Photo Credit: Aspen Brewing Company
Until recently, my most vivid knowledge of Aspen was watching TJ and Dexter make a run at the Powder 8 in the movie Aspen Extreme. Based on TJ's interactions with the lovely and wealthy Brice, I always assumed that Aspen was for the elite and with Men's Journal just declaring them one of their four most opulent ski locations to visit, my suspicions were 'somewhat' confirmed. However, more recently, I am coming to realize that Aspen is more than just fancy cowboy outfits and high-end restaurants and bars. It's "a place where the beer flows like wine, where beautiful women instinctively flock like the salmon of Capistrano" (Lloyd Christmas, Dumb and Dumber), and that beer is flowing right from the taps of Aspen Brewing Company.
Only a few blocks walk from the Aspen base is Aspen Brewing Company. Founded in 2008, with the intention of brewing beer in Aspen that is "downstream from nobody" the brewery is so far from the preconceived pretensions that people have about Aspen. Aspen Brewing is run by a bunch of down to earth guys who really enjoy running a brewery in Aspen. "We enjoy an amazing lifestyle here in Aspen, and that is a part of our company's culture. We get to make a living and grow a small business in one of the most amazing places on earth. If our team isn't making or drinking beer, we're outside playing in the mountains around us," said Duncan Clauss of Aspen Brewing Company.
Having tried a few of their beers, it is evident that they are living up to their 'Downstream from nobody' tagline. However, tasty beers are only the tip of the iceberg. Featuring one of the best views in town, they encourage you to 'Drink in the View' while you listen to a variety of local and traveling bands on the weekends, free from cover.
This combination of frosty beers, a beautiful view and live music is fast making Aspen Brewing a go to après ski location. In fact, "If the snow is just right, you can actually ski across town and to our front door. If you're really good, you can ski down our frosty front stairs," said Clauss. Somewhat tongue in cheek, adding, "This makes us an 'experts only' - ski in, ski out brewery."
Ski in ski out brewery aside, Aspen Brewing Company is an awesome après spot that happens to be run by some really great people who enjoy brewing up seriously good beers. Here are a few of my favorites:
SILVER CITY 4.3% ABV
A very unique house session beer in the sense that it is more of a sour, but hey that's all the rage now, right? I have grown more accustomed to this beer type in recent months, whereas in the past I would've never even touched a sour. That being said, I really enjoyed the bright lemon flavors created by the dry hop addition of Centennial hops. The tartness created by the lemon taste is evident but not overbearing like some sours can be. Combine that with the low abv and you have a one of kind session beer that you can enjoy throughout apres.
THIS SEASON’S BLONDE ALE 5.5% ABV
2015 US Open Beer Championship Silver Medal
Let's be honest, who doesn't love this season's blonde? I am talking about the beer of course. Blondes can sometimes be a little too...blonde. This is honestly one of the best blondes that I have tasted. With a balance of fruit and bread flavors, it is highly refreshing and, if I lived near the brewery, would be my go to beer choice.
INDEPENDENCE PASS ALE IPA 7% ABV
2016 World Beer Cup Gold Medal - English Style India Pale Ale
Named after Aspen's eastern boundary and highest elevation, the Independence Pass Ale has a name that just works with this style. A bit higher in ABV makes it a little less sessionable and having a few at apres could definitely make you as delirious as that elevation would. However, it's a really good IPA. Not a total hop bomb, it's hoppiness is balanced out by a combination of fruit and caramel flavors.