For many skiers and boarders, the perfect way to end a day on the hill is with a cold one … or two.
Most of those thirsty riders will head for the base lodge bar or a tavern down the road; others will forego the indoor niceties and simply tailgate in the parking lot.
That’s all fine and dandy if you’re only looking for a generic beer.
But if you count yourself among the cognoscenti of the brewing arts, you’re more likely to be seeking out the local craft beer establishments. And luckily for you, there are a plethora of breweries and brew pubs scattered around ski country.
Here are nine that are worthy of checking out:
Tahoe National Brewing Company
After a day ripping Palisades Tahoe or Homewood, head over to Tahoe City, where one of the town’s newest establishments is making a buzz. This gastropub located on the shore of Lake Tahoe has a selection of beer that will rival the view. Although there isn’t much of a choice of the big hoppy brews, their German and English style brews will pair well with the establishment’s eclectic and rotating food menu.
Sunriver Brewing Company
About a half-hour southeast of Mt. Bachelor you’ll find the Sunriver resort and its eponymous brewery. The Sunriver Pub has a friendly atmosphere with mellow vibes and a large assortment of quality beer. Check out the light, thirst-quenching Fuzztail Hefeweizen or the Vicious Mosquito, a classic Pacific Northwest IPA.
Salmon River Brewery
Visitors to Brundage Mountain or Tamarack resorts will want to stop off in McCall and sample some of Salmon River’s large assortment of award-winning brews, including gold medalists Alpenglow Lager, Blonde Sabbath Belgian Blonde or Bark Villain Imperial Milk Stout. Not only is the beer handcrafted, the pub’s interior is as well, with a reclaimed wood back bar and metal work done by local artisans.
You’ll find a bunch of outlets all over the Salt Lake City area, but head for the mothership in Park City, which was established in 1986 and is the oldest brewery in Utah. Founder Greg Schirf likes to have fun, and it shows in some of his product, such as Polygamy (Why just have one?) Porter or Island Hop (A trip to the beach without having to pack the sunscreen) IPA.
Steamworks Brewing Company
Guests at Purgatory Resort should make the short jaunt to Durango and check out Steamworks, which daily features 10 house beers and several rotating seasonal offerings. The brewpub, which has a diverse, Southwest-flavored food menu, is home of Colorado Kolsch Ale, one of the more popular brews in the Centennial State.
Voyageur Brewing Company
If your heading up Lutsen Mountains way make sure to head over to Grand Marais, the gateway to Minnesota’s Boundary Waters and the home of Voyageur’s amazing assortment of IPAs and smoked fish plates. Pescarus, a wet hop hazy pale ale, and Rock Skipper, a Bamberg-style Maerzen Rauchbier, are a couple of pub favorites.
This establishment, situated in Yooper capital of Marquette, Mich., is another brewpub that taps Lake Superior’s water to make great beer. The most popular brew is 51K, an IPA that is named in honor of the annual Noquemanon Ski Marathon, a 50-km Nordic race that ends just one kilometer from the brewery. Another favorite is Float Copper, an amber lager the pairs well with ski boots (see photo).
Outer Limits Brewery
Located in an old woolen mill in Proctorsville, Vt., and within a half-hour’s drive of Okemo, Magic Mountain and Killington, Outer Limits has more than a dozen local brews on tap, including two tasty items on the lighter side, Light Side, a Bavarian Helles lager, and High Frequency, a Hefeweizen. The establishment itself is reminiscent of an English pub.
Schilling Beer Company
Whether you’re testing yourself in Tuckerman’s Ravine or ripping the fun cruisers at Bretton Woods or Cannon Mountain, you can’t find a better way to top off the day than this brewery located in the heart of the White Mountains in Littleton, N.H. Schilling focuses on making European-inspired craft beer, and you can see for yourself in such as Glacial Saison, a winter-inspired farmhouse ale, and Dr. Overt, a Belgian-style dark ale.