524. New Belgium Brewing – Snow Day Winter Ale

524. New Belgium Brewing - Snow Day Winter Ale My wife was out shopping, and came home with a six pack of this. I haven’t had it yet, so I thought I’d give it a try. The bottle says, “With 3 feet of powder closing the roads, a brewery is not a bad place to get snowed in. Given the unanticipated hall pass of a snow day, our brewers decided to experiment. Hmm… what about this dark caramel roasted midnight wheat braced with a serious load of Styrian Goldings, Centennial and Cascade hops? Shovel it in. What a deliciously unexpected way to spend a snow day!

Location: Poured into a Stella Artois chalice glass from the bottle at my home in Bloomington, IL.

Numbers: 6.2% ABV, ~ 180 Calories

Appearance & Aroma: It’s deep, dark brown in color, nearly black. It appears to be clear, with brown highlights when held up to the light. It’s got a decent amount of carbonation in it, leaving an inch thick creamy, off-white colored head. It’s got a floral, and a bit of a piney hop aroma to it.

Taste & Feel: The body is medium and the mouthfeel Is mostly smooth with a little bit of crispness from the hops. The flavor up front is a bit sweet and caramel malty, but the hop flavors and bitterness kick in quickly. There’s a resiny-piney hop flavor in the middle, with some malty caramel flavor in the background. The piney hop flavors grow in the finish, joined by a bit of floral hop character. In the aftertaste, those hop flavors stick around for a bit.

Food Pairing: This is a fairly hoppy beer, and should probably be paired with a solid meal.  Since it’s a winter beer, I think it would go nicely with a bowl of chili, as it would knock down the hoppiness easily, yet the caramel maltiness would mix nicely with the chili.

Overall Impression: While this beer calls itself a winter ale, I’d consider it to be a dark IPA. It’s got a good mix of sweet, caramel, malty flavors and hoppy bitterness and flavor, but the amount of caramel maltiness might throw it out of even the dark IPA category. The mix of flavors work well together, and it was very drinkable and enjoyable. Overall, I thought this was a pretty good beer and I might get some to put away for our next snow day.

My Rating: ★★★½☆

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Author: Kevin

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