Ski season is fast-approaching. While many people are visiting apple orchards and leaf peeping this time of year, others are bringing their skis to their local ski shop to get sharpened or are checking out the latest gear and clothing, all while waiting for winter to show it's familiar face.
When I head to the mountain with my friends, it's a given that I am bringing a cooler with me. Working for a beer distributor allows me access to some great beers that I might not have known about otherwise. My ski friends tend to reap the benefits of this as well. Here are a few of my favorite beers that seem to consistently find their way into my cooler. Note: not all breweries offer cans, but should I want to stuff a beer in my pocket and head up the gondola, the can is my preferred vessel.
Saratoga Local Session IPA
Saratoga Brewery has done what many other breweries have attempted, but very few have succeeded: maintained the hoppiness of an IPA while keeping the alcohol content to a respectable 4.5% ABV. Local Session IPA
is available at your local beverage centers and many of the larger supermarkets in the Capital Region.
Brown's Oatmeal Stout
Brown's Brewing has been brewing this delicious Oatmeal Stout
for years and it was the winner of the 2004 World Beer Cup. At only 5.5% ABV, the malty goodness in a can is perfect for sitting on the patio at Gore, hopefully near the fireplace.
New Belgium Fat Tire
I first had this amber ale when I visited Vail, Colorado in 1996. Twenty years later, it's finally sold in New York State. This iconic amber ale is brewed in Fort Collins, CO. Fat Tire
won fans with its sense of balance: toasty, biscuit-like malt flavors coasting in equilibrium with hoppy freshness.
Sierra Nevada Torpedo IPA/ Long Trail Limbo
These are two of my favorite IPAs and both are sold in 16oz cans. Sierra Nevada originally opened in 1980 in Chico, California at the foothills of the Sierra Nevada mountain range. Torpedo
is a balanced 7.2% ABV india pale ale that brings citrus, pine, and tropical hop notes to the forefront. Long Trail Limbo
comes in slightly higher at 7.6% ABV and uses new breeds of hops from Australia and the Pacific Northwest. Long Trail Brewery is just up the road from Killington Mountain Resort and if heading that way, I strongly encourage you to stop in and have dinner after visiting the six peaks that Killington offers.
The National Ski Area's Association (NSSA) created the Skier's Responsibility Code, which anyone who has ever had a ski or snowboard lesson has read. Above all, it preaches that common sense should be used. This holds true with enjoying the aforementioned beverages. Please use your head. Overindulging in alcoholic beverages and heading down the mountain is not encouraged. You not only place your own life at risk, but the other skiers on the mountain as well. While I feel like some things are obvious- unfortunately common sense is lacking these days.
So here you go: Be smart. Ski safe. Know your limits. Do not drive after drinking, and please use a designate driver.