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: Stove Top Popcorn

Well, let’s just say I have failed miserably at my “weekly” food posts for after ski fun. I currently have just one recipe up. If you don’t know about my actual cooking skills, you’ll find out later in this post and totally understand why I am not cooking all the time. It’s dangerous. And I know what you’re thinking – popcorn? But literally you need to know how to do this. Someone told me they’ve never eaten it this way and I almost fainted. I don’t eat bagged popcorn anymore, in fact, I don’t even have a microwave! This bowl of white gold is for those oh-so-exhausting days when you get in after dark, icicles on your beard or in your nose hairs and you just sit in your thermals watching Netflix, falling asleep on the couch by 9:00 pm. Or any other day for that matter, you’ll probably still fall asleep at 9 watching Netflix, anyway.

You’ll Need:
Vegetable or Coconut Oil (I don’t recommend olive oil due to the low heat index)
Popcorn Kernels
Salt (optional)
Butter (optional)
A large bowl

I don’t have measurements for this. It’s popcorn.

The Basics
Get a medium to large pot that has a lid. Pour enough oil to fully layer the bottom, and turn your burner on. 6.5 on the dial will do fine, medium-high. Do not turn this on high, I repeat, do NOT turn this on high. I have forgotten about making this and walked into the kitchen and lifted up the lid to a pot of flaming oil. I like to test the heat and put one kernel in. The oil should just cover the kernel, just – a little less is fine. Cover with lid, and don’t go far. In a minute or two, that kernel will pop – you’ll hear it hit the lid. The oil is ready. Layer the bottom of the pot finely with kernels and cover immediately. When I say finely, do not double layer the kernels! 10 popcorn kernels doesn’t seem like much, but omg I have set you up for panic, as you put a lot of kernels in because “finely” didn’t seem like enough, and there’s WAY too much popping and it’s overflowing the pot like at the movie theater. You’ll get used to how much you need per the size of the pot you use. Once the popping mess has slowed down, pour popcorn in to the large bowl.

It’s delicious without adding anything, hot out of the pot. Salt makes it heavenly. Add butter and you’re going to need wet-naps.

Get Funky
Garlic salt, anyone? Cheddar cheese powder? Go ahead and get funky, try what you like. You literally can’t mess this up.

Give It as a Gift
I know people who have gone this far. Lay your popped corn out on wax paper and spruce this ish up with melted chocolate and peanut butter chips, or crushed candy canes and white chocolate, or oreos, caramel or any other absolutely wonderful thing you can melt (or sprinkle on to melted confections) and let harden into chunks on the popcorn. People literally pay $20+ for this in the city. You will make all your friends fatter for the holidays. And yourself. Done and done.

#apreseats