Let It Snow, Let It Snow… Let It Snow
by Chrissy Cooper
Now that the holidays are over and the New Year has begun, the idea of snow seems a little less disruptive and way more fun. I love the muffled sound of the world after several inches or more of the white stuff has fallen, even in the city things are softer and less harsh, like a blanket of peace that falls over everything. Maybe if we do a naked snow dance while drinking one of the tasty beers below, we might get some flakes to fall from the sky in that beautiful way that never fails to make me feel like a child again… Even if only for a moment. Even if there isn’t snow on the ground or in the air the following beers are a great choice to snuggle up with on a cold winter’s day…
Pray for Snow
10 Barrel Brewing Company, Bend, OR
Winter Ale | 7% ABV | 65 IBUs
This beer pours like liquid mahogany into a glass, it is a warm, spice filled beer that definitely lives up to the reputation of a winter warmer, but it is more hoppy than I normally like my beers to be… that being said the malty, toffee flavor does an excellent job of balancing the hoppy aftertaste. 10 Barrel Brewing donates a percentage of all sales of Pray for Snow to Protect Our Winters (POW). POW works to educate and advocate protecting our environment, specifically to prevent the negative effects of climate change.
Snow and Tell
Boulevard Brewing Company, Kansas City, MO
Scotch Ale/ Wee Heavy | 7.3% ABV | 28 IBUs
Though this is not a winter ale there is something very warming about the dark maltiness of a good wee heavy to help warm your soul on a cold winter’s day. Before you even take a sip, if you take the time to inhale, you will be able to pick up the sweet toffee aroma that translates into a slightly sweet toffee flavor that comes at the beginning of each mouthful. After the toffee flavor there is a hint of caramel that flows into the smoky maltiness that leaves me thinking of baked caramel drizzle on a tasty cake or dessert.
Crux Fermentation Project, Bend, OR
Winter Ale | 8% ABV | 20 IBUs
I am a huge fan of Crux FP and the strange and interesting beers that they brew, but this is not my favorite. Don’t get me wrong it is still a good beer, but it was not what I expected. I will do my best to give you an idea about expecting the unexpected overall flavor profiles in this beer… They call it a winter ale, but it is missing the warming spices that usually go with that style. It comes across a little more like a Belgian… maybe a dubbel. The beginning is slightly sweet and almost, but not quite plum-like, but the end is very sharp and dry. For my tastes the belgian yeast gives it a bit too much of a hoppy taste that I generally don’t love about IPA’s and pales. Don’t let the 20 IBUs fool you this beer packs a bit of that hoppy type punch.
I am by no means any type of expert in the matter of beer. I am merely someone who enjoys and loves the vast and varied tastes and flavors of beer. Most of the beers that I review I have never tasted before. I go to one of my favorite couple bottle shops with a theme in mind… which I sometimes stick to and sometimes do not… pick out a few beers that sound interesting, tasty, etc and wish myself luck that I will truly like the beer. In the journey that writing this article has become, my favorite thing is how much I am learning about beer along the way.
Even if I review beers that you know that you wouldn’t like, I hope that my experiences can inspire you to expand your beer horizons and try something different just as I have done.
I wish you nothing but the best for the coming year and I am serious about that naked snow dance… Find yourself a beer you love and dance as if no one is watching!