Suds for schussing
There’s a growing trend among craft breweries, particularly those in mountain towns, to brew ski-themed beers—and Steamboat is no exception. And why not? The catchy names make drinking, and brewing, them all the more fun. Behold a few Swillin’ has sleuthed out that have risen to the top of the list, just like foam on a fresh pour.
Storm Peak Chowder
While it’s not making its popular Gaper pilsner this winter (“named for one of our favorite party ski days of the year”), Storm Peak hangs its ski-themed brew hat on its hazy IPAs, especially its Chowder, which co-owner Wyatt Patterson says, “pairs great with sunshine and blizzards—plus the Chowder label is white as snow.” “It’s kind of a twofer,” he adds. “It fits for those powder days, definitely, but also on those spring days when sometimes the snow gets as thick as a bowl of chowder.” Just don’t be a gaper yourself…order the pint or 10-ounce instead of the paltry 5-ouncer.
Mountain Tap Cliffed-Out Imperial Stout
While Mountain Tap concocts several winter-themed beers, none take your breath away like its Cliffed Out Imperial Stout. “It’s my favorite,” says co-owner Wendy Tucciarone. “It’s dark, strong, big and bold.” Aged on cacao nibs, which add a chocolate taste and aroma, it clocks in at 8.5% ABV, and sports an aggressive malt bill of nine roasts, five hop varieties and yeast. All this makes it a delicious winter sipper—often released in coveted 22-ounce bottles.
Mohagany Brewing Co. Alpenglow/PowerCat Porter
Mohagany Brewing Co.’s potent Alpenglow is a time-tested locals’ favorite, whose hue resembles the mountain’s glow just before sunset. Credit its flavor—a full-bodied, amber ale with a toasted malt character and sweet finish—to owner and brewmaster Charlie Noble. “We’re a brew pub versus a micro-brewery,” he says. “Brewing is where my passion is—I love seeing someone try a taster and then nod their head in satisfaction.” You’ll be glowing afterward as well. Also on tap: PowderCat Porter, a robust, full-bodied English porter with a rich, dark chocolate flavor and dry roasted malt finish.
Others from Our Out-of-Town Friends
Yard Sale Lager/Season Pass Vanilla Porter (Uinta Brewing Co.)
Having a “yard sale” on the mountain is no fun (and can leave you buying rounds for your friends). Make those rounds tasty with this easy-going winter lager to help erase their memory, or this robust vanilla porter which honors all us pass holders.
Shane McConkey IPA (Crazy Mountain Brewing)
When you’ve put all your body parts out there and lived life as big as freeskiing legend Shane McConkey, you get a beer named after you. This beer is unfiltered, just like McConkey’s butt-naked runs, “the same way Shane lived his life,” according to Crazy Mountain.
Out of Bounds Stout (Avery Brewing)
Duck a rope and you can (and should) get your pass clipped. Go through an official backcountry gate (with all the right gear and know-how) and you’re worthy of enjoying this rich and roasty IPA afterward (also look for its Pow Day IPA, released in conjunction with Freeskier magazine).
Freeride APA (Alaskan Brewing)
Alaskan goes airborne and big with this pale ale, brewed with cascade, citra and centennial hops. (And we should all ski or ride there in our lifetime.)
Loose Boots Apres IPA (Roadhouse Brewing Co.)
We’ve all had loose boots and they suck, your feet swimming when they should be transferring power. Luckily, this 5.5% ABV beer doesn’t, crafted with lemon, lime and pine augmenting its hops—and putting a hop in your turns after you cinch those buckles down.
Single Chair (Magic Hat Brewing)
You never have to yell “Single?” (or bore a fellow rider) on Mad River Glen’s historic single chair. This golden ale honors both the lift and the legacy it’s leaving behind in this era of six-packs for skiers.
Slopestyle Winter IPA (Boulder Beer)
Slopestyle is all about poise in the air and not hitting the knuckle, so knucks to this “cold weather” IPA blending the flavor of an IPA with the malt of a red ale.
Big Drift White IPA (Tamarack Brewing)
A lot of Montana-based Tamarack Brewing’s beers allude to skiing, but this one is named for those big snowdrifts that you can huck off or catch you by surprise. It’s a hybrid brewed with citrus peels, coriander, candied ginger and lots of hops.
Bunny Hill IPA (Almanac Brewing Co.)
Everyone from beginners to experts will want to schuss down this Bunny Hill. At 6.1% ABV it’s a bit steeper than others on the list, but still very approachable with a taste filled with tropical citrus and melon.
Après All Day Kolsch (Outer Range Brewing)
Frisco’s Outer Range Brewing just opened a new location in the French Alps and celebrated its fifth anniversary with an après all-day party. Hence the name of this light and refreshing kolsch, with a lower ABV and touch of fruitiness for crushability and long lasting fun.
Fresh Corduroy IPA (Old Schoolhouse Brewery)
Carve up fresh cord with this baby, a highly palatable IPA whose sweet and balanced notes of mango and tangerine will leave tracks on your taste buds. Bonus: a guy with neon one-piece on the can.
Gnar Gnar IPA (Lead Dog Brewing)
Dude, get gnar-gnar with this IPA, fashioned after “the gnarly terrain found in its nearby Sierras.” Packed with four different kinds of hops, its orange, grapefruit and pineapple flavors balance out the slight taste of pine, so no need to pucker.
Ski Bum (Ellicottville Brewing)
Now this one strikes home. A 4.9% ABV pilsner that’s as crisp and light-bodied as the ski bum crashing on your sofa, with a much more pleasing citrusy aroma and a similar gentle bitterness.