I've long thought that the best rulebreakers were those who first learned the rules...well. So it is with Snow Drop, a German Köttbusser-style ale brewed in the spirit of the German brewers who kept it's 'alternative' tradition--that of an ale brewed with honey, oats, and molasses--alive despite its being banned according to the Reinheitsgebot--the fabled German purity laws that allowed only barley, hops, water and yeast as ingredients to be used in brewing beer.
Here in the U.S., such a brew might be thought commonplace, what with our hopped-up, spice-infused imperials and holiday ales, each competing with each other over maximum gravity and flavor intensity. But Snow Drop is not commonplace. Like other Grimm Brothers Brewhouse creations--each themed after a Grimm Brothers fairy tale--this one manages to achieve an amazing level of balance and fine-tuning. The honey is subtle, but noticeable in the aroma and in the dryness it adds. The oatmeal is hardly noticable, at least to me, and the molasses only present as the faintest hint of sulphur. It's a bit like a drier version of Kolsch that lets the hops shine without overpowering you.
Overall, Snow Drop will keep you sipping away comfortably for some time, plumbing the complexity of this light-colored, slightly hazy masterpiece. The label artwork is quite exceptional as well--with dark (not that the original stories themselves weren't dark--they were!), somewhat grown-up fairy-tale imagery, lots of black backgrounds, and excellent design sense. If you visit the brewhouse, don't be surpised if you walk away with a tshirt or two along these lines.
At least once, the brewery has produced a double-strength version of Snow Drop called Magic Mirror, sold in bombers. This is rare stuff; if they produce it again and you can get your hands on it, do so while you have a chance. Unlike its relatively mild predecessor, Magic Mirror comes across sweeter and with more intensity; it still deceptively smooth, but it packs a serious punch (I think it's north of 10% ABV).