Friday, December 7, 2012

Tune out, turn off, drink up

Dec. 7, 2012

As a writer and editor, I spend a lot of time glued to a computer screen. I check my email about 78 times a day, read an infinite number of online news feeds and know way too much about the lives of my 923 Facebook friends.

Though I don't own a smart phone, the E, T and R on my dumb phone are worn down to nothing from excessive texting and the navigation buttons on my Kindle are soon to follow.

The point is that technology, and, in particular, communication via technology, is so pervasive in our lives that we miss out on the subtle intricacies of face to face conversation — a touch on the arm, eye contact, body language. I know this is a subject that's been picked at and pried open and drummed upon by writers far more eloquent than I. But this time, it falls into my realm of expertise, which is, of course, beer.

The marketing gurus at Samuel Adams have recognized that Americans are better acquainted with their phones than their friends, and they are trying to inspire us to set aside one day to put down the laptops, stash the tablets and truly connect with those around us. It's all part of The Great Samuel Adams Boston Lager Log-Off on Dec. 10, a day to tune out, turn off and drink up.

Of course, the Boston Beer Co. would prefer you had a frosty Boston Lager, but the sentiment is the same whether you're toasting a pilsner or porter, a saison or a stout: Unplug for a minute and enjoy a beer with a friend — hell, enjoy a beer with a stranger — and don't worry about checking in on Foursquare or Tweeting what's on the jukebox or even texting someone across the country to brag about how much fun you're having.

Be present in the moment — and try to ignore the irony of learning about the Lager Log-Off from a blog.

Krista Driscoll

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Give Prohibition the finger

Dec. 7, 2012 

In 1919, under pressure from lobbyists, the temperance movement and general buzz-killers, the U.S. Congress passed the 18th Amendment, outlawing the manufacture, sale and distribution of alcoholic beverages in the United States. The “Noble Experiment,” as it was called, lasted until the full ratification of the 21st Amendment on Dec. 5, 1933. This week, we celebrate the repeal of Prohibition and our right to consume our favorite brews, but in order to fully appreciate our freedom to guzzle, we need to acknowledge the dastardly deeds done by Prohibition, specifically in the area of brewing.

At the dawn of the 20th century, consumers were actually migrating toward drinking more beer and fewer spirits. When Prohibition was shoved down the collective American gullet in 1919, organized crime came to the rescue, keeping booze in the hands of the proletariat, but because beer was more difficult to produce than moonshine and, therefore, less profitable, brewing declined significantly during the Prohibition era. The “Oxford Companion to Beer” states that of the 1,392 breweries in operation before Prohibition, only 164 remained after its repeal.

Individual states began passing laws prohibiting alcohol as early as 1855, and Colorado jumped on the state legislation bandwagon in 1916, three years before the 18th Amendment outlawed alcohol nationwide. One of the breweries that managed to survive the beer massacre was Coors. According to literature from Miller-Coors, when Colorado put the kibosh on brewing, Coors stopped producing beer and focused on a successful porcelain business and producing malted milk and near beer (less than 0.5 percent alcohol, which was still legal) to get by.

Despite limping through Prohibition with near beer and illegal production, and marginal success stories from Coors and some of its compatriots, brewing in the United States was destined to take another hit. Oxford points out that an entire generation raised during this time was accustomed to the sweet flavors of soft drinks and, therefore, rejected the more bitter Bavarian styles of beer. Lighter American beer was created post-Prohibition to cater to the demands of this new populace, and bolder, hoppier beers effectively died out in America for decades.

By 1979, smaller breweries were disappearing as industry consolidation occurred. The bigger breweries were cranking out mass-produced lager beer, some of which was so awful that the standing joke, according to one writer at All About Beer magazine, was that the brewing process included a horse. That year, a federal transportation law went into effect that included a rider amendment pertaining to home brewing. Due to an administrative oversight during the repeal of Prohibition, home brewing was still federally illegal. The amendment allowed for an individual to brew as much as 100 gallons of beer per year for personal consumption, 200 if the household contained two or more adults.

Bolstered by this official acknowledgment, home brewing boomed, spawning the advent of new small breweries and brewpubs to fill the niche vacated by their predecessors and jumpstarting the craft beer movement. So as you study the bottom of your next pint glass, consider how Prohibition severely altered and almost extinguished brewing in America and be thankful that most of you have never known the pain of going months or even years without a beer.

>> From the Fridge: Coors Batch 19

As one of the few breweries that survived the wreckage of Prohibition, Coors claims a long and storied history, and through serendipity and a dedication to the past, the big brewery in Golden has resurrected its roots and a taste of pre-Prohibition beer with its newest creation, Batch 19.

“In 2004, there was a flood in the Coors brewery and one of the brew masters rescued this archive book, this log book of recipes,” said Katie Cowan, brand manager for Batch 19. “As he was looking through, he said, ‘These recipes could have been lost forever. I want to look at it and play with it and see what these recipes are all about.’”

That brewer was Keith Villa, better known as the founder of the Blue Moon Brewing Co., also under the Coors umbrella. Villa took a look at one recipe in particular, and that was the foundation for Batch 19, Cowan said.

“We wanted to see what beer was like before Prohibition,” Cowan said. “The thing that inspired him was that we had this hidden gem that was lost, forgotten and rediscovered.”

Pre-Prohibition beer was bolder in flavor and higher in alcohol content than mainstream beers today, Cowan said. Villa tried to match the original recipe as closely as he could with modern ingredients when he created Batch 19. The beer is still sessionable, with some herbal and black currant notes and a slightly higher ABV at 5.5 percent.

So grab a bottle of Batch 19 and celebrate the repeal of Prohibition this week with a ghost of beers past.

Krista Driscoll
Vail Daily Weekly

This bud’s for you

Nov. 30, 2012

On Nov. 6, residents of Colorado passed Amendment 64, legalizing the commercial sale of marijuana. The state Legislature has yet to draft laws that will regulate this new industry, and the federal government has the power to step in at any time and pull the plug on the whole thing, but in the meantime, a handful of industries are abuzz with ways to cash in on the cannabis crop.

Recently, a reporter at the Fort Collins Coloradoan headed into the brewing world to see if any nearby brewers were entertaining the idea of reuniting a pair of biological cousins, hops and marijuana. Commercial brewing recipes are regulated by the federal government, which precludes the pros from cranking out dank dunkels and skunked stouts, but the Coloradoan found that brewing with bud was an already existing phenomenon in the intrepid world of home brewing.

Weed beer is a bit off the wall, and marijuana is a potentially expensive and, until now, illegal ingredient to be working with. I was able to find one book on the topic, a 53-page tome called “Marijuana Beer: How to Make Your Own Hi-Brew Beer,” by Ed Rosenthal, which is out of print and going for more than $125 per copy on Amazon. That’s definitely out of my price range, so I tried a different route and hunted down a friendly brewer who was willing to share the secrets of success when attempting a marijuana brew.

There are two ways to isomerize the cannabanoids in marijuana, he said, using alcohol or using heat. For more than 100 years, people have been using various forms of ethanol to create tinctures, or extracts, with marijuana. They soak the flowers and trimmed leaves in the booze, and the alcohol rearranges the atoms in the cannabanoids to create the compound that produces a high, THC. Heating cured marijuana buds in oil or another substrate has the same isomerizing effect, thus creating THC-infused bases for cooking or baking. The trick is not to heat the marijuana above about 370 degrees, as the THC vaporizes at that point, effectively ruining your weed, my brewer friend said.

Because of the low vaporization point of THC, marijuana cannot be used in the boil when making beer or the extended heat will render it useless. This brewer recommended weed as a dry-hopping ingredient, added after primary fermentation when the beer is moved from one carboy to another and taken off the yeast. The marijuana buds can be tied up in a mesh bag or cheesecloth or thrown straight into the carboy and strained out when the beer is bottled.

Here’s the kicker: It takes a fairly high level of alcohol to isomerize the THC, which means you’re brewing a pretty heavy beer, and to keep that high alcohol level from overpowering the effects of the weed, you have to use a lot of marijuana in your beer. We’re talking around an ounce of pot per gallon of beer brewed — not a cheap prospect unless you’re growing and curing your own cannabis.

The taste profile of the final product depends on which strain of marijuana you use and the style of beer you’re brewing, my brewing friend said. The flavor will parallel the aroma of the pot strain, so the beer should be built around the strain you have on hand. Take a big whiff of your reefer, and ponder which style of beer you think would pair best with it. For instance, he said, New York City Diesel went really well in an imperial porter, whereas Shiskaberry was a better match with a barleywine.

And when you’re cranking out a 9 percent alcohol by volume brew, you may have a bit of a hard time evaluating the final buzz. With one beer, you’ll probably get a mellow body high, but with two or more, the effects of the alcohol will start drowning out the buzz from the THC, he said.

So why even bother stewing this greenish swill? It’s simply another medium for your high. As my brewer friend said, “A man should be in charge of his own buzz,” and if you have the time and resources, it’s a fun ingredient to play around with.

Because it’s federally illegal, you won’t be finding marijuana beer on a tap pole anywhere anytime soon, but if you know a few brewers or aspire to brew your own concoctions, you might be able to get your hands on a bottle.

>> Birds of Prey

On a completely drug-free note, for the first time this year, three local breweries, Crazy Mountain, Bonfire and Gore Range, have banded together to show their support for the many volunteers on the Talons Crew who commit time to making sure Beaver Creek’s Birds of Prey World Cup ski races run smoothly.

Each brewery is donating two kegs to the cause, and volunteers will enjoy frosty local brews at The Dusty Boot each evening following their shifts on the mountain. Andy Jessen, master of minutiae at Bonfire, said these “rejuvenation camps” are a place where these hard workers can unwind and celebrate a job well done.

If you are a member of the Talons Crew, look forward to Crazy Mountain’s Horseshoes & Hand Grenades ESB and Lava Lake Wit, Gore Range’s Fly Fisher Red Ale and Birds of Prey IPA and Bonfire’s Demshitz Brown Ale and Seven Bachelors pale ale. The newest beer on the list, Seven Bachelors, was created to celebrate the 10th anniversary of The Ritz-Carlton, Bachelor Gulch and was brewed with seven different kinds of hops added at seven different points in the boil, Jessen said.

The brainchild of Jessica Greene, general manager at Gore Range Brewery, sousing the Talons Crew is just another way for these local businesses to participate in events that resonate with local customers and are important to the community.

“It is our way of saying ‘thank you’ to the volunteers for all they do to make this race possible,” said Marisa Selvy, of Crazy Mountain.

Krista Driscoll
Vail Daily Weekly

Drink your way through Opening Day

Nov. 16, 2012

Vail opens for the winter season this week, which means two things: battling hundreds of other people to ski the three available routes down the mountain and battling hundreds of people to belly up to the bar for après when your unconditioned ski legs give out after a handful of turns. Because the ratio of après hours to on-mountain hours can be pretty lopsided in the early season, here’s a brief rundown of some places to hit to keep your taste buds from getting bored.

Both gondolas at Vail will be running on Opening Day, but neither will lead you to skiable terrain and only one will get your hands on a beer. Gondola One, Vail’s newest feat of engineering, will do novelty laps that bring you within yards of the expansive, green-marble bar at The 10th and its taunting selection of frosty beverages. The restaurant opens for après and dinner service on Dec. 12. The Eagle Bahn, on the other hand, will deposit you at the cafeteria at Eagle’s Nest for a Shocktop and those snowy views of the Gore Range you’ve been jonesing for. 

Once your legs start turning into Jell-o, head down to Lionshead to kick off your après adventure. Mine always used to start with a Sierra Nevada Pale Ale and a veggie pizza at Mezzaluna in the Lion Square Lodge at the base of the gondola, but the restaurant has been gutted and renovated to make room for a new Latin-inspired dining experience, El Sabor, which is slated to open in early December. Undaunted by this setback, the next obvious choice is Garfinkel’s. Grab a pint or, if you are a member of the mug club, a mug of Deschutes’ new Chain Breaker white IPA, and lounge on the huge, sunny deck to watch the last of the gapers maneuver across the skier bridge.

Once the sun goes down, the deck gets chilly — time to head over to the Blue Moose for a slice and another brew. Try Lindsey Vonn’s signature pizza, The Vonnderfull, with grilled chicken, artichokes, goat cheese, sun-dried tomatoes and pesto, and chase it with a glass of Crazy Mountain Hookiebob IPA or Bonfire Awry Pale Ale. It’s now fully dark, and this is where many Opening Day après swashbucklers call it a night. But you’re really selling yourself short if you don’t get a nightcap, and the best place to do that is The George. Climb onto the in-town bus for the short trip over to Vail Village and a dirt-cheap Miller High Life — yes, I said High Life, the champagne of beers — before grabbing a sober ride home to dream of your next dust-on-crust escapade.

>> From the Fridge: Magic Hat No. 9

The first time I tried No. 9 was on a brief sojourn to Boston about six years ago. That trip also gets credit for my first beer at Fenway Park, my first taste of blueberry beer and my first craft brewery tour at Harpoon’s shop on the ocean. Unfortunately, at that time, Magic Hat had not started distributing in Colorado and it kind of fell off my radar. So imagine my joy when, about a month ago, I wandered into Beaver Liquors in Avon and was greeted with a display of No. 9. I celebrated by buying a case.
No. 9 is touted as a “not quite pale ale” brewed with English ale yeast and Cascade and Apollo hops. At 20 IBUs, this beer is pretty low on the bittering scale for a pale ale, and it has a slightly sweet finish that’s hard to place. Magic Hat likes to keep a bit of mystery around this brew, not divulging what creates its unique flavor profile, but if I had to make a guess, I’d say they throw a smidge of apricot into it to create that tiny saccharine hit. Or maybe my palate has been thrown off by drinking too much Apricot Ale from Magic Hat’s sister company, Pyramid.

Regardless, that bit of sweetness pairs well with a variety of dishes, from spicy chili to shrimp Creole. If you’re feeling adventurous, try cooking up one of the recipes at to create a meal out of this new arrival from the East.

Krista Driscoll
Vail Daily Weekly

Ullr Fest: Where the wild things are

Nov. 9, 2012

An unseasonably warm November sun beat down on my face as I stood on my tiptoes, adrenaline pumping, waiting for the starting signal. When it came, I shoved a mostly full mug of beer across the freshly waxed table in front of me to another member of my team, who made a one-handed grab and threw mug to mouth, spilling beer on himself and everything else in his splash zone. I raced to the other end of the table in time to make my own one-handed catch and splutter through my own mug of beer.
Sean Hanagan, Kelly Hanagan and Eric Borgerson, of team
Ullr Force, raise the gelande quaffing trophy aloft after
winning the competition at Ullr Fest.
Photo by SAMANTHA HANUS, Rival Mind Media

Around and around we went, sending mugs and snatching them in mid-air, accumulating as many style points as we could with handle grabs and spin moves. One minute later, I was drenched in beer, panting for air and high-fiving my two teammates. The crowd engulfed us in a wave of sound, cheering and raising mugs to the Norse god of snow.

This, my friends, is gelande quaffing, a 20-plus year tradition born in Jackson Hole, Wyo., and ushered into the Vail Valley three years ago by the Vail Players Club as part of the club’s annual Ullr Fest. The event features a silent auction, raffle, barbecue, beer and live music, but the centerpiece is the gelande quaffing tournament, pitting neighbor against neighbor, powder hound against powder hound, to see who can maintain hand-eye coordination after downing a metric ass-ton of beer.

Team Elvis gets a closer look at the gelande
quaffing trophy at Ullr Fest.
Photo by SAMANTHA HANUS, Rival Mind Media
This year’s beer-chugging champions, team Ullr Force, led by event organizer and all-around good guy Sean Hanagan, will be representing our little hamlet at the World Gelande Quaffing Championships in Jackson in March. The Vail Valley’s best will go up against the legendary bad boys of the Jackson Hole Air Force and other teams from mountain towns all over the country.

But sousing yourself with suds  to get to Jackson isn’t the only great thing about showing up at the Roundup Ski and Country Club every fall. In the three years since its inception, Ullr Fest has raised almost $14,000 for the Colorado Avalanche Information Center, capped by a $10,000 haul from this year alone. Hanagan said the event drew around 290 people on Saturday, Nov. 3, to drink beer and win prizes from a slew of sponsors.

Besides supporting a good cause, Ullr Fest is the Vail Players Club’s attempt to bring some of the original irreverence back to living in a ski town, complete with swearing, drinking and a little bit of friendly competition. So start gathering your team and stretching your beer muscles to prepare for next year’s gelande quaffing tournament, and in the meantime, pray for snow.

Krista Driscoll
The seething hordes gather to watch Ullr Fest gelande
quaffing on Nov. 3.
Photo by SAMANTHA HANUS, Rival Mind Media
Vail Daily Weekly

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Brew U: Celebrate Learn to Homebrew Day

Nov. 2, 2012

The only thing better than enjoying a delicious, frosty brew is enjoying a delicious, frosty brew that you made yourself. Saturday, Nov. 3, is the American Homebrewers Association’s official Learn to Homebrew Day. This epic holiday is celebrated by breweries and homebrew shops across the country and is a great excuse to get off your butt and start dabbling in the wonderful world of brewing.

To give you that first shove, Wine or Wort Home Brew Supply is hosting a free brew day on Nov. 2 at the store near Costco in Gypsum.

“We’re opening up our cookers to anyone who wants to come down and start a batch and walk them through the cooking process,” said Beth Reed, co-owner of Wine or Wort. “The first step in the process is to boil the wort for about an hour and add the ingredients through the process and then chill the wort down and put it into a fermenter. We’re going to be doing that with anyone who is interested.”

Brewing can be as simple or as complex as you want it to be, Reed said. At its most elementary level, there are only a few steps in the process: boil the ingredients to make wort, the liquid base of your beer; chill the wort slightly and allow it to ferment; add priming sugar to the fermented wort and bottle it; stuff the bottles in a cool, dark place to allow the yeast to turn the sugar into alcohol and carbonation; and then pop the bottles into the fridge to savor the satisfying culmination of your work.

“If you want it to be that simple, you follow the directions in the ingredient kits and do the step by step,” Reed said. “If you want to get very involved in the science of it all, people go to school for four years to learn how to brew.”

Most homebrewers fall somewhere in between, Reed said, but almost all of them got started with the same basic equipment setup. Ryan Stelzer is a purchasing agent and brand manager for L.D. Carlson Co., a wholesale brewing equipment company that supplies some of the gear found at Wine or Wort. Stelzer said anyone can start brewing, even those with very little space to devote to the hobby.

“For brewing, you don’t need a lot of room,” he said. “Condo brewers delegate only a few square feet to the brewing process. It doesn’t take any more room than a 5-gallon bucket.”

Equipment and ingredient kits can range in price, but both Reed and Stelzer said a new brewer can buy everything needed to brew his or her first batch of beer for around $200. Stelzer said starter kits contain two 6 1/2-gallon buckets, siphon hoses for transferring the beer, a racking cane to help with siphoning, an air lock that allows carbon dioxide to escape during fermentation but keeps oxygen away from the beer and a hydrometer to monitor gravity readings throughout the brewing process.

The hydrometer is used to test the amount of sugar in the water, Reed said. It also tells you when the beer is done, how much alcohol it contains and whether you’re making the beer you think you’re making, based on the starting and ending sugar levels in the wort. If your sugar levels start in the right place and end in the right place, you can make good beer, Reed said.

“The hydrometer is very important as far as knowing what is going on with your beer,” Stelzer said. “It provides gravity readings throughout the brewing process, starting with the starting gravity. You’re trying to hit a certain number once you add your yeast.”

The kit also includes a bottling spigot that attaches to one of the buckets when you’re ready to bottle your beer and a capper to cap the beers after you fill them. Each ingredient kit sold at Wine or Wort contains enough bottle caps for a standard 5-gallon batch of beer, or about 52 bottles per batch. The store sells new bottles, or homebrewers can save and clean used bottles from their favorite commercial beers and re-cap them.

Other useful tools you might want to pick up are an oxygenated cleanser to help clean your system between batches of beer, a thermometer to keep an eye on fermentation temperatures, a cook pot for boiling the wort and a book to learn more about the process. Advanced homebrewers can customize their systems by adding a second fermentation tank or gear to keg their beer instead of putting it in bottles.

Homebrewing takes some time and is quite a bit more work than going to the store and picking up a six-pack, but it’s worth it the first time you take your beer to a party and can proudly declare it as your own.

“It’s the art of crafting something yourself,” Stelzer. “When I started here six years ago, I told myself, ‘I don’t know who would brew beer, who would take the time when you could buy it.’ A year after that, I started brewing. It’s an addiction to be able to change something, tweak something — you start recording that stuff and tuning into how to make that beer better and better.”

So if you’ve ever felt the itch to try your hand at wheats or brown ales, porters or stouts, join the ranks of the beer-brewing masses in a celebration of suds on Learn to Homebrew Day.

“Don’t hesitate,” Stelzer said. “People are hesitant in getting into the hobby because they feel they won’t do a good job. It’s like no other hobby that’s out there. Everybody is really accepting and willing to help.”

To reserve your spot  for the brew day on Nov. 2, or for more information on equipment, ingredients or other upcoming brewing events, call Wine or Wort at 970-524-BEER.

Krista Driscoll

Don’t forget après in your ski season preparations

Oct. 26, 2012

With snow in the forecast in coming days and Loveland and Arapahoe Basin premiering their individual ribbons of chaos for skiing and riding, it’s time to take stock of your personal provisions for the ski season. Ski conditioning classes have been squarely kicking my butt (whenever I can drag said butt out of bed in the morning to attend), and my sticks are standing at the ready for a final tune before Opening Day at Vail on Nov. 16. That leaves only one other key area of preparation to be addressed: après.

You can’t ride into winter without inspecting every arrow in your quiver of fun, from first tracks to last call.

And if you still need some help, head down to the Colorado Convention Center in Denver, Nov. 2-4. For the second year in a row, the Colorado Ski & Snowboard Expo will take a double-barreled approach to shelling you into the ski season. If you want to grab some last-minute deals on gear, the expo features the largest ski and snowboard sale in the state, with prices marked down 40 percent to 75 percent on last season’s threads and shreds. But the really brilliant part is that you can don your new winter duds and strut over to the adjoining Rocky Mountain Brew Fest to test your après prowess. Find out if that sweet new softshell can handle a steady drizzle of wobbling IPA or whether you need some work on ski boot walking after a few brews by sampling the wares of these Colorado breweries:

>> AC Golden Brewing Co.

Steve Fletcher, a brewing with AC Golden, said the brewery would be pouring its flagship Colorado Native beer, as well as a relatively new offering, an India Pale Lager.

“It’s a pale lager, so it’s lagered, which really accentuates the character of the hops,” Fletcher said. “It’s more delicate, which makes the hop pop, and finishes really nice and crisp and clean.”

Fletcher has already taken his first few ski runs of the season and said the brewing and ski industries go hand in hand in Colorado because they seek to achieve the same results: have a great time and possibly try something outside your comfort zone.

“Obviously, what’s bigger in Colorado than the outdoors and riding and skiing. I think it’s a perfect blend of things to do,” he said. “Every time I’m up skiing or boarding, everybody is in a great, fun mood. Everybody is on vacation all day long — same with a beer festival.”

>> Elevation Beer Co.

The beer buffs at Elevation take their skiing, and their brewing, very seriously. The brewery divides its products into four categories, green, blue, black and double black, an homage to the universally recognized ski-slope rating hierarchy. Xandy Bustamante, co-founder and national sales and distribution manager, said Elevation, located just outside Salida in Poncha Springs, has a close relationship with nearby Monarch Mountain.

“The ski expo felt like a good fit for us, and we’re excited to be a part of it this year,” Bustamante said. “Our brewery is only six months old; it’s one of the newer ones in Colorado.”

Elevation will be pouring its First Cast IPA, 8 Second Kolsh and either Downpour, a double IPA, or Apis IV, a Belgian quad made with local honey. Elevation brews will be on tap for après at Monarch, Ski Cooper and a couple of places in Copper this winter, Bustamante said, and will also be making their way into the Vail Valley for the first time this season, starting with the black and double black series. Bustamante said the Elevation crew is looking forward to its first Colorado Ski & Snowboard Expo.

“We’re excited to go down there and pour beer for our target consumers, people like us,” he said.

>> Left Hand Brewing Co.

This will be the second trip to the expo and brew fest for Left Hand, said Josh Breckel, Colorado sales manager for the brewery. Left Hand will be pouring its signature Milk Stout Nitro and its Sawtooth Ale, a bronze-medal winner in the Ordinary or Special Bitter category at the recent Great American Beer Festival in Denver. The nitro version has a bit of a different mouth feel than the standard carbonated Milk Stout.

“CO2 is much more noticeable on the palate; it’s got that almost carbonic burning sensation on your cheeks and your tongue,” Breckel said. “(The Nitro is) much more smooth, creating a more creamy, rounder effect.”

Breckel said there isn’t a sexy story related to the brewery’s involvement in the expo. Coordinators reached out to Left Hand for the inaugural event last year, and the brewery agreed.

“Skiing is an important part of Colorado,” he said. “The people who get out there and ski and snowboard are definitely our demographic, and we want to support things that are interesting to them. … What I look forward to in any of these events is the guerrilla marketing aspect of it, talking to people who may not have had our beers before and introducing them to something that maybe becomes their new favorite beer.”

Big Choice, Bristol, Eddyline, Grand Lake, Great Divide, Odell and Ska breweries also will be in attendance pouring beers to help with your après conditioning.

Entry to the Colorado Ski & Snowboard Expo is $12, cash only. The Rocky Mountain Brew Fest is an additional $12 or $15 at the door, which includes three beer samples and one full beer. Additional sampling tickets also will be available for purchase. For more information on the expo and brew fest, including a list of exhibitors, or to buy advance tickets, visit

Krista Driscoll