Well blow me down and consider this one of my surprise favorite winter ales of 2010.
It pours a nice dark brown color with an off-white head. There's good lacing and retention. The nose reveals malts and citrus; a very Christmas-y scent, punching you in the face the way Santa Claus does it.
Flavorwise it is very well balanced. The initial taste is almost pale ale like, but the hoppier notes soon kick in, as do hints of orange and caramel. The finish is just vaguely spicy. This definitely tastes nice, and the 7.2% ABV is hidden well, which of course can be both a blessing and a curse.
Overall Powder Hound is an almost perfect winter warmer. It's easy to forget about the Missoula brewery amidst more fashionable selections from Washington and Oregon, but really, ignorance is no excuse. Powder Hound is one of the few homeruns this season.
Vote for Big Sky Powder Hound Winter Ale 2010: It’s your civic duty!