There has been a long association between the two and if you ask any European, s/he would probably say the Après Ski is more important than the skiing. I grew up in Ontario (a.k.a. The Land of the $24 Two-Four) and after moving to BC was astounded to find how exceptionally higher the prices were for a decent beverage.
So did I avoid going broke and quit drinking? Hell no. I started brewing! Thus began the journey of my craft beer obsession; tasting great beer and making great beer. Nothing beats the artisan quality of small batch brewing and the risks brew masters take in the name of flavour.
I spend about 12 weeks of the year travelling the US for business. Along the way I have been to countless breweries tasting the local nectars. Beer may often be associated with us Canadians but when it comes to craft beer, the US west coast has us beat.
Winter Beers Hit List
This fall I made it my goal to try as many dark wintery beers on my travels as possible. Below are three of my favorites that I’d suggest you cheers to (About $7.99 US/ 6-Pack).
Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale 6.8%
A hoppy, dark, chocolaty beer; a darker version of the very popular Sierra Pale Ale. This beer inspired me to make my own hoppy IPA a few years ago. Its in-your-face mix of Centennial and Cascade hops will attract the IPA fans! Be careful with this one as it packs a punch and you might find yourself having a holiday nap.
New Belgium Brewing Snow Cap 6.25%
If you have ever had New Belgium’s Fat Tire and wished it had more hops, you will love this beer. If you enjoy Ranger IPA this beer will be right up your alley! Another beer to be careful with as it will put you flat on your back. A great biscuit and caramel taste crowned with Centennial and Cascade hops. This beer has a different taste profile then you can traditionally expect from New Belgium. If you didn’t see the label you would assume it came from Ninkasi, or Elysian or another Washington state brewery who love using Cascade/centennial hops with big bold finishes.
Rogue Chocolate Stout
This is a stout and not a winter beer per se but it is a wonderful beer to drink when it is cold outside. The rich smooth chocolate taste will bring a chocolate lover to their knees. Offering a well-balanced taste, it is extremely easy to drink and I often find myself finished wondering where the rest of the bottle went. Good beer for the hop adverse pallets.
Deschutes Obsidian Stout – Found it served from Nitro in Coeur D’alene and it made me fall in love.
Alaskan Winter – Sweet and succulent, but I could only ever drink one at a time.
If you are looking to experiment with some great craft beers in Vancouver check out St. Augustine’s Craft BrewHouse and Kitchen on Commercial Drive.
Don’t be afraid to try something new. Go to the BIG beer fridge south of the border and grab something different. And most importantly, never forget to stuff a last-run beer in your ski bag!