First Snow, FMB's take on a New England-style DIPA, is an enigmatic offering in that it caters to die-hard hop hunters and newbie beer explorers alike. It touts a heavy alcohol content of 8.1%, making it more of a sippa than a DIPA (awful joke, couldn't help myself,) and its bitterness rating of 90 IBUs comes across as daunting to the layman. Those of us who have braved the long and cold Northern Maine winters will understand the correlation perfectly well. And yet, despite such drastically daunting numbers, the beer is extraordinarly drinkable. Much like a sunny, windless February day that hardly breaks ten below, one finds that the drinking experience is far less harsh than initially expected. As such, it is easily one of First Mile's most popular beverages, and people come from all over the state to grab an elusive 4-pack before they disappear.
First Snow's reputation is not without warrant. At 330lbs of total grain and nearly 115 gallons of brewing liquor, it is by far the largest mash in our repertoire. It barely leaves any room in the mash tun for sparging! Nate, our assistant brewer, learned first-hand today the trials and tribulations posed by the mash-in process, while Ezra, the seasoned veteran that he is, bemusedly sat back and watched >:)
First Snow's eminence does not end with its fortuitous grain bill. It also utilizes six different hops, added at various points before and after the boil as well as during fermentation. These varied additions give First Snow its brisk bitterness, paired perfectly with a bouquet of dank, fresh hop aromas. Despite dancing precipitously at the extremes of the beer style, it somehow achieves perfect balance in the process.
"First brewed on the snowy hills of Fort Kent..." Such a lucid description almost conjures with it an out-of-body, extrasensory experience. One can almost smell, taste, feel the essence of that wintry mindscape, and the brisk freshness it implies. First Snow, brisk and fresh in its own right, is truly the physical embodiment of that scene of wintry wonder. And, since it has been brewed again today, it will once again be available on tap and in cans in-house only in two weeks' time. Mark your calendars, friends, because it won't last long!