Updated on 8/16/21
At this point, you all know that I am a huge fan of craft beer.
The movement and its exponential growth fascinates me, especially its relationship to the ski industry. Sure, skiing and beer have co-existed for quite some time. They are like the spaghetti and meatballs of après-ski. You just cannot separate the two.
Having been fortunate enough to travel and ski around the country, it is evident that ski resorts have been the beneficiary of this 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.
Researching Vermont Craft Beer
This is especially true of craft beer in Vermont. Owning a Mount Snow AirBnb, I have certainly had the opportunity to indulge in the best beer in Vermont.
Someone has to do the research, right? Otherwise, I'd be spreading false information and I just can't do that to you.
Through these extensive studies (ie. imbibing at après-ski) I have determined that Vermont craft beer is THAT good.
Thanks to a combination of location and better distribution throughout the state, 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 ski resort is featuring craft beer better than Mount Snow, Vermont. Thanks to a prime location and a dedicated focus, Mount Snow ski resort is at the forefront of providing its guests with the best Vermont craft beer experience to complement its already great skiing and snowboarding.
Mount Snow Resort's Location is One Key to Their Success
Roy Halladay once said, "The biggest thing that I have ever learned is location."
Mount Snow Ski Resort 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 Vermont beer brands. Their location in southern Vermont also has them close in proximity to Massachusetts and New York. This also gives Mount Snow Resort access to craft beer from two more states that are carving out a name for themselves in the craft beer world.
Being able to draw from states as good as these is equally a huge advantage and a daunting task. There are just so many great craft breweries to choose from. That's where Mount Snow Ski Resort's Head of Food and Beverage and resident beer connoisseur, Michael Giorgio comes into play.
Dedication to Craft Beer Makes for an Unrivaled Experience
He is constantly on top of the Vermont craft beer scene as well as those from many other states.
Giorgio's knowledge of the craft beer industry is unrivaled. So too is his ability to find budding craft breweries before they are ever even known by the masses. Each time I visit, Mount Snow I make it a point to me up with him. Giorgio has never steered me wrong, constantly pointing me in the direction of a certain beer from a brewery that I have never heard of before.
And they always deliver!
It is this type of dedication that has catapulted Mount Snow restaurants and bars to the top of the craft beer bar world. In fact, I would make the case that they have three of the best on-mountain beer bars that I have ever visited: The Station Tap Room, The Bullwheel and Canned.
Three Bars at Mount Snow Deliver a Variety of Craft Beer Options
The Station Tap Room:
The Station Tap Room is one of the best bars at Mount Snow. It was also and their first real foray into having a dedicated craft beer bar.
The Station has 24 rotating taps.
Yes, you read that right...24!
With this many tap handles The Station often features beer on their menu that extends far beyond the Northeast. They basically have beer from Vermont to California and everything in between. With a selection this good, you can often find beer geeks and skiers alike flocking there in droves.
And, why wouldn't they? There is nothing better than turning après-ski into a daily craft beer tasting.
The exceptional draft choices at The Tap Room have since bled over into many of the other Mount Snow bars and restaurants. Nowhere has this been more evident than at The Bullwheel.
The Bullwheel is one of the more famous Mount Snow bars. With a location at the summit, The Bullwheel affords epic views. It also regularly features some of the best beer in Vermont. It also happens to be one of the bars at Mount Snow that stays open all summer.
Being open year-round means that you can reward yourself après everything with the likes of the best Vermont beer like: Hill Farmstead, Fiddlehead and Farnham Ale and Lager. Aside from their exceptional draft selection, The Bullwheel also offers up a wide variety of canned beers from Vermont. Infamous beers such as Heady Topper, Focal Banger and Sip of Sunshine are often regularly available.
Having good canned beer at a Mount Snow Bar though should come as no surprise. Since they opened, arguably their most unique location, Canned, it has become a mainstay at Mount Snow Ski Resort.
The name says it all!
Canned, a former candy store turned bar, offers only canned beer from the region. Its brilliance is in its simplicity. Walk up to the counter at this Mount Snow bar and order staples like Zero Gravity's Cone Head IPA or Upper Pass First Drop. If you're looking to be more adventurous, try one of their more rare finds like the highly rated Beekeeper from Burlington Beer Company.
Sometimes Canned even offers secret can drops. Pay attention to Instagram so that you know to ask for them and be sure get there early enough. The secret beers often come in limited amounts and sell out quickly.
Canned may be simple...simply incredible and one of my favorite Mount Snow bars.
Beer Festivals Help to Expand Mount Snow's Craft Beer Offerings
Mount Snow restaurants and bars 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, The Bullwheel and Canned, Mount Snow regularly hosts beer festivals as well.
It is devotion such as this that allows visitors to sample not only Vermont craft beer but beers from breweries all over the country. It also gives Mount Snow resort the opportunity to establish great relationships with the brewers who attend. By doing so, these events serve a double purpose. They entertain the visiting public while helping the staff find the latest and greatest beer to feature in the aforementioned Mount Snow restaurants and bars.
For example when I attended their annual Winter Brewers Festival, I tasted some excellent beers from lesser known breweries like Connecticut Valley Brewery. Their DIPA called Trailblazer was dangerously drinkable delicious. So too was the highly unique Belgian Brunette called Base Layer brewed by the OG of Vermont craft breweries, Longtrail Brewing.
Now in its 11th year Winter Brewers Festival continues to grow and will one day will rival the success of Summer Brewers Festival. 26 years and running strong, it is a mainstay over Labor Day weekend.
Not to be lost among these two other craft beer festivals is Mount Snow's Oktoberfest. Despite it being more of a harvest celebration with fun outdoor games, it also features a diverse amount of breweries and their fall offerings. Bringing it All Together with Craft Beer Pairing Dinners
Craft Beer Dinners and Mount Snow Restaurants
Relationships established at their beer festivals only add to the continued success of Mount Snow in the craft beer world. As recently as last year, Mount Snow released their first collaboration beer, a tasty New England style IPA with Foolproof Brewing called Yahd Sale.
They also have a lineup of beer pairing dinners throughout the winter at one of their other Mount Snow Restaurants, 1900' Burger. I had the opportunity to attend one before featuring Zero Gravity Craft Brewery. Having established and cultivated a relationship 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. Each dish was expertly paired with a beer from Zero Gravity. I especially enjoyed the combination 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 the floral notes acquired from the aging 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. The beer pairing was delightful.
Beer pairing dinners like these further accentuate how well Mount Snow is excelling in delivering a high quality craft beer experience to their patrons. However, the true key to their success is having all of the aforementioned components be interchangeable with each other.
Mount Snow restaurants and bars provide excellent craft beer from Vermont and beyond but they are only able to do this because of the relationships established at to their annual brewers festivals. These relationships are then cultivated over time and turn into, not only new craft beers on the menus but also the incredible beer pairing dinners they offer. As a result, this cyclical process has elevated Mount Snow Vermont to the top of the list of ski resorts that are excelling in the craft beer world.
Do you have a favorite ski resort that is doing craft beer right? If so, let us know in the comments section below.
Drinking Craft Beer Requires the Appropriate Ski T-Shirt
Whenever I visit Mount Snow ski resort, I always pack a variety of après-ski t-shirts. The one that always seems to draw the most love there though is our If You Don't Après Ski T-shirt. No ski day is complete without indulging in après-ski. With a craft beer scene like the one at Mount Snow it is no surprise that this ski t-shirt is always a winner there.