ale. It may seem like sharp marketing, but it rushes the season at a time when visions of sand castles, sailboats, ice cream and fireflies still dance in our heads.

We wince at this WDIV headline: "Fall brew hits shelves Tuesday." Web producer Amber Ainsworth relays word from Griffin Claw Brewing Co. in Birmingham about "great news for all our pumpkin beer fanatics" -- Screamin' Pumpkin Ale is ready to quaff.

Too soon, much too soon.

The local brewer, bracing for righteous rips like this one, adds on Instagram: "Please refrain from killing their vibe with 'it's too early!' and 'it's still summer.'"

Uh, no.

Over near our state's left coast, for those who think cinnamon and nutmeg belong in beer, New Holland Brewing Co. also races ahead with early distribution of six-packs and kegs of Ichabod Pumpkin Ale. "This limited-batch ale remains one of our most anticipated releases every fall," vice president Joel Petersen says in a release.

Listen to yourself, Joel -- every fall, not every August.  

For both calendar-jumping beweries, and others in Michigan, we call attention to a timeless lesson from the Book Ecclesiastes:

To everything, there is a season 
And a time to every purpose . . .

To that, we raise a frosty mug of crisp, pale summer ale.

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Potd_freejoeexoticpotd_554 "Free Joe Exotic!", found on the East Side of Detroit

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