The odd thing about the whole "oooh, I hate pumpkin beer and especially this early stuff" is how it is a complaint against homogeneity and bandwagoning. Consider this and then let's all gather back, shall we?
They started piling up in my inbox in early August. Press releases, new ones coming in every day, heralding the debut of a new pumpkin porter here and a returning pumpkin ale there. EARLY AUGUST. The beaches were still packed with tourists, it was about a hundred thousand degrees outside, and kids hadn’t even returned to school. And yet, the deluge of pumpkin seasonals had begun. This is the craft beer equivalent of getting Christmas discount fliers in September. It’s not ok. And so I feel it necessary to issue a request to the craft beer community: Can we cool it a bit on pumpkin beer?
I was thinking of this when I was in Maine last month - in the first half of August - and no matter where I was, the city market or the grocery, there already was pumpkin ale everywhere. Stacks of it. Shoving aside the specials on bulk Charmin at aisle's end. Unigourd. The only thing that was not pushed aside was the IPA in various brands and blends. Designs and claims of all sorts pronounced IPA here, IPA there, in fact. All fairly samey, all fairly... samey. An ocean of IPA there next to the ocean. Try this. Put "grapefruit" and "IPA" in to Twitter and see what happens. Thousands of 140 character odes to the same flavour. The one same flavour. Sure some of the tweets about about brands labeled to let you know there is actual grapefruit added to the grapefruit flavoured IPA to make it more an homage aux les pamplemousse. But that's what so much of it is.
Remind me. Before the internet was anyone actually interested that much in gourds in August or grapefruit in anything? Forget the internet - before social media? I don't mean beer geeks or gourd marketers. Was anybody actually interested. No. So what brought us here? Here in this standardized globalized homogenize semi-range of a few otherwise fairly unpopular flavours? Demand. Must be that. Demand.