Monday, December 31, 2012

Winter Seasonals — Red Hook vs. New Belgium vs. 10 Barrel

Red Hook Winter Hook
ABV 6.0%

New Belgium Snow Day
ABV 6.2%

10 Barrel Pray For Snow 
ABV 7.0%

The holidays are fine and all, but it's the winter beers that really get us excited this time of year. This battle features seasonal releases from three states: Oregon (10 Barrel), Washington (Red Hook) and Colorado (New Belgium).

The Winter Hook from Red Hook brought back fond memories. Back in the late 90s it was Winter Hook that first introduced us to the concept of a "seasonal release." Before the store shelves started filling up with other seasonal options for us to try, the arrival of Winter Hook each year was cause for great celebration. Despite the nostalgia the Winter Hook was soundly beaten in this battle by both of the other beers. It was simple and malty with a hint of licorice and pine, fine on its own, but side by side with the other beers it didn't measure up.

The Snow Day from New Belgium was very unique. It offered both a strong hop profile (piny and almost minty) and a strong dark malt profile (coffee and chocolate). In the end we agreed that it tasted like a cup of chilled coffee run through a randall of hops, great for a CDA or Black IPA but not something we are craving in the dead of winter.

The final beer, 10 Barrel's Pray for Snow, hit all the right notes with us. Malty flavors and aromas dominated (cola, dried dark fruit and molasses) but it had enough piny hops to keep it from being too sweet. Just an all around solid winter beer from a brewery that continues to impress us.

Happy New Year to all of you fellow beer lovers. May your 2013 be filled with many a great beer!   

Unanimous Decision: 10 Barrel Pray for Snow

1 comment:

  1. Nice battle! All nice beers, but Pray For Snow was a great surprise to me when I first tried it a couple months ago, delicious stuff. Not surprised it won.