To Øl - Snowball
- ABV: 8%
- Serving Temperature: 45–53° F
- Suggested Glassware: Tulip, Chalice, or Chardonnay Glass
To Øl has built one of our favorite Champagne replacements. Brewed with oats and rock candy (the latter to ferment fully and help dry things out), this is well-attenuated saison that flies in the face of the sticky-sweet holiday beers you’ll find elsewhere. The impacts of Brettanomyces and a combination of European and U.S. hop varieties create a spicy, citrusy impact of goodness that’s both refreshing and something worth celebrating.
Poured gently, this appears with vibrant, hazed peachy-orange color, capped by mountainous foam that stuck around for a while. From the pour alone, you get the sense that this is firmly built (and well carbonated). The aromatics are zesty, herbaceous—built around complexities of peppery yeast plus citrus and tree fruit, some of it courtesy of its Brettanomyces influence. Our sample bottles of these had a touch of age on them as well, such that Snowball carried a generous dried orange and caramel character throughout its layers. The aroma signals a dry, complex saison coming up, interlaced with everything from firm pepperiness to juicy fruits.
A first sip offers those and more. Longtime members of The Rare Beer Club may have noted our fondness for a particular type of dry and crackly saison—the effortlessly drinkable ones, toasty, crisp and lean, and yet still loaded up with intricate yeast character. We found one of those experiences in To Øl Snowball: a masterful saison we wanted to consume by the pint.
There’s a whole lot to like about this beer. A warm, peppery yeast element keeps everything feeling trim and focused throughout. There’s a density of fruit everywhere, ranging from the sweeter apricot and Meyer-lemon qualities through quieter notes of darker stuff: cherries, or plum. And citrusy, tropical nudges from Brett keep the whole package feeling fresh, bright.
This one’s sturdy enough that it should age quite nicely with a bit of time behind it, though watch out for the caramelization. We enjoyed a small amount here, in this particular profile. The citrusy, herbal angles hint at flaky fish or salad pairings—and definitely roasted turkey.
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