Snow and beer adore each other, every skier knows as much. It’s why we pack a good beer or two with the rest of our gear every time we set out for a cross-country trek.
On the slopes, the end of the run is rarely far from something cold and refreshing that the resort happens to be pouring. But some ski tows elevate themseles above the rest when it comes to finding sound avenues for local beer.
Here are a few great American towns where good beer flows like a natural brook and great snow looms on the not-too-distant horizon:
This outdoorsy outpost in beautiful central Oregon is just a short drive from the highly-rated snow of Mt. Bachelor. The powder is so good here that the place has become a training ground for the Olympic ski team.
The beer culture is equally strong. There’s great beer to be had at Crux, Boneyard, and mainstay Silver Moon Brewing. For more complex, wine-like ales, try Ale Apothecary. For Belgian-inspired numbers, check out Monkless. And if you just want to take in the massive selection, check out great bottle shops like Broken Top.
Salt Lake City, Utah
Utah snow is considered some of the best on the planet. The beer scene in Salt Lake hasn’t always been as impressive, but the last decade has seen a major uptick in craft in Utah’s winter-loving capital.
Templin Family Brewing is set in an attractive, warehouse-like space with an outdoor area fit with thawing fire pits. The company makes comforting beers like smoked helles, trippels, and winter-beating imperial stouts and IPAs. Uinta is a larger outfit but still turns out consistently tasty brews. Roha Brewing Project makes solid pale and red ales, along with some enticing seasonal beers.
Jackson Hole, Wyoming
Roadhouse has really hit its stride as of late, with some nice IPAs and saisons, especially. There’s a Melvin tap house in town, a Wyoming brewery known for its high-octane IPAs. Snake River Brewing produces a nice lineup of beers in a sustainable fashion, including a refreshing kolsch and a wintery stout. If you want to peruse a good beer aisle for something to take back to your room, drop by Jackson Whole Grocer & Cafe.
There are plenty of slopes about an hour’s drive from the Mile High City. This standup western city is beloved for its beers, from the more recognizable (Great Divide) to the lesser-known tastes of Germany (Bierstadt Lagerhaus).
Crooked Stave is at the top of their game, producing cellar-aged wonders made almost entirely from Colorado ingredients. Burns Family Artisan Ales is a like-minded venture, producing some noticeable Belgian-style beers as well as fruit-infused hazy and even a gruit. In the Bluebird District, Cerebral is a great option, touting an enchanting lineup of oak-aged beers, goses, and a number of head-turning collaboration beers.
Stowe is a winter wonderland begging to be explored. When it’s time to head indoors, look for a trio of local breweries to warm your soul. The most famous is The Alchemist, responsible for some of the most sought-after ales in the country. There are limits to how much you can buy here but bring a good carrying case (or make room in your car), because you’re going to want to test those rules to the max.
Nearby is the Von Trapp Brewery and Bierhall, an Austrian-themed operation. The lodge-like setting features beautiful panoramic views of the surrounding topography and tasty lagers, pilsners, and bocks. Idletime Brewing Company is another and a great stop for the hungry as it features a full restaurant. For a pint, try their thirst-quenching hefeweizen or satisfying vanilla porter. (You can read more about the Vermont beer scene here.)
Yes, that Portland. The old port town is a short distance from many cross-country routes and just under two hours from Sugarloaf by car. Back in town, the craft options are many, from Shipyard to Allagash Brewing Company and it’s famous Belgian white. The latter is in the midst of a coolship project featuring a number of dazzling beers made via spontaneous fermentation.
Bissell Brothers is a worthy stop and on the receiving end of a fair amount of praise. The brewery throws release parties for special and one-off beers often and can be quite experimental, firing off things like ginger and Australian IPAs. Austin Street should also be on your shortlist, a relatively new operation making well-rounded beers, from brett saisons to barleywines.
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