Written by Anthony Orig for craftbeer.com
Itâ€™s no secret, most everyone knows that the winter of 2011-2012 has been brutal for many. Small businesses are hurting from the poor ski conditions over the holidays and ski resorts are scrambling to attract tourists. But last weekend, the powder gods arrived and the snow was falling. Some lucky resorts saw feet of fresh snow and some ski areas couldnâ€™t even completely open because of the historic storm.
There’s just something about the combination of craft beer and skiing towns. Don’t believe me? EvenÂ Skiing MagazineÂ is paying attention to the trend. This year they’ve introduced an interactiveÂ Ski Country Brew FinderÂ to help all the ski bums out there find great craft beer while enjoying the slopes.
Powder Day Craft Beer Destinations
With many powder days on the horizon for locals and tourists alike, thereâ€™s nothing like a craft beer at the end of an epic day on the mountain. If you ever find yourself looking for a place to grab a local craft beer after a day of skiing, look no further than one of these breweries close to the lifts.
Mt. Bachelor Ski Resort | Bend, Oregon
Just outside of Bend, a mecca for outdoor and craft beer enthusiasts, lies Mt. Bachelor in the Central Cascade Mountains. As one of the largest ski areas in North America, guests can ski in any direction off of the summit in a variety of terrain.
Afterwards, enjoy a Red Chair NWPA atÂ Deschutes Brewery, named after the oldest operating chairlift at Mt. Bachelor. Right now, you can even win a trip for two for a VIP tour of the brewery, three days of riding, and much more with theirÂ Red Chair Sweepstakes. Considering they just received 35â€ in a single day, Iâ€™d say your odds of a powder day are pretty good.
FiftyFifty Brewing Co.
Northstar at Tahoeâ„¢ | Truckee, California
After some laps at the renowned terrain parks, rated some of the best in the world, slide intoÂ FiftyFifty Brewing Co.Â for some post-ski beers and food. Although foggy goggles can be a huge inconvenience on the slopes, in the taproom itâ€™s a different story, as you enjoy a pint of their Foggy Goggle Belgian Wit. FiftyFifty is also dedicated to sustainability by reducing their carbon footprint and subsequently protecting our winters for years to come.
Great Northern Brewing Company
Whitefish Mountain Resort | Whitefish, Montana
About an hour south of the Canadian border in the upper reaches of Montana, lies the Whitefish Mountain Resort and the nearbyÂ Great Northern Brewing Company. More than 3,000 acres of terrain are covered by an average annual snowfall of 300â€. Combine that with the lack of lift lines, and youâ€™ll be sure to find some fresh Rocky Mountain powder.
Sun Valley Resort | Sun Valley, Idaho
A little over a month ago,Â Sawtooth BreweryÂ in Ketchum, Idaho, opened its doors to the public, giving Sun Valley skiers and riders something to look forward to after the lifts stop spinning. Be sure to try their First Chair Coffee Stout or visit them as they host their first annual Homebrew Day on February 11, where theyâ€™ll teach you the ins and outs of homebrewing, while having a great time with others.
Telluride Brewing Co.
Telluride Ski Resort | Telluride, Colorado
Located in the San Juan Mountains in Southern Colorado, Telluride boasts a wide variety of terrain for beginners and experts alike. Experts have plenty of hike-to terrain to keep them happy, while families can enjoy skiing together on some of the groomed runs with majestic views.
Back in town, Chris Fish and Tommy Thacher were brought together by their love for skiing and their quest for the perfect beer. For years they talked about opening their own brewery and just last May, their dream became a reality withÂ Telluride Brewing Co.Â After a long day hiking the Gold Hill Chutes or Palmyra Peak, head back into town to the newly-opened brewery to see what theyâ€™re all about.
Thai Me Up & Snake River Brewery
Jackson Hole Mountain Resort | Jackson Hole, Wyoming
â€œThe Villageâ€ boasts some of the most challenging in-bounds terrain in the U.S. and the surrounding backcountry holds classic ski-mountaineering routes such as the Ford/Stettner on the Grand Teton or the Glacier Route on the Middle Teton. But whichever route you choose, be sure to head back to downtown Jacksonâ€™s craft beer choices.
Thai Me Up Restaurant & Brewery, foundedÂ by Jeremy TofteÂ in 2000 as Jacksonâ€™s first Thai restaurant, doesnâ€™t cut corners on making authentic Thai food or placing his handcrafted beers beside it. Enjoy a relaxed atmosphere while kicking back with one of their signature beers or a brew from their impressiveÂ guest tap list.
Just around the corner,Â Snake River Breweryâ€™sÂ Zonker Stout has won gold medals at both the Great American Beer Festival and the World Beer Cup. This intensely roasted, but well-balanced Foreign-Style Stout is one of my personal favorites after a day of skiing in Jackson Hole
Trapp Family Lodge and Brewery
Stowe Mountain Resort | Stowe, Vermont
Not only is theÂ Trapp Family Lodge and BreweryÂ close to the historic Stowe Ski Area in the Green Mountains of Vermont, but there’s also some great backcountry skiing on the family property. They are one of the few â€˜Bed and Brewsâ€™ of America, meaning they brew their own craft beer on the hotel grounds. A ski-in-ski-out doesnâ€™t get much better than this.
These are only a few of the ski-town brews, what other breweries do you visit after a day of playing in the snow?
Anthony Orig is a recent graduate of the University of Colorado at Boulder with degrees in Environmental Studies and Geography. As an avid outdoor enthusiast, he enjoys craft brews the most after long days of exploring in the mountains. Still new to the craft beer brewing world, he looks forward to learning more about the industry and meeting the people behind the beer. Follow his daily beer and mountain adventures onTwitter.