Beer of the Week: NW Peaks Snowfield 2013

By Iron Chef Leftovers

I love the winter warmer style of beer – malty but not too sweet with plenty of character to get you through a cold evening. I was excited back in December to see that NW Peaks was bringing back their Snowfield beer, a wonderful winter warmer.

From the NW Peaks website:

The name. The mountain. With a name like Snowfield, we couldn’t resist naming our winter beer after it. Additionally, Snowfield is a mountain that takes more effort and time to climb. While it weighs in at a mere 8,347′ and Washington’s 90th highest peak, it stands 6,500′ above the Pyramid Lake trailhead with multiple ‘ups and downs’ and glaciers en route. The Pyramid Lake trailhead is right off hwy 20 just S of Diablo dam. While the trail is nothing to write home about, once into the Colonial basin views are truly spectacular with the whole N Cascades park within view and Snowfield a half day’s hard work from there. But we digress, we just loved that climb so much, just like the beer, that we could ramble on forever.

The Beer.This is our latest version of the Snowfield. We used largely the same ingredients, but played with the ratios and yeast. This year, we used the American yeast that ferments clean and dry, pushing the hop aroma forefront. We also added another variety of hops – Sorachi Ace – to increase the lemon/citrus aroma to play off the chocolate notes from the malt. The result is a nicely balanced winter beer featuring notes of chocolate and citrus hops. While not a heavy hitter in ABV for winter beers (6.6%) Snowfield is still a great winter beer, perfect to warm you up on a dark winter evening.

Malts: ESB, chocolate, honey, crystal. Hops: centennial, sorachi ace. ABV: ~6.6%

untitle8dThe beer pours dark brown in color with a cream colored head. It shows loads of malt on the nose with hints of dried fruit and chocolate coupled with a subtle note of spices. The beer starts out on the palate with lots of pleasantly sweet malt before moving into deeper flavors – first with roasted chocolate before transitioning into hints of dried fruit and finishing with a mild and pleasant hop bitterness that mingles with the other flavors in an extremely long finish. The beer drinks deep and complex with a great balance of malt and dark roasted flavors to warm you up on a cold winter day.

NW Peaks Snowfield 2013 straps in and goes for a hike with 4 snowshoes out of 5.

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