You know we are pro creativity here when it comes to any après-ski scene across the country. It is just great to see people doing something other than the norm like the many places that have brought back the Mongolian tents known as yurts. Ditching their original use as a home for the formerly nomadic people these locations have turned them into enjoyable spots to hang out after a day of shredding pow on the mountain. Resorts like Killington have turned theirs into quite the on-mountain experience that includes a snowcat ride and a five course dinner and E.M.P. in conjunction with American Express has set up their own yurt village called Winter House in a little place called Aspen. Not to be outdone is all of this yurt talk is one of my favorite breweries in the high country, Outer Range Brewing Company, who aside from having their own yurt, are doing things a bit out of the norm when it comes to their beers.
Wait...They Only Brew Two Styles of Beer
Located in Frisco, Colorado, just down the road from Copper Mountain, Outer Range draws in a substantial après-ski crowd. Part of this, probably has to do with their location, but once you're there drinking, you instantly realize that it has way more to do with their delicious beers. Owners Emily and Lee Cleghorn are truly living the dream. Both, former members of the army, began their love affair with beer as home brewers, but it was Lee's upbringing that shaped his brewing choices. As a youngster living in Belgium where his father was stationed, he drank many high alcohol content Belgian beers and has continued to have a taste for them to this day. On top of that, when both Emily and Lee decided to leave the army and live out their dream of starting a brewery, Lee interned at that rather popular Other Half Brewing while in brewing school at the American Brewers Guild. Other Half has made quite a name for themselves in recent years for their wildly sought after IPA's. So given his background, it should come as no surprise that they brew only two styles of beer at Outer Range, Belgians and IPA's. Better to focus on one or two things and do them well rather than offer a variety of beers that are mediocre. I totally respect this and it is why the quality of their beers is so next level. Particularly, their In the Steep New England IPA. I know leave it to the East coast skier to pick a New England IPA as one of his favorites from a Colorado based brewery but, what can I say, the cloudy hoppiness that produces a juicy citrus flavor rates high with my palette. If you're looking to try one of their Belgians, go with the Madeleine. At only 3.5% alcohol this refreshing grisette is perfect after a day on the mountain.
Love Yurts So Good During Après-ski
You can experience these tasty beers and more this winter in the comfort of their new yurt which made its debut in December. Brought in from Colorado Yurt Company for the first time last year, this 20' yurt was so popular that they decided to resurrect it again this winter outside of the brewery where it will stand until May. That's plenty of time to pay them a visit on your drive back from a ski day at Copper Mountain. "Our busiest time is the après-ski time frame (around 3-6pm). People love it and I notice that a big chunk of the pics people post about Outer Range are in the yurt." Like this one from their friend and craft beer Instagram influencer, Kevin Boyd took of their popular and appropriately named Yurt Life IPA.
Outer Range has even been partnering with Weston Backcountry and REI to do classes and other cool outdoor-related events in the yurt. Like one of the more recent REI + Weston collab events where they discussed the best places to backcountry ski and splitboard in Summit County. There is nothing like a few frosty beverages to enhance the learning experience.
Outer Range Offers Unique Qualities Encouraging You to Leave Life Below
It's innovation like what they are doing at Outer Range Brewing that makes them so special. Let's face it, it's a major risk to brew only Belgians and IPA's. I know this country is in a bit of an IPA craze these days but that is definitely not the case regarding Belgian beers. However, these beers are brewed with the passion and love that you would expect from a brewery who is keeping it simple in order to ensure that the quality is at a level similar to their crazy high elevation. And the notion that they are serving those beers to a crowd of skiers, riders and more in a unique structure like their yurt while offering fun and informative events only supports their mantra of leaving life below.