Colder temperatures are finally here, and with them, the joy of winter seasonal beers from my favorite brewers. While at the store last weekend, I came across a sixer of New Belgium’s Snow Day Winter Ale, and decided to give it a try.
I’m not quite sure what I was expecting here – I typically like New Belgium, but I think winter ales tend to be the most random of the seasonal brews, anywhere from spicy to malted. This one definitely falls toward the richer, heavier end of the scale, but is quite drinkable. In fact, I blew through five of the sixer without even remembering to stop and review one!
To start, Snow Day pours a very dark red color, like root beer, with a creamy and thick foam head. The aroma is a warm blend off hops and roasted malts – no spiciness to be found. The brewery says they use a new type of malt, Midnight Wheat, and three different hops: Styrian Golding, Centennial, and Cascade.
The flavor was a perfect blend of all these ingredients. It started out hoppy on the front, rich but still a little stanky. The hops faded to a little alcohol burn through the middle, surprising since Snow Day only has a 6.2% ABV, and ended with a ton of roasted sweet malts. The malts definitely stuck around for the aftertaste, only adding to the drinkability since I really wanted to just take another sip.
Snow Day is named after a massive three-foot snowstorm the New Belgium brewery experienced in 2003, and they say it was a result of bored brewers experimenting while snowed in. It may have started out as an experiment, but it wound up being a great brew, and one I’ll plan on stocking up on for the first storm of this winter!