Editors Note: While we get this up and running we’ll be posting beer reviews from the previous version of Big Beef and Beer. This originally appeared in January 2001.
Our winter brewfest continues. This week, I chose a beer that I believed didn’t have a snowball’s chance of being a good beer. It even said so on the label. Snowball’s Chance Winter Ale by the Blue Ridge division of the Frederick Brewery however, has more than a snowball’s chance of being a good beer. It is a suprisingly pleasant winter brew.
Many microbrews try to compete with silly, novelty names to get attention on the over crowded shelves. Names like Tommyknocker Jackwhacker, Rogue Dead Guy Ale, and Flying Dog Old Scratch with colorful animated labels shout “pick me!” as I wander through my neighborhood beer temple. Typically, with a few exceptions, I’ve been disappointed by the novelty beers. When I Saw Snowball’s Chance I thought it was just another sad attempt to get me to buy another crappy beer. It worked.
The snow falling outside as I wandered through the beer temple must have inspired me. I decided to grab a couple of Snowball’s Chance and a couple bottles of my favorite Christmas brew, to save my tastebuds. Obviously, my expectations were low. This time of year my mouth is more discerning because there isn’t any heat to fuel my thirst.
When I got Snowball’s Chance home, I didn’t even drink any for two days. After I opened the first bottle, poured it, smelled it, and took my first sip, I was sorry I had waited so long. Snowball’s Chance was exactly what I expected from a winter brew.
Snowball’s Chance is garnet in color, has a spicy nose and a flavor that rivals any Christmas brew, with no bitter aftertaste. Despite the corny name, it is indeed a pretty darn good beer. I’ll drink it again. And in the future, I won’t judge a beer by its label!