[sponsored by Ikon Pass]
Grounded in the marketing genius of “free beer tomorrow,” the craft brewing industry is a perfect match for the ski industry and all those who love suds and snow.
Done properly, a brewery or taproom nears the magic of an old village pub; its doors offer table top gathering points for generations of family, friends, or those you just met on the chairlift. Today there seems to be a new brewery in every iconic ski town across North America. And speaking of icons, the new Ikon Pass offers access to 26 premier mountains across the continent. Again, a perfect match.
Here are 10 particularly endearing brew dens waiting for you and yours after a great day on the hill.
At Middlebury, a mere twenty-four miles from Sugarbush Resort, local favorite Drop-In Brewing is a self-proclaimed champion of state flavor. The stalwart concern wears cozy feel and comes highly recommended among well-traveled purveyors, not to mention doubles as training grounds for the American Brewers Guild Brewing School.
Their ale is outstanding, and be herby advised of a dangerously delicious 12% ABV ‘Tick Tick, Boom!’ barley wine.
“The product of the day,” said Drop-In, “will be education.”
In terms of pints post-piste, La Diable is as close as close can be. Founded two decades ago, the microbrasserie promises a bit of everything, including whimsy.
The house ale, also coined ‘Diable,’ is characterized by texture suave enough to rival any deep day.
Very Nice Brewing Co:
This state’s bursting with brew culture, and the locals are more than glad to share it.
At Eldora Mountain Resort, the people are artful, inventive, and thirsty. Handy then that Very Nice Brewing Company nests five miles from the slopes. This haven for snow lovers hails from one brew couple claiming “mid-life crisis” as impetus for the fermentation that’s got the whole area talking.
Very Nice Brew Co. is a small batch facility with significant following.
Storm Peak Brewing Co:
Meanwhile, six miles from nearby Steamboat, a group of beer freaks are gathering, and inviting everyone else.
Storm Peak Brewing Company calls this ski destination home, and from its tanks pours nothing less than “the promised best.” Valuing quality of craft, creativity, discovery, and community, Storm Peak has the beer world rumbling.
Local brew, Mr. Night is a particularly fresh and bright offering of black IPA.
Aspen Brewing Co:
Acknowledging Colorado’s expansive ski-meets-brew scene, it’s simply a must to mention Aspen-Snowmass and the silky craft bevies that keep its populace skiing and riding. Naturally, this historic location hosts a namesake brewery only nine miles from the action. And even better, the brew line up boasts a few medalists.
A gold and bronze medal at World Beer Cup 2016, as well as silver and bronze at International Beer Challenge 2017, have opened a front row seat for Aspen Brewing Company on the hop train to happiness.
Founded in 2008, Aspen Brewing has set out to make world class beers, and they’ve done exactly that.
Named Breakout Brewery of 2017 by Brewbound and Small Brewpub of the Year at Great American Beer Festival, Melvin Brewing is a must visit brew operation.
Once there, snag a sip of their latest, Your IPA, a brew done just the way you’ll like it.
Home to Ikon Pass destinations Deer Valley Resort, Alta Ski Area and Snowbird, Utah is roost to several forerunning snow communities, and equally established among brew aficionados. Campfire chatter claims Proper Brewing Company as part ‘n parcel to the scene and style that sets the Wasatch apart. With famed Alta Ski Area only twenty-six miles away, Proper Brewing sees plenty of ski-boot clad patrons, all of whom suggest at least a sip of the breweries now nefarious flagship brew, Proper Beer.
A fabled land of thrilling wilds and amazing snow, this western Canada province is home to several bucket-list pow stops, and solidly crafted beer.
Long revered Revelstoke Mountain Resort annually draws to its famous facets legions of winter pilgrims who conveniently find après happiness at Mt. Begbie Brewing Company. Named, curiously, for both glaciated peak and notorious judge, this fine malt Mecca waits four miles from the trails, and was Canada’s 2017 Craft Brewery of the Year.
Black Doubt Brewing Co:
Cultivating rare beauty under maximum sun, this west coast state has little trouble drawing crowds to fuel a vibrant craft culture.
Mammoth Lakes’ Black Doubt Brewing Company is a dark horse in the sunshine state. Its nano brewing approach, produces an ever-experimental brew line up to delightfully tease the many discerning palates skiing and riding just six miles down the trail at Mammoth Mountain.
The brewhaus lends credibility to Mammoth Mountain’s claim as California’s premier ski, sun, and libation location. One flavor to watch for is sumptuous Honey Baked, amber ale brewed using honey malt and two hop varietals.
Tahoe Mountain Brewing Co:
And finally, most westerly among the Top 10 breweries along the Ikon Pass path waits Tahoe Mountain Brewing Company in Truckee.
Located fourteen miles from snow epicenter, Sqauw Valley Alpine Meadows, Tahoe Mountain Brewing is humble home to great brews and good people. Welcoming all walks of life (including dogs) this Tahoe house of hops and barley is a local favorite.
“Nearby Squaw is a huge part Tahoe Mountain’s taproom scene,” said taproom regular, Sara. “When in season, virtually everyone is skiing or riding the mountain by day and here by evening.”
“Craft breweries should be familiar,” she said, “places for culture and friends.”
With such a mindset in place, it is little wonder that taprooms and breweries have proven natural gathering points for snow enthusiasts. The respective vibe of each recognizes kindred spirit in the other.
The ski-brew bond is about culture, love of mountains, and the thrilling pursuit of passion; parts all to the Ikon Pass community.