Nick Carr on January 11, 2018 0 Comments Photo Credit: 10 Barrel Brewing Quick Characteristics Brewery 10 Barrel Brewing Location Bend, OR Style American Strong Ale ABV 7.0% IBU 75 Hops English East Kent Goldings Malts ? Shelf Life 1+ Years Suggested Glass Mug or Tulip Serving Temp 50-58°F Availability Winter Seasonal Food Pairings Herb Roast Lamb Shank, Grilled Steak, Asiago, Ginger Spice Cake It seems appropriate that I’m reviewing Pray For Snow on a day with 30% chance of the stuff. I know, only 30 percent. But, this is New Mexico. It seems often times when we have a chance climbing above about 50% chance of any kind of precipitation, the clouds, as if mocking our presumption, don’t deliver the goods. Chances below that threshold have often brought more than we bargained. Our weather likes to keep us guessing. Pray For Snow is 10 Barrel’s winter seasonal. Of course the first thing many ask is; “what’s with the name? Where’d that come from?” Well, it seems, twin brothers Chris and Jeremy Cox and co-founder Garrett Wales have had a policy in place ever since the 2006 founding of the brewery. A policy that ensures every one of their staff is, at least during the winter, constantly praying for snow. What’s the policy? If there is more than 6 inches of fresh powder falls on the slopes of Mt. Bachelor, you get the day off. That’s right you are excused from showing up for work at the brewery. Instead go ski. No joke. Because in the words of the brewery “when it’s good, you go get some.” Sounds like a pretty ideal work environment. Hey, even if you don’t ski, you could still stay at home huddled-up close to a nice crackling fire, drinking a Pray for Snow, while praying for more snow and another day off. The brewery actually got a name change in 2009. It was first founded under the name “Wildfire Brewing” and the change to 10 Barrel, in honor of the small craft brewing system, was a harbinger of things really taking off for the brewery. The brewery as gone through several growing spurts; adding brew pubs in different locations, as well as expanding the production brewery. In 2014, the brewery was bought by Anheuser-Busch InBev. Now, hold on. I can already see your reactions. At least half of you are about to quit reading this, asking why the hell I’m reviewing this beer. Well, frankly I’ve become a little inured to craft beer enthusiasts flying of the handle about this sort of thing. It’s easy for us to yell accusingly from this side of the curtain. Yes, I love to see craft brewers stick it out and thumb their noses at the Big Guys, but I can also see the possibilities such a deal presents to a craft brewer. Things like better distribution and not having to handle the business end of it all. And hey, if the craft brewers can make the deal without changing anything; if brewers don’t change, the love of the craft doesn’t change, the quality of ingredients and finished product doesn’t change; one can always hope some of these ideals and practices rub off on Big Beer. One can only hope. But, I digress. You’re here for the review, and I’m ready to open the bottle. THE TASTING REVIEW Below are the tasting notes I took while drinking 10 Barrel’s Pray For Snow. If you tasted this beer or have one in front of you as your read this review, please share your thoughts and tasting notes with everyone down in the comments below. Pour and Aroma: Pray for Snow falls into the glass a deep mahogany color. That is until you raise it into the light, than it changes to a rich red garnet. Clarity is good and the streams of bubbles arching toward the surface hint at strong carbonation. A light tan head rolls to almost three fingers of dense layered foam. Sticky lacing is left webbing the glass as the head descends and rests, half-an-inch from the surface. The beer is beautiful in the glass. Malt is sweet and expansive in the nose showing caramel, toffee, and light roast. There are subtle hints of dark dried fruit and raisins. Some notes of herbal, earthiness, and a slightly clove-like spiciness. Mouthfeel and Taste: Mouthfeel is a solid medium with a full, subtly sweet body. Carbonation is lower than appearances let on, but the low carbonation allows the body to roll across the palate unhurried and round. Hop bitterness rides in to put the reins on the sweet before it can rise above its station. There’s some low alcohol warming. Big malt at the front. It’s all there; caramel and toffee sweetness calmed a bit by low roasty notes. Dark fruit and raisin play well with the malt, lending complexity to the whole. Things shift subtly, earthy and spicy toward the back of the palate as the hop bitterness rises. The finish is quite dry for the amount of sweet present at the front. Leaves the mouth with an herbal softness and light astringency. FINISHING THOUGHTS Pray for Snow is a good all-around winter beer. There’s enough alcohol warmth and malty roundness to give anyone a little comfort when the winter chill creeps under the door. It’s one made for evenings, warm fires, and a world outside going silent with falling snow. After all, when it’s good, you go get some. Cheers!