Written by E.D. Kain for forbes.com
Back in 2003 I lived with my then-girlfriend (now-wife) in Denver, CO not terribly far from the New Belgium brewery up in Fort Collins.
That winter there was a snow storm that ground the city to a halt. And not just Denver, but the entire foothills stretch from Colorado Springs in the south to Fort Collins in the north. Some areas had several feet of snow, others had even more.
The city was shutdown. All the roads were closed to everyone except emergency and police vehicles. Nobody went to work. Iâ€™ve since only seen one storm that even came close, and that was two winters ago in Northern Arizona.
All of which brings me to Snow Day, the new winter ale from New Belgium, a brew which took its inspiration from that very same storm in 2003:
“In 2003, we had a massive 37-inch snowstorm over two days in Fort Collins. Everything shut down for a couple days â€“ 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, thatâ€™s the kind of emotion we put into this beer.”
(Quote from the brewer. the Professor assumes: though not credited in original post.)
I had the pleasure of sampling Snow Day the last two nights, and Iâ€™m equally pleased to say that itâ€™s delicious. Itâ€™s as hoppy as you might expect from a New Belgium ale, and just dark enough for the dark days of winter. They put an aptly named â€œmidnight wheatâ€ malt into the brew, and balance that against Styrian Golding, Centennial, and Cascade hops. Itâ€™s dark and strong and sweet â€“ the sort of beer you could easily start drinking at breakfast if you were snowed in. Itâ€™s almost enough to make me wish for snow.
I drank the wintery ale out of one of New Belgiumâ€™s new glasses (pictured above next to the bottle of Snow Day) which they were kind enough to send my way.
The company is selling these glasses and donating $1 of each purchase to a non-profit which you can select at the time of purchase. New Belgium has always been big on clean water and environmental sustainability and the non-profits reflect this, ranging from clean water initiatives to pro-biking organizations (New Belgium runs the Tour de Fat beer-and-cycling tour through 13 beer-loving cities which, once upon a time, included my home town of Flagstaff, AZ until we all got way too drunk and the city banned it.)
But in any case, glass or no, Snow Day is an excellent new winter brew and a welcome addition to the New Belgium lineup. Winter is coming, as Ned Stark would say, and you might as well have a good beer in hand.