It’s the time of year where hitting the slopes is a must. As much fun as it as popping up a mountain and gnashing down all day, the real fun comes after the ski session ends. Apres ski, if you will. Chilling in a ski lodge, warming up by a crackling fire, and making some new friends to hang in a hot tub with is the order of the day. And a great way to break the ice is to crack open a beer.
The U.S. has skiing from coast to coast, with deeply ingrained ski cultures. Those scenes often go hand-in-hand with great craft beer. So it’s no surprise that brewers all over America look to winter and skiing for an excuse to make special beers that suit the slopes.
We’ve compiled a list of eight of our favorite beers to down apres ski. These are perfect ice breakers and pain relievers in beer form. Stock up your cooler or cabin fridge with some of these beers and you won’t be disappointed. Or just throw a sixer in the snow. It’s all good.
UINTA YARD SALE
Up in Utah, Uinta’s Yard Sale is a very quaffable winter lager. The beer has a nice malt base with a balance of caramel and honey sweetness. There’s a very light echo of hops that lean towards earthy bitterness. This is a great beer to have on hand that’ll please all beer drinkers.
SNAKE RIVER BREWING TRAM JAM
Jackson Hole’s Snake River Brewing gets the whole “it’s-time-for-beer-after-the-slopes” vibe. Their Tram Jam pale ale is a heart-warming brew. The local malts make for a solid base, followed by a rush of bitterness from the hops. It’s not overpowering but you know it’s there, making it very drinkable.
UPSLOPE BREWING COMPANY SPRUCE TIP IPA
Out in Boulder, Upslope Brewing is killing the Colorado craft game. Their recent release, Spruce Tip IPA, brings the beauty of the woods into every can. There’s a big burst of dank pine bitterness with this one that gets cut with a mellow maltiness in the background. This is the perfect beer to pair with a day spent around evergreen trees and snow.
ALASKAN BREWING FREERIDE
Alaskan’s Freeride is a hardcore sports-lovers favorite. The American pale ale has a solid base of malt sweetness. On top of that base, citrus, juicy fruit, and bright florals bring in a clear hoppiness that never disappoints. This is a classic beer that’ll have you reaching for another … and another.
CRAZY MOUNTAIN BREWING COMPANY SHANE MCCONKEY
Back out in Colorado, Crazy Mountain Brewing is coming up with some great ski-related beers. Shane McConkey IPA is as bold as the freeskier. The beer hits heavy with the hops. There’s a nice half-citrus half-pine bitterness here that shines. The beer also packs a good punch at seven percent ABV. You’ll probably only need one six-pack to take the pain away (from all those times you had to bail out there).
ELLICOTTVILLE BREWING SKI BUM
New York’s Ellicottville Brewing paid tribute to the local ski community by brewing up the delectable Ski Bum Ale. The beer has a subtle maltiness that feels like winter in a bottle. There’s a crisp bitterness that’s akin to the cold nipping at your nose while you fly down a slope. It’s balanced, mild, and perfect for the end of the day.
SIERRA NEVADA BIGFOOT
Sierra Nevada’s Bigfoot Barleywine is a big beer in every way. This year’s release has a sweet mix of roasted malts and piney hops. You’ll be transported deep into the forest with every sip, and the 9.6 percent ABV might help you “see” bigfoot.
If you can find some aged bottles, you’ll be in for a real treat, as this beer ages very well.
SWITCHBACK BREWING CO. SMOKED MÄRZEN
Okay, it’s the end of the day. Your body is full of cold aches and pain. It’s time to curl up next to a crackling fire and let all the pain slip away (everyone falls a lot when they ski, right? Because we do). It’s time to crack open a dope smoked beer.
Vermont’s Switchback Brewing has the beer for you. Their Smoked Märzen is a great example of the German style. There’s a clear smoothness to the beer that works wonders with the puffs of smoke. The smoke never overpowers the slight sweetness of the malt and distant echoes of the bitter hops. It’s the perfect fireside beer.