If you have read my reviews for any length of time you could easily deduce that winter beers are my favorite seasonal style and Snow Day is definitely one of my favorites. I was actually quite surprised to see Snow Day on shelves since it was a seasonal from years ago, but since New Belgium is reviving it for this year I could not pass up the opportunity to enjoy one of my favorites again. This beer is dark, rich, and opulently flavorful, just as winter beers should be and exactly how I remembered it. Snow Day is best enjoyed on a cold night as the snow piles up outside your window and the high 6.3% abv will assuredly keep you warm and content as the long night passes.
I poured the 12 oz bottle into a New Belgium snifter glass and immediately a light brown head built thick and tall. The head dissipated extremely slowly into an equally dense pillow that rested over an ale that is so dark that it is nearly black; hardly any light permeates at all. The nose was very complicated and aerated extremely well by the thick head. The smell at first was extremely hop forward due to the the three distinct hop varieties; Cascade, Centennial, and Styrian Goldings but mellowed with the help of balanced citrus overtones.
The taste is truly surprising and the strongest aspect of the beer; I thought there would be much more maltiness and heavy acidity since that is characteristic of near black brews, but boy I was wrong. The taste profile itself is actually quite balanced and flavorful thanks to the Midnight Wheat base malt imparting very neutral and even wheat like flavors, even though it is responsible for imparting the near black coloring. Overall, the taste is very hop forward with profiles of sweet cocoa infused with coffee, finishing a bit hoppy and dry making your mouth plead for more.
Overall, Snow Day by New Belgium is a very palatable beer that is also extremely multifaceted and deep in both flavor and complexity. This would be a great beer to introduce to friends that are looking for something a bit more challenging yet still accessible and satisfying. Pick up some Snow Day and enjoy it while it is still available and snow is still on the ground.