If there’s one thing we can’t do as a society in 2015, it’s wait. We can’t wait on anything. Breaking news, food orders, airplanes. You name it, we hate waiting on it.
This is no more true than in the annual emergence of holiday transitions. Marketing for Christmas starts in October, Halloween in August, and Independence Day decoration starts as soon as Memorial Day has passed. As soon as we see something on the horizon, we just need it to hurry up and get here.
The arrival of the pumpkinification of everything creeps ever earlier each year. Thanksgiving and Halloween both utilize the iconic gourd in varying capacity, so this double whammy of seasonality explains its enduring popularity.
Lattes, candy, baked goods — hell, even chewing gum jumps on the pumpkin wagon. Like most things, craft beer falls in line with seasonal popularity and many craft brewers have no problem wearing this as a badge of honor.
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As for pumpkin beer arrivals, they follow on the heels of Oktoberfest releases, which seem to drop mostly in August and September. Fort Worth’s Martin House’s hilariously named (and delicious) SeptemberFest is a tongue-in-cheek jab at most brewers’ premature tendencies. Pumpkin beers start popping up in early September and continue strong through November.
Despite all this get-off-my-lawn grumpiness, it should be noted that some pumpkin and pumpkin-themed beers are a welcome arrival at any time of the year. One example is Lakewood’s Punkel.
Distinctive among most craft beer contemporaries, Punkel actually contains no pumpkin at all. Rather, its inclusion of the spices and flavors of pumpkin pie make its flavor profile goal a bit different.
Pumpkin itself is relatively mild and sweet, while the nutmeg and cinnamon that most would associate with pumpkin products are the real stars. Punkel puts those front and center but keeps things light in body, as the base beer is a German-style dunkel lager. Its September arrival means it’s still a jillion degrees outside, so its light body is certainly a plus.
Regardless of the weather, this will stand up well all the way through to Thanksgiving, where Punkel would shine mightily at the dinner table.
Brewer’s Ball tickets: North Texas Beer Week’s Brewer’s Ball will be Nov. 13 at the Renaissance Hotel Dallas, and tickets are now on sale and going quickly. Only 500 tickets are available, so this premier event is sure to sell out in its second year. The event will feature brewmasters, founders and owners of some of the country’s preeminent breweries as well as top local breweries, and attendees will have a chance to try rare beers as well as small plates from some of DFW’s best restaurants. Don’t sleep on this one. $125 per person; 21 and over only. ntxbeerweek.com.
Brewfest in Dallas: The 5th Annual Dallas Observer Brewfest will be held at Dallas Farmers Market from 7 to 10 p.m. Saturday. It will feature more than 400 beers to sample, live music and local food vendors at the open-air venue. Tickets are $45 in advance, $55 at the gate (if tickets are still available). http://microapp.dallasobserver.com/brewfest/2015.