The downside to my adventures in kegging homebrew is that my rookie mistakes and general procrastination have forced me to wander the coolers full of six packs of craft beer aimlessly wondering why one beer would be better than another.
Recently, I was disappointed with New Belgium’s Spring Blonde but the beer I was looking for originally finally showed up on the shores of Iowa. I picked up a six pack of Snapshot and got around to pouring a glass:
Is this beer really this light or is it just my camera? Yep, it’s as light as pale straw or drought stricken grass in eastern Colorado.
The light color of the beer should have been an indicator of what was to come, but I was hoping for a revelation. Instead I got a thin beer with almost no punch of flavor. It is supposed to have Cascade hops providing bitterness and aroma, but there was almost no traditional beer bitterness. The official description notes how Snapshot is supposed to use some of the same yeast/bacteria utilized in their sour beer program to provide a punch. Sorry, I tasted none of that.
The beer just tastes flat, not in terms of carbonation, but flavor. I used to take for granted that New Belgium Brewery was going to produce excellent craft beers that I would enjoy drinking. However, the beers coming from its tanks recently come across as derivative and uninspired. It’s an expensive alternative to your traditional American macro brews:
Next to Snapshot was another decal noting a new arrival, Samuel Adams Cold Snap:
This is an interesting beer. The stated bitterness (7 IBU) is so low as to be non-existent, but the inclusion of a host of other spices–orange peel, plum, hibiscus and fresh ground coriander according to the beer’s website—provide a flavor that compensates for a lack of traditional beer bittering.
With a name like Cold Snap I was expecting more of a winter beer with heavier malts or more bitterness, but Cold Snap is like a great lawnmower beer. It drinks light without being watery—yes I am looking at you Snapshot—and it has enough flavor to be interesting without overpowering your mouth.
About the worst thing I could say about Cold Snap is that it would be a beer that you would get bored with fairly quickly, but maybe that is why Samuel Adams decided to make it part of the seasonal rotation. Nonetheless, it’s got potential: