Preparing for the winter months
A Review of Snow Cap Ale by Pyramid Breweries Inc.
Posted on 10/24/2012 by Chops
                   
Good
I'm going to let everyone in on a little secret: beer geeks are hoarders. Not in a destructive overflowing garbage kind of way, just in a random beer acquisition way. We find a brew that captures our interest, purchase it, then squirrel it away and forget about it. Some beers age better than others, so it takes a careful eye select ones to store. But when all is said and done, every devoted beer geek has a stash of tasty beers just waiting for the appropriate time to crack open. Most of us couldn't name a fraction of our beers on hand. My particular stash includes many winter warmers, which tend to age well due to their strong syrupy natures. Now that winter is within sight, I decided to peek into the aging cabinet and see what I had on the menu. The Pyramid Snow Cap Ale caught my eye, so it is with this that I initiate my winter beer season.

In the glass, this beer has a deep mahogany color with some ruby red edging. It comes with a creamy tan head that sticks around for quite a while. On the nose, I detected a sweet candied malty aroma that closely resembled an imperial red ale. I didn't really know what to think about this, but at the same time, we're dealing with a winter warmer. There are no specific guidelines to follow per se, so all you really have are common comparable brews. Thick and spicy characters are common with the style as well as a noticeable alcohol burn. Snow Cap fits the bill.

I found the mouthfeel to be surprisingly chalky considering the aroma. I was expecting more of a malty smooth beer, but there is a strong bitterness layer throughout the flavor train and the beer exits dry. Snow Cap does drink like a boozy winter warmer, but the alcohol burn is actually well hidden. Again, the candied malty sweetness reigns supreme despite the dry character, so I can't really identify a base style. To my palate, this beer is more or less a chalky bitter imperial amber. There's also a faint toasted character swirling around along with some dark fruity flavors like plums and raisins. The spice notes are nondescript and function more as compliments to the muted herbal hop profile.

Overall, the Pyramid Snow Cap Ale is an oddball beer with an quirky personality. It's not overly complex, but it does feel somewhat disjointed. It's not a bad beer by any means and as I mentioned before, winter warmers can pretty much span the spectrum. Snow Cap freely borrows traits from many different styles. At a relatively tame 7% ABV, this brew is generally accessible to any level of beer fan. I would advise novices to proceed with caution, but seasoned drinkers can use it as a good session brew for the winter months. Enjoying a winter warmer during the fall months may not be a good idea to some, but I firmly believe in winterizing my taste buds. These beers are rich, thick, bold and exciting. It's only fair that I give my palate a fighting chance.

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Snow Cap Ale by Pyramid Breweries Inc.
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