Beer Review: New Belgium Snow Day Winter Ale

In honor of the apocalyptic snowfall in the DC area today…

Call up the National Guard!

…we have New Belgium’s Snow Day Winter Ale.  Ooooh, timely.  And New Belgium is relatively new to the DC area, so even better.

Further, the season draws near.  People are already gnashing their teeth and rending their garments at the too early arrival of Christmas decorations and displays.  And soon we will prod our children to sit on the lap of a sketchy, red velvet clad, bearded guy who ate a bowl of Parliament smokes and Aristocrat Vodka for breakfast.  Or perhaps gambling with a clay top is more your bag…whatever…I’m not here to judge.  In any case, we also see the arrival of winter ales.

It pours dark brown, with a light brown head that leaves some decent lacing. At first smell I am smacked by the spicy and piney hops, which is a little unexpected.  The taste is also dominated by the hops, with a roasty malt flavor in the backseat. The finish is dry with a pleasant bitterness.

But this thing is as winter seasonal as hydroponic blueberries. I want Old Fezziwig’s fruitcake, Mad Elf’s honey and cherries, Affligem Noel’s rum-soaked raisins, or Samichlaus’ 15% ABV “is it hot in here or is it just my reindeer sweater?”.

I guess the hops provided some spicyness, and some jokers on beeradvocate.com tell me I should taste cocoa powder and cinnamon stick.  But Snow Day is as winter to me as today’s impotent snowstorm.

Winter beer stuff aside, however, I thought it was OK. The character of the malt leaves a bit to be desired, and the mouthfeel is a little thin.  This sort of thing happens with black IPA-type beers.  Southern Tier Iniquity is one of the few that pulls it off.

Maybe the New Belgium 1554 in the fridge will knock my wool socks off a little more.

The Haybag: Are you crazy? This is good.  The hops are nice, and there is some spice in there as well. It’s definitely a winter beer.  Wait. Didn’t I donate your ugly-ass reindeer sweater to Goodwill?

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