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New Belgium releases Snow Day, part of an overhaul of its seasonal beer offerings

New Belgium Brewing releases its new winter seasonal, called Snow Day, today (and props to them for waiting until a part of the year when we can actually get snow to unveil a winter beer). Snow Day, a cross between a black IPA and a winter warmer, replaces 2 Below, New Belgium's previous, long-running Christmas beer. The Fort Collins brewery is actually in the midst of replacing several of its seasonal beers. In July, it pulled Skinny Dip out of the water in favor of Somersault Ale, a fruity summer brew. And this spring, it will release Dig, which New Belgium spokesman Bryan Simpson calls "a variation on the theme of a pale ale, but with a different hop profile. Dig will replace Mighty Arrow, named for brewery co-founder Kim Jordan's dog.

Simpson says the brewery plans to refresh its seasonal lineup every couple of years or so.

This is how the brewery describes Snow Day:

In 2003, we had a massive 37-inch snowstorm over two days in Fort Collins. Everything shut down for a couple days -- no work, no school, no cars. The only way you could get around was by ski or toboggan. When we began brewing Snow Day, we looked to this one storm for inspiration. The dark characters of the malt bill reflect the dark stormy sky at the beginning of the snowfall. But on the third day, the sun broke through and everything was glorious! The name Snow Day evoked joyful freedom. Everyone remembers waiting for the school report as little kids. When you heard your school was closed, you suddenly had all day to play in the transformed, white landscape. Well, that's the kind of emotion we put into this beer.

Pleasantly hoppy, Snow Day carries the subtle chocolate and caramel flavors of a new brewing malt known as Midnight Wheat. The Styrian Golding, Centennial and Cascade hops bring the backbone of hoppy bitterness to complement the roasty undertones. This beer is the deep garnet of a roasted walnut and presents a creamy tan head, floating artfully atop. Snow Day is bold and hoppy, drinkable and strong.

It reminds you to enjoy the unexpected.

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