‘Tis the Season: New Glarus Snowshoe Ale

18 Nov

*Holiday music sold seperately.

Snowshoe is a beer that New Glarus likes to trot out for the holiday season, then lock up in the cellar, not to be seen for years.  That’s part of the allure of New Glarus’ rotating seasonal slate.  In any given year, there is no guarantee you’ll see a certain offering.  Recently, Dan and Deb have turned to their fans for suggestions for new beer styles and for which seasonals they most want to see in the coming year.  Gotta love a brewery that listens to its loyal followers.

Snowshoe isn’t a beer meant to knock your socks off.  It’s just a solid red ale with a robust malt backbone and brisk, spicy hop profile that makes for good drinking as Wisconsin’s all-too-short autumn becomes but a fuzzy memory.  In a time of the year where breweries are parading out heavy-handedly-spiced winter warmers, it’s refreshing to see an imminently-drinkable, expertly-constructed, yet robust ale meant for repeated quaffing.  A fine rival to Capital Brewery’s Winter Skal – another fine example of locally-made winter red ale that shuns the spice for understated elegance.

Beer: New Glarus Snowshoe Ale

Stlye: Amber/Red Ale

Vitals: 5.35% abv, American and German malts, Yakima Golding and Bavarian Hallertau hops

Description: “Expect this beer to be a beautiful copper-red, with a fruity ale body and a spiced hop finish. Then sit back and rejoice in the season because it’s these Wisconsin winters that keep the whiners out. –newglarusbrewing.com

My take: Really does pour a striking ruby-amber, with ample khaki-colored creamy head.  Nose is surprisingly fruity for a straight-forward red ale, with a coppery metallic hop edge.  Sweet, fruity malts are balanced by a dry, toasty finish, braced by the sprucey/herbal hops.  Evokes the act of cutting down a Christmas tree, as cheesy as that sounds.  Who says I can’t be sentimental?

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