Craft beer and mountain towns just seem to go together. And few things are better than a cold lager or pilsner on a bluebird day after skiing and riding. While many ski resorts have increased their craft beer offerings, there are also a lot of craft breweries at or close to ski areas. They make for a great après-ski basecamp, especially since many of them have full kitchens, and often offer bar games, events and even live music.
So we’ve put together a list of a few of the great breweries in ski towns around America.
10 great craft breweries in U.S. ski towns
Beech Mountain Brewing, North Carolina
Beech Mountain Brewing is located in the village of North Carolina’s Beech Mountain Resort, the highest elevation ski resort in eastern North America. Beers are ski- and mountain-inspired, including Beech Mountain Lager, Beech Blonde, Downhill IPA, Mountain Town Amber, and 5506 Pale Ale, named after the peak elevation. Friday and Saturday nights are hopping here, as live music takes the stage at Beech Mountain Brewing.
The Alchemist, Vermont
The Green Mountains of Vermont has its share of craft breweries. However, The Alchemist in Stowe, is located about equal distance from several Vermont ski areas including Stowe, Sugarbush, Bolton Valley, Smugglers’ Notch, and Mad River Glen. The Alchemist is renowned for its double IPA, Heady Topper, brewed from a blend of six different hops. People travel from hundreds of miles just for a taste of this beer that’s rated 100 on Beer Advocate. The Alchemist Beer Cafe, open Thursday through Sunday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., is a great spot after a day of skiing.
Snake River Brewing, Wyoming
Jackson Hole is home to the award-winning Snake River Brewing, which is one of Wyoming’s oldest brewpubs. Snake River Brewing has won numerous World Beer Cup medals, Great American Beer Festival medals, and Small Brewery of the Year (twice!). This is the spot after a day of skiing, with a full kitchen and bakery, great bar games, and a wide selection of flagship and seasonal beers. You’ll find just about every type of beer here, from English porters to European- and American-style pilsners to New England IPAs and more.
Aspen Brewing Company, Colorado
Aspen Brewing Company brews what they call “traditional styles with a Colorado flair.” Root Shoot malt, and many other ingredients, are sourced locally. Ales, stouts, lagers, ciders and more are brewed here at 7,908 feet at the foot of the Colorado’s Elk Mountain Range. Aspen Brewing Company is the only licensed brewery in Aspen, and just steps from Aspen Mountain, making for the perfect après-ski spot for the craft beer lover.
Breckenridge Brewery, Colorado
Breckenridge Brewery first opened its doors in 1990, and has since expanded to Denver in Littleton. It features a wide selection of beer styles, ranging from traditional ales and lagers to sours, saisons, and barrel-aged beer. Specialties include Buddy Pass Whiskey Bar-aged Oatmeal Stout, the malty, full-bodied Christmas Ale, and Broncos Country, which is brewed with all Colorado ingredients. Breckenridge Brewery also has their own line of hard seltzers, called Good Company.
June Lake Brewing Company, California
Just a short drive from legendary Mammoth Mountain, at the foot of its sister ski area, June Mountain, this brewery is all about the hops. You’ll find no shortage of IPAs. Additionally, you’ll find hard seltzer, lagers, stouts, and pilsners in their cool taproom. Don’t miss Ohanas395, the Hawaiian food truck at June Lake Brewing’s beer garden, open Thursday through Sunday from noon to 5 p.m.
Alibi Ale Works, California
Alibi Ale Works has three locations around Lake Tahoe, including the Truckee Public House near Northstar Tahoe, and two in Incline Village. They offer 18-plus frequently rotating Alibi beers on draft, as well as cider, wine, nitro coffee, kombucha, and other non-alcoholic options. Naturally, Alibi uses Lake Tahoe water to make its well-loved beer.
Warfield Distillery & Brewery, located in Ketchum, Idaho near Sun Valley Resort, is unique in that it’s both a brewery and distillery. Only organic ingredients – malt, botanicals and whole leaf hops – are used at Warfield to brew lagers, dark and light ales, and porter styles of beer. Warfield’s selection of distilled spirits include gin, vodka, apple brandy and whiskey. Warfield Whiskey Club, an annual membership for regulars, comes with tastings, early access and special offers.
Crux Fermentation Project, Oregon
Crux Fermentation Project is about a 20-minute drive from Mt. Bachelor, making for a great hang after a day on the mountain. Brewers use unique brewing techniques such as open fermentation, decoction mashing, and barrel aging to create one-of-a-kind beers at Crux. Many of their brews are IPAs, and have names you won’t forget like Toy Poodle, Pert Near and Tough Love. Come spring, grab a pint in the taproom, order food from one of the food trucks and bask in the sun on Crux’s big yard. Crux often also has live music.
51 State Brewing Co., Michigan
51 State Brewing, a family-run brewery in Kingsford, Michigan in the Upper Peninsula, gets its name from a 1970s movement by the U.P. denizens to secede from the state. That didn’t work, but the brewery does. Offered here are six flagship beers, including the locals’ favorite Ski Jump IPA, a hoppy bitter beer with slight malt flavor with balanced hops. Fittingly, the nearby ski area of Pine Mountain was founded by beer kingpin Frederick Pabst. Pabst was instrumental in creating several ski hills across the country, including Bromley in Southern Vermont.