When the temperatures plummet and the days grow shorter, it’s scientifically proven that the body goes into “cold weather” mode. Much like the mighty grizzly bear stocking up for the long winter months, we are drawn to comfort foods like hearty soups, pasta dishes and massive hamburgers to stave off starvation, especially after a long day of slaying the slopes.
But what about quenching a mighty thirst? After a day on the snow, you need something tasty and situationally apropos. Sure, you could cuddle up with a hot toddy or Irish coffee, but what you really need is beer. More specifically, beer that reflects your love of snow. You need…snow beer.
No, it’s not beer made from snow. That would be too easy. The following are the best beers that evoke snow. From breweries around the country (even some that you wouldn’t expect to appreciate snow), these beers will appeal to your winter-loving nature and adventurous palate.
1. Silent Snow WIPA
Snowbank Brewing Company
Fort Collins, CO
A brand new brewery out of Fort Collins, Snowbank Brewing Company just opened in August but is charging out of the gate with the Silent Snow WIPA. Featuring orange blossom with a hint of spicy coriander on the nose, a sweet hay and honey flavor with a citrusy, earthy bitter finish, Silent Snow is “a bold beer, masked by a pretty name,” said Becki Kregoski, Taproom Manager and Certified Cicerone®.
“The heft of the ABV (clocking in at 6.0%) makes this a surprisingly perfect winter warmer,” continued Kregoski. “The combination of hops, funky Belgian yeast and high alcohol content blend together to create a rich, yet easy drinking, beer with an image of cascading snowfall in every glass.”
2. Pray for Snow
10 Barrel Brewing Company
Pray for Snow is not just a beer—it’s also a winter kick-off party for 10 Barrel (they even raffle off lift tickets). A winter ale with caramel notes and a bit of rum raisin and date in the profile, Pray for Snow is a hefty beer (as your desire for snow should be) but is balanced with accents of citrus and pine.
3. Blizzard Bock
Flying Bison Brewing Company
A classic German-style dunkel, Flying Bison’s Blizzard Bock is a winter warmer that is sure to satisfy your senses. Toasted malt combines with caramel and toffee sweetness, along with seasonal spices to round off the experience. An added bonus? This beer is a big taste without a huge ABV, so you can enjoy more than one while lounging by the fireplace.
4. Ski Bum
Ellicottville Brewing Co
Brand new for the winter season, Ski Bum is a sessionable Auburn ale from Ellicottville Brewing Co, located in the heart of New York’s ski country. If you’re looking for a light, quaffable beer that is well-balanced and inoffensive, this is your new go-to. It’s moderately hoppy, moderately biscuit-y and entirely enjoyable.
5. Blizzard of Hops Winter IPA
Created to celebrate the end of the harvest and hop cycle, Blizzard of Hops is a different type of Winter IPA. It’s lighter than some other offerings, with a citrusy and piney bite that you could enjoy during the summer months as well. With an inoffensive hop bite, this could be a great “starter IPA” for those who are nervous to get into the style.
6. Yellow Snow IPA
No, it’s not a good idea to eat yellow snow. Drinking it, however? That’s another story. Rogue’s Yellow Snow IPA eschews common sense, serving up a big hop flavor with a medium body and a lingering bitterness associated with a tasty IPA. Stick your nose in for the fruity, hoppy aroma and take a second to appreciate its pale golden color before you start swigging. Yellow snow, indeed.
7. Slopestyle Winter IPA
Boulder Beer Company
New for this snow season, Boulder Beer Company is shaking things up with a red ale for winter. Yes, red. A hearty offering perfect for the cold weather IPA, Slopestyle brews this full-bodied ale with five malts and the kick of Horizon hops, creating a hop kicker (get it? Slopestyle? Kicker?) for your taste buds at the end. Stock up while you can—this new seasonal is only available until March.
8. Snow Wit White IPA
Sierra Nevada Brewing Company
Playing more to the heroine than meteorological phenomenon, Snow Wit White IPA incorporates seven varieties of experimental dwarf hops (no, the names are not Bashful, Grumpy or Sleepy) to create a magical brew with a Belgian accent. This beer has more of a Wit characteristic than an IPA but retains the hops—bananas and spicy cloves hit your nose while the flavor is an interesting mix of banana and hops.
Rahr & Sons Brewing Company
Fort Worth, TX
Though Texas is not known for its massive snowfalls, Snowmageddon was brewed to memorialize those who helped rebuild Rahr & Sons after heavy snowfall collapsed their roof in 2010. Combining dark coffee aromas and chocolate flavors, Snowmaggedon is a quintessential winter beer: bold and rich but smooth and not overly sweet. It’s tasty enough to wish for a snow day.
10. Snow Wheat
Short’s Brewing Company
A Hefeweizen, for winter? Well, when you’re Short’s in Michigan, the unexpected is par for the course. Snow Wheat is perfect for those still grasping for a bit of sunshine and the easy-going flavors of sunshine. Enjoy Snow Wheat on a deck with as few layers as you can manage without incurring frostbite.
And a few more…
While these are the top “snow” beers, this is by no means an exhaustive list of winter-inspired beers. Here are few more to add to your “sample” list:
11. Yard Sale Ale
Tamarack Brewing Company
12. Accumulation White IPA
New Belgium Brewing Company
Fort Collins, CO
13. Yard Sale
Uinta Brewing Company
Salt Lake City, UT
14. Après Shred
Big Choice Brewing