Odyssey Beerwerks | Oh Snap!
ABV: 6.4% | IBU: 20
The end of the year brings holidays, reflections about the year behind us, plans for the year ahead and some of the best seasonal brews around. In the northern hemisphere, this coincides with winter, darker days, colder temperatures and snow (usually). Lights go up on houses, relatives come down to visit and there’s little doubt you’ll make it to at least one brewery to while away the hours in avoidance of going to the mall to pick up that one last gift for the second uncle of your mom’s cousin thrice removed. Similar smells of cinnamon, pine trees and allspice waft out of stores and restaurants and even your neighborhood brewery.
Some families have major holiday traditions passed down through generations and some make up brand new ones every holiday season and vow to keep them next year but never do – my family falls into the latter category. One of our very few actual traditions growing up was making Monster Cookies. This secret family recipe is a staple in our house during Christmas but we always had to wait until the first snowfall to break out the mixing bowl – good thing we always lived in states that saw regular snow.
Whether the name ‘monster cookies’ came from the sheer amount of ingredients (how much butter goes into these?!) or how full one bite of cookie could make you (light and fluffy they were not) or maybe the fact that we made a single cookie the size of a sheet pan (why make the pan so big if the cookie isn’t supposed to fill the whole thing?), I’ll never know. I do know that this is a tradition I hope to keep alive and the flavors always remind me of holidays growing up. These days, we pair our cookies with beer instead of milk (I think Santa prefers that as well).
One of my favorite beers to pair with these delectable treats is Odyssey Beerwerks‘ winter seasonal, Oh Snap! They released this brew as a follow-up to fall, a “suitable sipper for winter’s cold bite” and, to be honest, a lot of 2016 bit, so in my mind, this beer is a suitable sipper for all of 2016’s cold bite. The spices used also remind me of the holidays – cinnamon, allspice and maybe nutmeg? Drinking this beer is kind of like drinking a beer-soaked cookie but without the unpleasant texture that would undoubtedly contain. Familiarity is key in evoking holiday sentiments, is it not? Odyssey’s head brewery Joe definitely pulled on the strings of nostalgia when choosing the spices to use in this ale.
It pours a clear amber brown – kind of like a ginger snap – and has a bit of an off-white head. A sweet and toasted malt aroma with a tinge of holiday spices gives a hint of the flavorful goodness of the beer. Oh Snap! is smooth and not too carbonated with a rich malty base and biscuit-y notes, the holiday cookie spices and touch of orange peel fully round out this winter ale. It’s a perfect complement to your favorite seasonal cookie or something more savory.
So let’s wrap up 2016 with some delicious craft beer and welcome 2017 with open fridges!