Update, 7/30/2014: 10 Barrel Brewing Company has issued a voluntary recall for its Swill radler that was featured in this list. A secondary fermentation led to over-carbonation and the potential for exploding bottles. Contact and refund information can be found on the brewery's Facebook page.
PORTLAND, Ore. (TheStreet) -- There are weeks full of hot, sunny vacation days between now and Labor Day, but on the beer calendar the summer is almost over.
Summer beer styles are fading slowly out of the beer aisle as brewers get ready for fall and try to time demand down to that last day of labor day vacation. According to the Treasury Department's Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau, July is the last of the peak summer months for beer sales. Shipments that fester around 14 million to 15 million barrels through spring suddenly jump to about 18.5 million barrels in May and June before settling in a 18 million or so in July. By August, it's down to roughly 17 million barrels before collapsing to as low as 13.6 million by December.
Brewers realize that you'll drink summer beers as long as you have that warm sun and vacation time to look forward to. That's why summer styles will show up in late March or early April when drinkers are just starting to thaw out from their winter doldrums. When back-to-school shopping begins, brewers who put a lot of their seasonal production toward the front end just to make sure there isn't a whole bunch of summer ale lingering around after Labor Day are rewarded as supply shrinks with demand.
With 3,000 brewers throughout the U.S., that's a whole lot of summer beer to get through before the pumpkin ales and malty fall varieties start showing up in August. We've spent the whole summer tracking summer beer trends and getting a sense of what styles are selling and have discovered that Anheuser-Busch InBev and SABMiller/MolsonCoors joint venture MillerCoors have just as much invested in seasonal beers these days as smaller brewers including the Craft Brew Alliance (Redhook, Widmer Brother and Kona) and Boston Beer (Samuel Adams, Traveler, Angry Orchard).
As the sun sets on this summer's seasonal beers, we offer up 10 that you should try before your grocery store starts stocking backpacks and notebooks in the seasonal aisle and before the beer aisle starts looking like the refrigerator at a Halloween party: