Significant Beer That Changed My Après Life

Significant Beer That Changed My Après Life

The beer isn’t even that fancy. But for some reason I remember them.

New Belgium Fat Tire (Fort Collins, CO)

Where I first had it:
2013, Winter Park, CO – 2 hour drive from the brewery. Visit >

The story behind it: 
It was my first time skiing in Colorado, close to six years ago. I was with my then-boyfriend, who I had met on a chairlift over a year prior. It was pretty much fate, or so I thought, back then. We spent our winter weekends skiing and summer nights at a farmhouse down the road, escaping our everyday lives for something a little more outside. I was just too lucky to hop on a plane and head west on his family ski trip.

Fat Tire was well-established by the time I got hip (I am not hip) to the beer game. New Belgium’s creator first brewed it in his basement in 1988. Twenty-five years later, I was interested in beer, but my palate wasn’t ready for IPAs and stouts. I drank amber ales and blondes and hefeweizen, mostly because I liked to say hefe-veisen at the American Hofbrauhaus chain like I knew what I was talking about (I don’t).

Four days into the trip I found myself in a dim mountain bar, then-boyfriend and his father in tow. I spent the previous 3 days struggling in the trees, trying to keep up with a friend who had moved to the state full-time and his gang. I was also busy avoiding moguls the size of VW Beatles. Over those days, it had snowed what seemed like a foot, and I got my second taste at a real powder day and my millionth taste of realizing I can’t ski for sh*t. I don’t remember much about the bar but I do remember how blown away I was by this beer. They didn’t even distribute it in Pennsylvania, yet!

I remember drinking that night and realizing that was the best beer I had EVER had, right there. Sitting at the bar, it was cold, and it was good. I’ve never had a beer that gave me the same cold deliciousness than that après ski Colorado draft gave me. Maybe it was the fresh air, but I think it was because of a little something else, too. You know that feeling, the one after you have rode your heart out? Your hair still matted to your head, a cozy warmth radiating from the inside of your body while the outside is still a little cold, your endorphins running rampant in your brain? The feeling that everyone else in the bar feels, all connected and content. I drank it in the rest of the trip.

Southern Tier Live (Lakewood, NY)

Where I first had it:
2015, Ellicotville, NY – 3 hours drive from the brewery. Visit >

The story behind it:
Fast forward a few years. Well past broken from the chair lift relationship, I went on a trip up north. It was just myself and one other, as most of my friends were busy getting married or having babies. We were the twenty-somethings that weren’t an age statistic, like those buying houses and creating families with no disposable income for frivolous, expensive things. No, no, this trip wasn’t frivolous, but we did have the broke part down pat.

We got a cheap room in town, close enough to walk or shuttle everywhere. During the day, we made pit stops around the mountain for food and drink, making friends along the way. Once the sun went down, we settled in at a bar where we gulped golden brews for dinner, chatting with mountain guests and bartenders. We spoke loud and told jokes to our neighbors, and played games with the bartender until we knew her first name.

It was the label that got me. Like every basic girl choosing her wine from the liquor store, I fled to to the vibrant colors of Live. Was it Lie-v or Lih-v? Not sure, as the question replayed in my mind and out of my mouth a few times throughout the weekend. But I felt cool as I sipped, a Beer Queen drinking something other than her throne of Bud Light, donned with a knit-hat crown in need of something refreshing. As we drank, we made friends and exchanged phone numbers. We all had something in common: the love for snow and mountains and beer.

I remember drinking that night and realizing that was the best beer I had EVER had, right there. Sitting at the bar, it was cold, and it was good. I’ve only once had a beer that gave me the same cold deliciousness that après ski New York bottle gave me. Maybe it was the fresh air, but I think it was because of a little something else, too. You know that feeling, the one after you have rode your heart out? Your hair still matted to your head, a cozy warmth radiating from the inside of your body while the outside is still a little cold, your endorphins running rampant in your brain? The feeling that everyone else in the bar feels, all connected and content. I drank it in the rest of the trip (and again when we returned with more friends that same season).

Après Eats: Local Beer

Après Eats: Local Beer

Corduroy, powder, ice… no matter the conditions, all any skier or snowboarder wants after a long day on the mountain to quench their thirst and refuel their body is a big, cold, beer. Oh yeah, when that sweet craft nectar hits your lips it’s like heaven on earth… it’s like new fitted boots or freshly waxed boards on a refill day.

Wait – play this and reread that paragraph: Oh Yeah – YouTube 

If you’re on your way out or just trying somewhere new during your stay, check out some good-vibe breweries and pubs that will help you heal after a long day.

Pennsylvania

Nearby Ski/Ride: Seven Springs, Hidden Valley Ski Resort, Laurel Mountain State Park
Nearby Hiking: Ohiopyle, Forbes, Laurel Ridge, Laurel Hill, Linn Run, Kooser State Parks & Forests

  1. Helltown Brewing – Mt. Pleasant, PA – Learn More
  2. Whitehorse Brewing – Berlin, PA – Visit Site
  3. Ridge Runner Distillery – Farmington, PA – Check It Out

More Food & Beer: Falls City Pub – Ohiopyle, PA 

West Virginia

Nearby Ski/Ride: Timberline Four Seasons Resort, Canaan Valley, White Grass (Cross-Country) 
Nearby Hiking: Blackwater Falls State Park

  1. Barrels Brewhouse (previously Blackwater Brewing Co) – Davis, WV – Learn More
  2. Mountain State Brewery – Thomas, WV – Pizza & Beer, What’s Better?
  3. Stumptown Ales – Davis, WV – Not Stumped

More Food & Beer: Hellbender Burritos – Davis, WV

Maryland

Nearby Ski/Ride: Wisp Resort
Nearby Hiking: Swallow Falls

  1. Mountain State Brewery – McHenry, MD
  2. 1812 Brewery – Cumberland, MD – Check It Out

More Food & Beer: Green Turtle – McHenry, MD

BONUS: Pittsburgh, PA

Oh yeah, the city of dreams… er, steel. This town is chock-full of breweries and good eats! I am cutting it off at 10.

  1. Church Brew Works – Lawrenceville
  2. East End Brewing – Pittsburgh
  3. Penn Brewery – North Side
  4. Voodoo – Homestead (I have hear a LOT about this place, need to try!)
  5. Spoonwood Brewing – Bethel Park
  6. Brew Gentlemen – Braddock
  7. Rivertowne – North Side, Monroeville & more (This is a personal hometown fave)
  8. Full Pint – Lawrenceville
  9. Southern Tier – North Side (I love LIVE after a day of skiing)
  10. Bonus Bonus: Wigle Whiskey! – Strip District

Did I miss anything or is there a brew-city in your state? Leave your comments with places I need to check out!

I am thinking a Laurel Highlands wine tour write-up to come. Cheers!

Après Eats: Potato Bacon Corn Chowder

Let’s set the scene: It’s Sunday evening and you just skied hard – 8 am wake-up for a failed attempt at first chair, lunch and then a couple more before it got too dark and cold. You’re still hungover from Saturday shenanigans, where you got to carried away buying pitchers for all your snow-friends at the bar. It’s not like the days when you were 18 21 and can bounce back at the crack of dawn anymore. You think your pounding booze-headache burned off during the full day on the mountain, but you just can’t keep sipping that hot cocoa with a heavy splash of rum – more like a small waterfall of rum – to make you feel just that much better. Your body is finally warm and pupils search under heavy-eyelids to find Valhalla on Netflix; your girlfriend on the far end of the couch is feeling just about the same, and a buddy on the sofa with a beer in his hand, seems to sink deeper into the couch than you. Here’s a killer après eats recipe.

What’s on the stove? Potato. Bacon. Corn Chowder. Potato Bacon Corn Chowder. PotatoBaconCornChowder. It’s like that stupid “Puppy Monkey Baby” SuperBowl commercial – mix 3 things and get something great (oh my God, the advertisement worked). It’s the perfect combo of belly-filling, good-tasting lounge-inducing food.

soup

Here’s what you need:

  • 1 can (12 oz) evaporated milk (don’t get fat-free, no diets on the mountain)
  • 1 can (14 oz) creamed corn
  • 1/2 lb bacon (I put 3/4 lb because, bacon)
  • 1/4 cup chopped onion (tip: 1/4 of an actual onion)
  • 5 medium Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • salt & pepper to taste (can’t go wrong with garlic salt)
  • Optional: pinch of flour to thicken as desired

Prep this the night before and you don’t really have to work.

  1. Throw potatoes in the pot, add water to cover. Bring to a boil, and then reduce to medium heat and cook, uncovered, for 15 minutes. Stir here and there.
  2. In the meantime, cook bacon, sauté onion and open condensed milk and creamed corn cans (sauté onion in bacon grease at your own risk – I got another pan dirty).
  3. Drain potatoes, but keep 1 cup of the potato water!
  4. Throw in corn, milk, spices and potato water back into pot and simmer until heated through, then chop/rip up bacon into smaller bits and throw that in along with your sautéed onion. Give it a stir.
  5. Optional: If you want a thicker chowder, sprinkle a little bit of flour and mix in – give it time to simmer and actually thicken before adding more. Less is more!

This much should serve about 6. That’s just enough to divide between 3 enormous bowls, not finish and fall asleep on the couch with. Cheers!

#apreseats