Review: Snow Day, New Belgium Brewing Co.

Snow Day
New Belgium Brewing Co. — Fort Collins, CO

  • Style:  Winter Warmer
  • Bitterness:  55 IBU
  • ABV: 6.2% ABV
  • Malts:  Pale, C-80, Midnight Wheat
  • Hops:  Styrian Golding, Centennial, Cascade
  • Sampled:  12 oz. bottle

Description:  "In 2003, we had a massive 37-inch snowstorm over two days in Fort Collins. Everything shut down for a couple days – no work, no school, no cars. The only way you could get around was by ski or toboggan. When we began brewing Snow Day, we looked to this one storm for inspiration. The dark characters of the malt bill reflect the dark stormy sky at the beginning of the snowfall. But on the third day, the sun broke through and everything was glorious! The name Snow Day evoked joyful freedom. Everyone remembers waiting for the school report as little kids. When you heard your school was closed, you suddenly had all day to play in the transformed, white landscape. Well, that’s the kind of emotion we put into this beer.”  — New Belgium Brewing Co.

Random thoughts:  Snow Day is replacing 2 Below as New Belgium's winter seasonal. I tasted 2 Below last year, thought it was decent, but I didn't understand what made it a winter beer. Snow Day is part of my series on 2011 winter seasonals beers.

The tasting:  Nearly black in color. When held up to the light, the color is dark ruby-red. Its tan head, made of fine bubbles, dissipated very slowly leaving plenty of lacing all over the glass. Aroma is quite hoppy and full of citrus and piney hops. There are also roasted malt and subtle coffee notes in there. Flavor of roasted malt, but the hops (citrus and piney) take center stage in flavor as well. Not a lot of malt sweetness. It's light to medium bodied, moderately carbonated, and the hop oils provide a slick, resinous mouth feel. It finishes with a lingering hoppy bitterness.

Rating:  4 star.  Really Good!  I want this again.  It's called a "Winter Ale", but Snow Day has the aroma and flavor of a CDA (Cascadian Dark Ale). Depending on your locale, you  may prefer the term Black IPA. As with 2 Below, I don't understand why this is a winter beer, but I really liked it and will pick up a few more of these before end of the season!

Have you tried Snow Day?  What's your favorite winter seasonal?

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  1. Thanks for the write up... I loved 2Below, but if it had to take leave I am glad it was replaced by Snow Day. This has been my go to beer since its release.

  2. Thanks for chiming in Michael. So do you guys consider this to be a CDA / Black IPA?

    I recently picked up your Prickly Pear Saison and look forward to tasting it soon. Has Frambozen been released yet? I wanted to add that to my next round of winter brews, but I haven't seen it yet.


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