If you are a follower of this blog, then it should come as no surprise that I am a fan of craft beer. The movement and its exponential growth fascinates me. Visiting different breweries and trying different beers to find the best that they have to offer has become my thing. That being said, I especially love when these visits and/or beers coincide with skiing or any other activity that works up an appetite. Earning it just makes everything taste a little bit better. That's why we are All About Après.
Having traveled around the country and visited many different ski resorts it is evident that they have become the beneficiary of the growing craft beer movement. In fact, many of the states producing some of this country's finest suds are also the ones housing some of our country's best ski resorts. Places, like Colorado, Oregon, California and, especially, Vermont are doing it right in respect to both beer and skiing. Now, thanks to a combination of location and better distribution, ski resorts are featuring many of these delicious beers in their restaurants and bars. It just makes sense. Skiers and snowboarders like good beer so why not satisfy their needs? In all of the places that I've visited, no place is doing this better than Mount Snow, Vermont. Thanks to a prime location in the Green Mountain State and a dedicated focus by it's Food and Beverage Director, Michael Giorgio, Mount Snow continues to stay at the forefront of providing its guests with the best craft beer experience to compliment its already great skiing and snowboarding.
Location and Dedication are Two Keys to Mount Snow's Craft Beer Success
Roy Halladay once said, "The biggest thing that I have ever learned is location," and Mount Snow has it. Nestled in the southern part of a state that is producing more beer per capita than any other, Mount Snow has access to some of the finest beers that Vermont has to offer. Their southern location also allows them to feature some tasty bevvies from Massachusetts and New York, two other states that are carving out a name for themselves in the craft beer world. Mount Snow's Head of Food and Beverage and resident beer connoisseur, Michael Giorgio, is constantly on top of this scene. His knowledge of the staples in the industry is unrivaled and so too is his ability to find budding craft breweries to feature before they are ever even known by the masses. Each time I visit, he is constantly pointing me in the direction of a certain beer from a brewery that I have never heard of before saying, "Rich, have you ever had this beer? Or, Rich you need to try these guys." It is this type of dedication that has enabled Mount Snow to have three of the best on-mountain beer bars that I have ever visited: The Station Tap Room, The Bullwheel and Canned.
Three Amazing Beer Bars Deliver a Variety of Craft Beer Options
The Station Tap Room was Mount Snow's first real foray into having a bar that was dedicated to craft beer. With 24 rotating taps, the selection there extends far beyond the Northeast, regularly featuring some of the finest beers from across the country. You can often find beer geeks and skiers alike flocking there in droves during après-ski to give some of the nation's best beers a try.
These exceptional draft choices at The Tap Room have since bled over into many of their other restaurants, but none as prominently as in The Bullwheel. Mount Snow's famous summit bar with epic views regularly features some of the area's finest brews and happens to be the only one of these bars that stays open all summer. That means that you can reward yourself après everything with the likes of Hill Farmstead, Fiddlehead and Farnham Ale and Lager, whose excellent collaboration with little known Cousins Brewery called Gaper I just had there this weekend. Aside from their exceptional draft selection, the Bullwheel also offers up a variety of canned beers like the infamous Focal Banger and Sip of Sunshine. No surprise here though, especially since Mount Snow opened, arguably their most unique location, Canned a little over a year ago.
The name says it all. Canned, a former candy store turned bar offers only canned beer from the region and its brilliance is in its simplicity. Walk up to the counter and order staples like Zero Gravity's Cone Head IPA or more rare finds like the highly rated Beekeeper from Burlington Beer Company. Sometimes there are even secret can drops that you can only find out about if you know to ask and get there early enough. The place is simply incredible!
Brewers Festivals Help to Expand Mount Snow's Craft Beer Offerings
The bars, however, are only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to how good this mountain is at providing the best craft beer to its patrons. Parlaying the success of The Station Tap Room, Bullwheel and Canned, Mount Snow regularly hosts brewers festivals devoted to sampling even more delicious beers from breweries all over. In doing so, they have, no doubt, established great relationships with the brewers who attend and use these events to find the latest and greatest beer to feature in the aforementioned restaurants. Like for example at this past weekend's Winter Brewers Festival where I tasted some excellent beers from lesser known breweries like Connecticut Valley Brewery whose highly drinkable and DIPA Trailblazer was delicious. As well as the highly unique Belgian Brunette called Base Layer from the Godfather of Vermont beers, Longtrail Brewing. Now in its 11th year Winter Brewers Festival continues to grow and will one day rival their Summer Brewers Festival that has been running 24 years strong over Labor Day weekend. Not to be outdone is Mount Snow's Oktoberfest which, despite being more of a harvest celebration with fun outdoor games, also features a diverse amount of breweries and their fall offerings.
Mount Snow Brings it All Together with Craft Beer Pairing Dinners
Relationships like these have only added to the continued success of Mount Snow in the craft beer world. As recently as last year, they released their first collaboration beer with Foolproof Brewing called Yahd Sale, a tasty New England style IPA. They also have a lineup of beer pairing dinners throughout the winter like the one that I attended this past Friday with Zero Gravity Craft Brewery. Having become longtime friends with their owner and brewers both parties worked together to create a menu that highlighted how Zero Gravity's beers played off the flavors of each dish. The dinner was very well done, expertly matching a beer with a dish. I especially enjoyed the pairing of the Mahi Mahi tacos on a Bao Bun paired with a gin barrel aged saison named Après Vous. The sparkling, almost champagne quality of the saison, as well as its floral notes from being aged in the gin barrel, graciously matched the light, yet flavorful quality of the fish and its condiments while cutting the heat of the thai chili sauce. It was a seriously delightful pairing that further accentuates how well Mount Snow is excelling in delivering a high quality craft beer experience to their patrons.
From their three amazing bars, to their brewers festivals, and their regular beer pairing dinners, Mount Snow has elevated themselves to the top of the list of ski resorts that excel in the craft beer world.