Spring skiing with some beer drinking at Arapahoe Basin | SummitDaily.com

Spring skiing with some beer drinking at Arapahoe Basin

Arapahoe Basin Ski Area/Dave Camara
Camara Photography (Dave Camara) |

This weekend’s Festival of the Brewpubs at Arapahoe Basin will feature Colorado craft beer samples from Pug Ryan’s, Dillon Dam, AC Golden, Avery, O’Dells, Oskar Blues, Wynkoop, Tivoli, Twisted Pine and Elevation Brewing. Here’s a preview of what some of them will be pouring.

Dillon Dam

With a Summit County beer fest, you can’t forget your local breweries. Both Dillon Dam Brewery and Pug Ryan’s Steakhouse and Brewery will be bringing their beers to the festival.

“I’m planning on pouring two of our current seasonals, Dam Chili Beer and Here’s Your Dam IPA, and two of our regulars, Dam Straight Lager and Sweet George’s Brown,” said Cory Forster, head brewer at Dillon Dam.

The Chili Beer is a light, crisp Mexican-style lager with more than 33 pounds of fresh roasted green chilies, and the Dam IPA is assistant brewmaster Mike Bennett’s recipe that features seven different hops added at seven different times during the brew process for an ABV right around 7 percent.

Pug Ryan’s

Dave Simmons, head brewer at Pug Ryan’s, is bringing a quiver of beers to the festival.

“We have some kegs of our Scottish ale that we’ll be sending up, a dark amber, low-malt beer,” he said. “We’ll be sending Over the Rail Pale Ale in cans up there; that’s an American-style IPA.”

Pug’s will also be bringing along its medal-winning Pallavicini Pilsner, named for a ski run at A-Basin, and the summertime favorite Morning Wood Wheat, along with a possible fifth beer yet to be determined. Simmons said Pug’s has been part of the Festival of the Brewpubs since its inception more than a decade ago.

“It originally started out as just the Summit County breweries,” Simmons said. “It’s not quite June, but basically it’s June, and you’re still skiing and that sums up Summit County right there, doesn’t it?”

AC Golden

Colorado Native will be the sole offering from AC Golden for its inaugural foray into the festival. AC Golden brewer Steve Fletcher has been making meet-the-brewer promotional appearances at A-Basin all season pouring the hoppy amber lager.

“I think it’s a great fit because it’s the only all-Colorado beer from an ingredient standpoint,” said Jen Reda, director of sales for AC Golden. “Our ski resorts exemplify everything that is Colorado, so we make a great partner with all of the ski mountains.”

Reda said Colorado Native is a draw for out-of-town visitors who may be attending the festival.

“When you have people who come from out of state, they all want local beers,” she said. “They absolutely cannot get it when they go home because Native is only sold in Colorado.”

Oskar Blues

Longmont’s Oskar Blues Brewery six beers on its list for the festival, including Dales Pale Ale, Mama’s Little Yella Pils, Old Chub, Deviant Dales, G’Knight and Gubna.

“Most interesting is that we tweaked the recipe of Gubna,” said Chad Melis, of Oskar Blues.

A 10 percent alcohol by volume March to September seasonal, Gubna is packed with Cascade and Summit hops, balanced by German Dark Munich and Rye malts. It weighs in at a walloping 100+ International Bittering Units, with a bit of spice and a clean, bitter finish.


Avery Brewing Co. returns to the Festival of the Brewpubs toting its India Pale Ale and its White Rascal Belgian wheat. Avery’s golden-hued IPA is packed with Columbus, Chinook, Cascade and Centennial hops, and the Rascal is a 5.6 percent ABV, 22 IBU easy drinker.

“We love that festival,” said Jason “Shag” Hardwick, mountain ale ambassador for Avery. “One, A-Basin is an account and we want to support our accounts, but the whole image behind A-Basin is what fits us, as well. It’s a great festival for supporting like-minded craft beer drinkers that like to go and hang out there.”

Twisted Pine

“We’re bringing up our flagship, Hoppy Boy, and Big Shot Espresso Stout, our most award-winning beer,” said Justin Tilotta, the man in charge of logistics, linguistics and statistics for Twisted Pine.

Hoppy Boy IPA pours a hazy pale orange and has a dry, tart taste with an earthy bitterness. Big Shot pours jet black with a creamy brown head and roasted coffee and grainy malt aromas.

Other beers making the trek from Boulder will be Twisted Pine’s two spicy brews, Billy’s Chilies, made with fresh serrano, habenero, jalapeno, Anaheim and Fresno chili peppers, and Ghost Face Killah, brewed with tongue-melting ghost peppers.


With its series of beers named after the different levels of ski runs, green to double black, Elevation Brewing Co. is a natural fit for a spring skiing beer fest. Xandy Bustamante, national sales and distribution manager for Elevation, said the brewery would be bringing four beers to A-Basin.

Starting with the Blue Series is the 6.2 percent ABV Little Mo’ Porter, named for a ski run at Monarch Mountain. Next in line is the Third Base Tripel, a 9 percent ABV from the Black Series with clove, pepper and all spice notes.

Kick it up another notch with the False Summit Bourbon Barrel Quad, a monster 11.1 ABV brew from the Double Black Series aged in Breckenridge Distillery Bourbon Barrels for seven months. Rounding out the quartet is Elevation’s 7437 Double IPA hop-forward anniversary beer, which weighs in at 9 percent ABV.

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