Turns out sourcing fresh snow isn’t as easy as you would think.
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“Don’t eat the yellow snow,” the tongue-in-cheek old saying goes. But when it comes to drinking the yellow snow, as long as that yellow is a beer-colored hue, then you should be fine. A couple of Colorado breweries are hoping local drinkers won’t have a problem with that logic: They’re collaborating on a beer using snow sourced from nearby mountains.

For this year’s Collaboration Fest – an annual festival in Denver that pairs breweries up to create unique one-event-only beers together – Denver’s Little Machine Beer and Edgewater’s Joyride Brewing are working on a fresh-hopped zero IBU IPA made with fresh snow. “It started with ‘fresh,’” Mike Dunkly of Little Machine told Denver’s 9News. “We had this opportunity to work with fresh hops in February, which is super fun, and we’re just kind of thinking ‘what’s the freshest way we can source the water?’ Then, we said ‘let’s run up to the divide and get some fresh powder!’”

little machine beer team
Credit: Courtesy of Little Machine, LLC

Turns out sourcing fresh snow isn’t as easy as you might hope. The brewers reportedly used a rig that included a kid’s sled and some 60-gallon drums. “In small business, especially smaller breweries, you get to problem solve every day,” Dunkly said. “Sometimes it’s ‘how do I get this barrel of snow from the wilderness?’ Sometimes it’s fixing something inside.”

Also important: Fresh show has to actually be fresh. Though the whole “yellow snow” thing gets used as a joke, the advice comes from a place of truth: The breweries obviously didn’t want to use snow that had been tainted in any way. “We basically wanted to get the freshest snow we could, we wanted to make sure there were no road chemicals in it,” Little Machine Head Brewer Cory Carvatt told the local news station.

little machine flag on shovel and snow
Credit: Courtesy of Little Machine, LLC

But overall, Carbatt was very zen about the whole thing. “All beer in a sense is made from fresh snow – especially in Colorado, where we get a lot of runoff from the mountains,” he continued. “We just kind of cut out the middle-man and went straight for snow.”

This year’s 5th annual Collaboration Fest will be held on Saturday, March 31.