Name: Snow Cap
Brewery: Pyramid Breweries
Country of Origin: United States
City & State: Seattle, Washington
Style: Winter Warmer
Alcohol Content (ABV): 7%
First Brewed: 1986
Pyramid’s Snow Cap is a deep chestnut color with a snowy off-white head. Its nose is complex with aromas of caramel, reap bananas, and fruits such as black currants, strawberries and cherries. Soft malt flavors with hints of toffee and hazelnut and warming, long-spicy finish.
A few weeks ago, we went to The Phoenix Ale Brewery in downtown Phoenix, Arizona. We had a Groupon and got to try all of their beers. We even got to try one that he was working on that wasn’t quite finished yet. That was the best flavor of them all! We also had some HUGE pretzels and good conversation with the brewmaster. Reason why I mention them is the brewmaster came from Pyramid. We were talking and he mentioned Pyramid Breweries. Sure enough he used to work there and wanted to do something different. He ended up in Phoenix. Fine by me!
The Snow Cap is the only beer on the list from this brewing company, and I snagged a bottle before they were gone at our Total Wine & More. We did this one in the winter beer class, too. I don’t remember it… so I am looking forward to breaking the experience down here. Let’s try the Pyramid Snow Cap. (Snow makes me cold!)
In the Glass: It looks like a barleywine in the glass. It has a nice white head, and produces an acceptable lace. I can’t get over the label on the bottle, though. There are pyramids… that are snow capped. I mean, I get it. But that is not the meaning behind this beer. Speaking of the label, upon further research on Google (images, mostly) it appears the label has changed over the year. This is a bottle purchased in 2012, so this is the latest label.
Nose: There isn’t much going on here. It has a weak nose that has subtle malt characteristics toward the end. But nothing to write home about. A second whiff had my nose deep in the glass, and those subtle malt hints are all I am getting. For a winter warmer, I expected a better bigger nose.
Flavor: We are drinking this cold, and I keep going back to the style. Most winter beers are big, thick, and provide a powerful flavor. This one doesn’t. This one just sort of sits there and doesn’t do much. When I read “old ale” I think of barleywines and higher ABV beers. Beers that you can and should cellar. This is only 7%, and I wouldn’t suggest cellaring this more than a year. The burp is better than the flavor in the beer.
Mouthfeel: The mouthfeel is decent. We are drinking this cold, so that might have something to do with it. There are also a lot of bubbles here. A lot of unexpected bubbles. It’s not as thick as I expected, either.
Aftertaste: This is the best part of the beer. Those chocolate malts they use are really present in the finish. They just sit on the tongue and leave a nice lasting dark fruit flavor on your palate. It sticks around for a while, too.
There were a LOT of winter beers this year. This isn’t one of my favorite. I typically don’t like Pyramid beers. They have an apricot beer that was just OK. Their summer beer this year was weak. They always just seem to be mediocre at best. If you are like me, and want to try all of the winter beers, go ahead. But this isn’t something I would buy again unless it was on sale.
Snow Cap – The bottle says: “Deep mahogany in color, our full-bodied winter water is brewed in the spirit of British winter ales. Crafted with a flurry of roasted chocolate and caramel malts, and generously hopped, it delivers a smooth finish that makes this beer the perfect cold weather companion.”
Well, I have to say that today’s beer looks pretty good. It seems just the right amount of thickness and head, and I love the color. It looks kind of a medium reddish-brown. I am expecting sort of a brown ale taste, but maybe I am wrong. There’s not a lot of head now, but it’s been sitting there for a while. I like the smell too. It smells very bready. Time to find out if it tastes as good as it looks and smells to me.
Hmm… it’s much hoppier than I hoped for. It tastes a bit like a cross between a brown ale and an IPA. Not exactly two beers I want to taste together. For a winter warmer, I’d hoped for something a bit more smoky. It’s too hoppy for what I want in a brown ale.
I don’t have a lot to say about this beer. Pyramid is a brewery I hope to visit sometime when I’m in Seattle, but I haven’t really had any of their beers that stuck with me much. This one is no exception. I’ll keep trying Pyramid, though… I think there are more on our list. Maybe not. Until then… I’ll find something better.