What Kind of Potato Chips Goes with Vanilla-Flavored Bourbon Ale?

In case you haven’t been in the beer section of your local ale purveyor in the last couple of days, let me be the first to alert you that the seasonal beers have arrived. And while rushing the season with early in-store holiday decorations (I’m talkin’ to you, Cost Plus) can get me a little homicidal, somehow seeing a nice Deschutes Jubelale or a Widmer Snowplow in October gives me a warm feeling inside.

That is, until I read that Miller and Anheuser-Busch are rolling out their own versions of holiday-themed beers. With flavors like pumpkin ale and vanilla-flavored bourbon ale (not to mention chocolate stout), it sounds like the beer-making elves at big brewers have been inspired by a trip to the ice cream shop.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not averse to a flavored beer now and then (I developed an expensive passion for Lindemans PĂȘche this summer), but I worry that Miller’s and Anheuser-Busch’s move toward flavoring their beers is just another step down the road to the complete Starbucks-ization of our culture, as beverages get sweeter and sweeter until we all end up drinking pure high-fructose corn syrup.