You’re headed to the mountains. A strong occluded front passed through last night bringing heavy snow and strong winds to the Cascade Mountains. Currently two ski areas (20%) out of 10 ski resorts reporting are open for skiing and snowboarding — Mount Baker with 66 percent of trails open and Crystal Mountain with 36 percent open and 18 inches of new snow. (Stevens Pass and White resorts are scheduled to open Friday, Dec. 2.) You’re going to be exhausted after a full day of early season swooshing. You’re going to be numb by subfreezing temperatures and high prices. You’re going to be stiff because of sore muscles and chunky boots. You’re going to need a beer or four. The French call it “apres-ski,” which translates roughly to “after you’ve paid $149 for a lift ticket.” In some ways it’s no different from any happy hour, but the alpine setting and shared sense of having just surfed down a snowy mountainside create an atmosphere not found inside most bars — except Peaks and Pints. Our 3,600 square foot joint looks like Paul Bunyan’s vacation home. Our mountain feel (original wood-slat floors, reclaimed wood bar and tall tree), stone fireplace room, mountain artifacts, and expansive bar seating make it a comfortable stop for everyone from ski suits to power suits. Shed the snow gear, grab Peaks and Pints’ to-go beer flight — Peaks and Pints Pilot Program: Apres-ski Beer Flight — and tell the tales next to our fireplace. Cheers!
Peaks and Pints Pilot Program: Apres-ski Beer Flight
4.8% ABV, 26 IBU
Of course, Dru Bru brewed a beer paying homage to the ski patrol — the brewery sits at the base of The Summit at Snoqualmie ski area, which had an additional 7 inches of snow over the past 24 hours. Sit on a snow picnic table outside the brewery and enjoy this German dark lager with layers of toast, chocolate, and dark caramel malt flavors. A touch of German-grown hops provides herbal and spicy notes to create this easy-drinking dark lager inspired by a Munich-style dunkel.
7.4% ABV, 51 IBU
If skiing or snowboarding haven’t hooked you already, then powder tracks surely will. And if you are already in love with skiing or snowboarding, well, powder will ensure you dedicate your life to the sport. Powder skiing or snowboarding simply refers to heading down in lighter, fluffy snow as opposed to on groomed runs. It’s an almost totally different sensation on hard-packed snow or on the marked slopes. Stoup Brewing’s Powder Tracks Winter Ale is also a totally different sensation with chocolate and caramel notes touched with a hint of citrus aroma.
7.8% ABV, 60 IBU
After a fun day in the mountains, nothing sounds more satisfying than sharing a refreshing pint. And while that long line of brake lights heading back into town may slow your journey toward fulfillment, Crux Fermentation Project’s hoppy and malt-forward Mountain Traffic red ale is well worth the wait — robust and bursting with rich, hop flavors and a balanced malt body this easy-drinking, apres-whatever winter refresher will have you seeing a different shade of red.
There is nothing else in the world you need when the snow is good, the lift is running, and you have your health. You ski or ride to the very last second taking the last chair up and head down quite often with the whole hill to yourself. Kulshan Brewing knows this feeling. The Bellingham brewery teamed up with the Mt. Baker Ski Area to brew Last Chair IPA, a West Coast IPA bursting with hop notes of citrus, berry, and tropical fruits.