Beer Man

Beer and weather: How to drink your way through seasonal confusion

The seasons in Colorado run together like oil and antifreeze on the floor at Jiffy Lube. At the supermarket, Halloween candy debuts in August, while the temperatures are still in the high 90s. Watermelons mix with peaches, while raspberries, pumpkins and roasted chiles mingle awkwardly but respectfully, like football players and theater geeks on Glee.

For beer drinkers, this time of year is even more confounding.

October has just begun, and yet Oktoberfest beers have already made way for pumpkin beers, which debuted in early September. In the meantime, fresh-hopped beers, which take advantage of hops harvests in August and September, are fighting for space with, yes, holiday beers, which are already bringing out their dark and stormy flavors. In fact, Great Divide is holding a party to release both its Fresh Hop and its Hibernation winter beer on the same day, October 8.

What's a beer drinker to do? Have patience and follow this guide to seasonal beers and weather to help you get through the next few weeks.

Temperatures in the 90s: Saisons and farmhouse ales Have we seen the last of 90-degree weather in Denver? Maybe. Maybe not. But liquor stores are putting their summer seasonals on special in order to clear room for fall and winter beers. Keep your eye out for deals. Suggestions: Great Divide Collette Breckenridge Regal Double Pilsner Temperatures in the 80s: Fresh-hopped beers Warm enough for flip-flops, cool enough to enjoy. Get 'em before they're gone. Suggestions: Ska Hoperation Ivy Sierra Nevada Harvest Great Divide Fresh Hop (release party is October 8) Temperatures in the 70s: Crisp seasonal IPAs can you feel that crispness in the air. It's just a tiny taste of what's to come. Suggestions: Ska's Euphoria is their winter beer, but it tastes better on fall days Odell St. Lupulin is a May-September beer, but you can still find it on the shelf Left Hand Warrior IPA Temperatures in the 60s: Pumpkin beers Nothing with pumpkin tastes good above 70 degrees. Suggestions: Dogfish Head Punkin There aren't many Colorado breweries that bottle their pumpkin beers, but there are plenty of brewpubs that serve them in their taprooms, including Avery's Rumpkin, Dry Dock's Pumpkin Ale and Bristol's Venetucci Pumpkin Ale. The Wynkoop taps its Drunken Pumpkin this Friday. Temperatures in the 50s and below: English strong ales, stouts The holiday beers are coming soon enough: Keep your eye out for Ten FIDY from Oskar Blues, Fade to Black (a smoked Baltic porter this year) from Left Hand. In the meantime, a handful of breweries have already jumped the gun. Suggestions: Odell Isolation hit the shelves in late September Deschutes Jubelale is also out Boulder Beer rolls out its two winter seasonals, Obovoid and Never Summer, on October 7

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Jonathan Shikes is a Denver native who writes about business and beer for Westword.
Contact: Jonathan Shikes