By now we’ve all become accustomed to seasonal creep with our beers. Summer lagers showing up in April; pumpkin ales arriving in August; this year at least one brewery of German heritage released Oktoberfest in July. Like some others, I’ve begun thinking ahead to make sure I stock up on seasonal beers early so I’m not left serving holiday spiced beers at my Fourth of July barbecue. (A slight exaggeration.)
One thing that we can’t move is holidays. These have been in place for generations, and while some dates might change from year to year, we all know when to generally expect them. In our cover story this month, Nick Yates explores the biggest beer holiday: Oktoberfest. However, his reporting takes us well beyond Bavaria to China, where that country has embraced the celebration, staying true to many of the traditions while putting its own stamp on it as well.
In November, we celebrate Veterans Day, honoring the service of all those who have gone above and beyond to defend the freedoms we enjoy. After leaving active service, a number of soldiers have opened breweries. Ben Keene examines the growing ranks of veterans who are brewers, the beers they are producing and how they are giving back to their local communities. For these brewers, the service never ends.
Like beer, it seems that holiday promotions keep coming earlier and earlier. Halloween candy with your back-to-school supplies, anyone? Well, we’re no exception. The staff put together a winter holiday gift guide that has all your beer needs and desires covered. Just make sure you leave the magazine open to the guide when you’re done to get that subtle hint across.
Speaking of timing, consider timeless beers. Contained in the pages this month is Stephen Beaumont’s observations on golden ale, a style that we are all familiar with, but that fell out of fashion for a while. Thankfully, it’s making a comeback.
As time rolls on, change is inevitable. Close observers of the magazine will notice a new name under the news editor position. We’re happy to welcome Heather Vandenengel into the role that was helmed by Gregg Glaser. Gregg is a knowledgeable and talented guy, and we were lucky to have for so long in our pages. He’s a man with a healthy love of spirits: Check out his Modern Distillery Age publication for great insight into the world of whiskey and more. My personal thanks and a tip of the newsman hat to Gregg for a job well done. We’re also saying goodbye to Amy Dalton, a long-time employee who ran the magazine’s advertising department, where she helped establish and foster many wonderful relationships in the industry. She was a constant figure at beer events around the country. She’s off to new adventures.
As for me, it’s just before Labor Day as I write this, and I’m off in search of a refreshing Berliner Weisse to help beat the summer heat. I hope I’m not too late.
John is the editor of All About Beer Magazine and the author of three books, including The American Craft Beer Cookbook. Find him on Twitter @John_Holl.