At last! A white IPA that's comfortable with its true nature. While the civil war rumbles on over black IPA with neither the hoppy porter faction nor the IPA purists gaining ground, white IPA is simply hoppy witbier. No question. End of. That Sierra Nevada have decided to call theirs Snow Wit is to cut any stylistic controversy off before it starts.
It's even closer in ABV to witbier than most of the white IPAs I've met, at just 5.7%. The colour is a very pale yellow, worryingly like the cheaper, less well-made Belgian wits. The aroma is gentle but wonderfully complex, pushing out peach and passionfruit juiciness with a spicy gunpowder background -- not bad, given the "seven varieties of experimental dwarf hops" with which it's brewed. Such gimmickry seldom works in the drinker's favour.
The dry wheaty quality dominates the flavour, and it's perhaps even a little watery, but the spice and fruit are there to a degree as well and there's a sharp bitter tang giving it a perfumed waxy scented candle finish which isn't really to my taste but may keep hopheads happy.
That said, my preference for this style of beer is bigger and badder hopping and I don't mind sacrificing the witbier spices and subtleties to get it. Snow Wit is just a little too well-behaved.