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The best Colorado breweries and distilleries for apres-ski drinks

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The best Colorado breweries and distilleries for apres-ski drinks

Spending the day skiing or snowboarding is fun in its own right, but there’s also something to be said for that “ahhhh”-inducing moment when you can finally unhook your boots, take off your helmet and head to the bar.

And in Colorado, where local craft beverages reign supreme, that bar is often located at a brewery or distillery. These welcoming spots, which range from ultra-casual to more sophisticated, are perfect for reliving the day’s best runs with friends.

“With every pint enjoyed, the adventure stories get better, the powder gets deeper and the little cliff you hucked gets bigger and bigger,” said Wendy Tucciarone, who co-owns Steamboat’s Mountain Tap Brewery with her husband, Rich.

Below, some of our favorite Colorado apres-ski breweries and distilleries worth checking out on your next visit to the slopes.

Steamboat Springs

There are ski gondolas converted into private dining areas out front, plus four fire pit tables for folks who aren’t deterred by a little cold at Mountain Tap Brewery in Steamboat Springs. (Provided by Mountain Tap Brewery)

After a day spent playing in the trademarked champagne powder of Steamboat Resort, pull on a beanie and head to Mountain Tap Brewery, located downtown along the Yampa River. The Tucciarones have been cultivating a lively apres-ski scene with long community tables and wood-fired Neopolitan pizzas since first opening the brewery in 2016.

There are ski gondolas converted into private dining areas out front, plus four fire pit tables for folks who aren’t deterred by a little cold.

“While many ski resorts might pull your pass for having beers in their gondola cabins, at Mountain Tap, we encourage it,” said Wendy Tucciarone.

Other Steamboat spots to bookmark: Steamboat Whiskey Company and Storm Peak Brewing

Grand Junction and Palisade

The best Colorado breweries and distilleries for apres ski drinks
Peach Street Distillers in Palisade will welcome you with open arms and a free cocktail (if you’re a Powderhorn pass-holder and you order food). (Provided by Peach Street Distillers)

Powderhorn doesn’t get as much love from the Front Range as other resorts, but that’s exactly why it should be on your list — shorter lift lines, easy parking, lots of powder. After a day of unharried skiing or riding on top of the Grand Mesa, head down into Palisade or Grand Junction for apres snacks and drinks. Peach Street Distillers will welcome you with open arms and a free cocktail (if you’re a Powderhorn pass-holder and you order food).

“Our Powderhorn corporate passes get a pretty good workout every year, so if we’re going to apres-ski at our own pub, we might as well invite in the other snow hooligans, too,” said Dustin LeMoine, Peach Street’s director of sales.

If beer is more your vibe, hit up Kannah Creek Brewing Company or its sister location, Edgewater Brewery, both in Grand Junction. Deciding between the two really comes down to your preferences: Kannah Creek focuses more on American and British styles, while Edgewater leans more toward German styles, according to Jim Jeffryes, who co-owns the breweries with his wife, Bern.

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Kannah Creek Brewing Company focuses more on American and British styles of beer. (Provided by Kannah Creek Brewing Company)

Other Grand Junction and Palisade-area spots to bookmark: Ramblewine Brewing Company, Highlands Distillery, Palisade Brewing Company, Monumental Beer Works

Summit County

The best thing about skiing in Summit County is that you’ve got options (Keystone, Breckenridge, Copper and Arapahoe Basin) — and the same is true for apres-ski drinks.

One of the county’s most popular spots is Dillon Dam Brewery, which is located just off Interstate 70 in case you want to kill some time while waiting for traffic to (sort of) clear. Founded in 1997, the brewpub is warm, inviting and bustling, everything you want after a day spent out in the cold.

In Breck, head to Breckenridge Distillery or its Main Street tasting room for some soul-warming whiskey, vodka, gin or rum, plus an array of finishes and flavors. At the distillery, you can sip cocktails and munch on delicious happy hour snacks like 420 tots or sweet potato hummus.

“People love the unique atmosphere the distillery offers,” said Jessie Unruh, Breckenridge Distillery’s marketing director. “You can smell the whiskey in the air, you can hear the roar of our active production facility and you’re surrounded by barrels and quirky art.”

Other Summit County spots to bookmark: Broken Compass Brewing, Pug Ryan’s Brewery, Rising Sun Distillery, Breckenridge Brewery, Angry James Brewery, The Bakers’ Brewery, Outer Range Brewing Co.

Aspen

Aspen’s chic, high-end apres scene is well known around the world, but it’s not for everyone.

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Aspen Tap — the downtown tasting room for Aspen Brewing Company — stands out from the crowd by being approachable, affordable and casual. (Provided by Aspen Brewing Company)

Aspen Tap — the downtown tasting room for Aspen Brewing Company — stands out from the crowd by being approachable, affordable and casual. The brewery even has ski-themed beers like the Foggy Goggles IPA and the 10th Mountain Imperial Stout, named for the famed skiing soldiers of World War II. Plus, its heated patio has a great view of Ajax and lots of seating for groups.

“We offer a place where folks can feel comfortable in snow pants or even their neon onesie,” said Ryan Williams, a brewery spokesman.

Other Aspen-area spots to bookmark: Marble Distilling Co. (and their Marble Bar in Aspen), Woody Creek Distillers

Crested Butte

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Montanya Distillers’ new tasting room opened in December in Crested Butte. (Provided by Montanya Distillers)

After a day on the snow at Crested Butte Mountain Resort, it’s easy (and responsible) to hop aboard a free Mountain Express bus and head downtown for a drink at Montanya Distillers’ new tasting room, which opened in December. Bartenders expertly mix the distillery’s American rum into creative craft cocktails, like the Strawberry Jive, made with strawberry, orange, lemon, basil, mint and simple syrup. While you tell tales from the day’s adventures, snack on appetizers like pesto zoodles or warm crab dip.

Other Crested Butte spots to bookmark: The Eldo

Winter Park and Fraser

Any day skiing or riding through the trees on Mary Jane (or exploring the rest of Winter Park’s 3,000 acres of terrain) is a day well-spent. But it can get even better with an apres-ski visit to Fraser River Beer Company, just north of the town of Winter Park in neighboring Fraser. Here, owners Brian and Angie Nichols have created the ultimate comfy-cozy spot to kick back and enjoy a few casual pints with friends.

The brewery is a little bit removed from the hustle and bustle of Winter Park Resort (and a short drive from Granby Ranch), plus there’s a permanent taco truck in the front yard that pays homage to this region’s long-standing ski culture: The logo for Shreddy’s Taco Truck features a skeleton riding a snowboard.

Other Winter Park and Fraser spots to bookmark: Hideaway Park Brewery, Idlewild Spirits Distillery, Camber Brewing Company, The Peak Bistro & Brewery, Big Trout Brewing Company, Fraser Valley Distilling

Vail

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All of the staffers at Vail Brewing Co. are big into skiing and snowboarding (some even have second jobs as ski instructors or coaches), so they know a thing or two about apres-ski. (Provided by Vail Brewing Co.)

All of the staffers at Vail Brewing Co. are big into skiing and snowboarding (some even have second jobs as ski instructors or coaches), so they know a thing or two about apres-ski. The brewery has two locations you can visit: An intimate tasting room in Vail Village that’s just steps from Gondola One, and the brewery in Eagle-Vail.

On any given day at either location, you’re sure to encounter a wide variety of Eagle County residents and visitors from far-flung locales.

“We have a fairly diverse population from all over the world,” said Garrett Scahill, head brewer and partner. “People are always looking for a local brewery and to have that option at the base of a world-class ski resort makes it that much better.”

Other Vail-area spots to bookmark: 10th Mountain Whiskey & Spirits, 7 Hermits Brewing Company

Telluride

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Located in Mountain Village at the base of the slopes, the Telluride Distilling Company’s lounge-style tasting room feels just like a mountain cabin. (Provided by Telluride Distilling Company)

Take a road trip to the San Juan Mountains to take advantage of the short lift lines at Telluride Ski Resort, then grab a cocktail at Telluride Distilling Company. Located in Mountain Village at the base of the slopes, the distillery’s lounge-style tasting room feels just like a mountain cabin, complete with a massive stone fireplace, wooden ceiling beams and rustic decor.

And the apres-ski cocktails — made with the distillery’s whiskey, vodka, gin, peppermint schnapps and agave spirit — are affordable, so you won’t feel guilty having a couple while you play pool or darts. The $5 Telluride Mule, for example, is a big hit, according to co-owner Abbott Smith. You can also snack on free popcorn or order rotating wild game sausages for something more substantial.

Other Telluride-area spots to bookmark: Telluride Brewing Company, Smuggler-Union Brewery & Restaurant, Stronghouse Brew Pub

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More than 5,000 fans support new women’s soccer club in inaugural match

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More than 5,000 fans support new women’s soccer club in inaugural match

Minnesota Aurora president Andrea Yoch stood at the gates of TCO Stadium and watched fans of the new pre-professional women’s soccer team stream in for their inaugural match about an hour before kickoff Thursday.

“We just made this up,” Yoch said through a smile and in an orange romper and light green coat to match Aurora’s vibrant colors.

About 15 minutes before kickoff, Gene Wilder’s “Pure Imagination” played on the stadium’s speakers, and a community-owned club created out of the pandemic came to fruition with an announced crowd of 5,219 supporting the USL Women’s League.

Thursday’s attendance in Minnesota was on par with the average of seven pro-level National Women’s Soccer League crowds this season, including in Louisville, Seattle, San Diego, North Carolina, Orlando, Chicago and New Jersey.

Aurora benefited from a Green Bay Glory own goal early in the second half and Minnesota gave up an equalizing goal in the 89th minute to settle for a 1-1 draw.

Aurora, which has 3,500 season ticket holders, also took up another Minnesota soccer tradition: waiving scarves during corner kicks, a mainstay at Minnesota United games for years.

The crowd, which included MNUFC center back Michael Boxall, filled the stands at the Vikings’ field and lined the concourses, with the merchandise tent having lines for all 90 minutes.

Aurora’s supporters section chanted “No Glory” toward Green Bay and supported its own side in song. But there was also a small chorus of young girls chanting, “Let’s go, Aurora. Let’s go!” from the stadium’s grassy hill. On the concourse, another group of young girls were running around and one was overheard saying, “Sarah is my favorite.”

That was toward Aurora’s famous goalkeeper Sarah Fuller, showing signs of support were big and small.

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Yankees bats awake late in 7-2 win over Rays

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Yankees bats awake late in 7-2 win over Rays

ST. PETERSBURG — Aaron Boone popped out of the dugout in the ninth inning to boos. It was not the Rays fans booing, but the large group of Yankees fans. The manager was headed to the mound to get Nestor Cortes, who had just given a leadoff single to Wander Franco—but had been brilliant all night.

Cortes dominated the Rays’ dangerous lineup for eight innings as the Yankees beat the Rays 7-2 at Tropicana Field Thursday night in the first of the four-game series.

The Yankees (32-13) have won three straight games and 13 of their last 18. They maintained the best record in baseball and increased their cushion in the American League East to 5.5 games over the Rays (26-18)

Cortes threw eight scoreless innings, but Franco scored on Manuel Margot’s single off Wandy Peralta to charge him with a run. It was his 18th consecutive start allowing three earned runs or less. The 27-year old scattered four  hits, walked one and struck out five for his fourth win of the season. It was just the second time in his career that Cortes pitched into the eighth inning.

Cortes walked Yandy Diaz to lead off the bottom of the first and then gave up a single to Harold Ramirez before getting out of the inning unscathed. Cortes matched scoreless innings with Yarborough, retiring 14 straight Rays. The Yankees most consistent starter this season, Cortes threw 109 pitches and got seven swings and misses, four off his four-seam fastball.

It was just the second time in his career Cortes had gotten through eight innings. He spared a bullpen that has been hit hard recently by injuries.

And gave a lineup that has also been hit by the injury bug a chance to catch up.

The Yankees were no-hit through five innings by Ryan Yarborough, who walked Anthony Rizzo in the first and then retired 14 straight before it unraveled in the sixth. Matt Carpenter, who had arrived in the Yankees clubhouse just hours before, was hit by a pitch, the first base runner since the first, and Marwin Gonzalez’s line drive to center field was the Bombers’ first hit of the night.

Aaron Judge grounded a single—98 miles an hour off the bat—up the middle to bring in the Yankees’ first run. The slugger, playing center field after Aaron Hicks was a late scratch, stole second. Miguel Andujar singled to drive in another and a  second run scored on the Rays’ throwing error on the play.

Isaiah Kiner-Falefa led off the seventh with a walk and scored on a Ralph Garza, Jr. wild pitch. Judge drove in the Yankees’ fifth run on a sacrifice fly with the bases loaded in the ninth. Anthony Rizzo followed with a sharp line drive double that plated two more.

The Yankees signed Carpenter, who exercised his opt-out earlier this week, and immediately brought him into the fold with uncertainty about DJ LeMahieu, Josh Donaldson and Giancarlo Stanton on the injured list.

LeMahieu, who had a cortisone shot in his wrist, was still out of the lineup and he tried hitting and took balls at third base before Thursday night’s game. He said the shot had not yet helped enough. The Yankees are also without Josh Donaldson, who is on the COVID-19 list but has not tested positive for the coronavirus. The third baseman is back in New York dealing with a respiratory illness. He is also facing a possible one-game suspension after his altercation with White Sox shortstop Tim Anderson, whom he repeatedly called “Jackie,” in reference to Jackie Robinson. Donaldson issued a statement saying that he and Anderson, who is Black and interpreted the comments as racist, have a mutual understanding. Donaldson is appealing the league’s discipline.

Thursday night, the Yankees were just trying to get through their first series against the always tough Rays. It is also the first of a streak in which the Bombers will play 10 out of 13 games against teams with a winning record, after facing the perpetually rebuilding Orioles seven out of the last 10.

Carpenter, signed by the Yankees after opting out of his minor league deal with the Rangers last week, arrived at the visitors’ clubhouse about an hour and a half before first pitch and minutes before he was hustled off to the hitters’ meeting. The three-time All-Star and former Cardinal was rushed into the lineup less than an hour before first pitch when Hicks was scratched with tightness in his right hamstring.

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Jessica Gelt: Why The Onion’s take on the Uvalde shooting captures every parent’s worst nightmare

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Jessica Gelt: Why The Onion’s take on the Uvalde shooting captures every parent’s worst nightmare

It’s the yellow caution tape that gets to me when I look at the pictures tweeted by the satirical website The Onion in the wake of the massacre at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, this week. Emblazoned with the words “Sheriff’s Line Do Not Cross,” the yellow tape is draped around the schoolyard after an 18-year-old man gunned down 19 small children who had recently finished their honor-roll ceremony.

Yellow is a bright, cheery color. It’s one of my 6-year-old daughter’s favorites. It’s the color of the sun, of sunflowers, of balloons and candy. It’s the color of her hair — soft and fine as corn silk.

On police tape, however, yellow is the color of every parent’s worst nightmare: that their child’s school became the target of yet another mass shooting, and that maybe their precious baby has been violently murdered.

It’s a fear we have lived with since the unthinkable tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary in 2012, after which absolutely nothing was done to effect change when it comes to guns in America. In fact, since 20 children were shot down in cold blood in Newtown, Connecticut, gun laws have actually loosened in this country. The U.S. Supreme Court is expected to soon deliver a decision undoing a long-standing New York law that forbids people from carrying guns in public without first demonstrating a “special need” for self-defense.

Wednesday morning, The Onion devoted its entire home page to dozens of images from mass shootings dating back to 2014, accompanied by the same devastating headline: “‘No Way To Prevent This,’ Says Only Nation Where This Regularly Happens.”

The picture at the very top is the one of Robb Elementary in Uvalde, with the yellow tape circling a schoolyard that should have been filled with joyful kids. The image made the rounds across Twitter and trended rapidly. The Onion has a history of cutting to the chase when it comes to moments of extreme national tragedy in the way that only razor-sharp satire can. No one looking at it was laughing, though. Especially not parents, for whom that specific set of signifiers has a particularly horrific resonance.

The image of yellow tape, paired with police cars, sirens flashing, in front of a school — that’s the image that fills parents with the kind of grief they can taste. The kind that keeps them up at night, wondering if one day they too will have to face such a scene at their child’s school.

The crushing news out of Uvalde came about an hour before I was due to pick up my 6-year-old and her best friend from kindergarten. I could not get to the elementary school fast enough. My heart pounded, and I wiped at my eyes because I couldn’t see through my tears to drive. The radio didn’t help, as the scope and scale of the carnage in Texas began to crystallize. I was not alone in my race to get to my child. The schoolyard was filled with parents who had shown up early, who could not wait to wrap arms around their babies. Our worried, pained eyes met as we hustled toward the pickup line. But we didn’t speak. We couldn’t. What would we say?

The bell rang, and children burst forth from the school doors — yelling and laughing, chasing one another and running to their waiting parents. Little kids full of giggles and questions, wearing clothes dirty from play, shoelaces untied, hair messy, faces caked in food, bearing lopsided smiles.

As we walked back to the car, my daughter and her friend chattered on about the dance party they had in school and the glow-in-the-dark bracelets they got as a special treat. They wore paper crowns that they made in art class, decorated with tender kid drawings: smiling faces, stick arms, flowers and birds.

The worry and fear were more palpable Wednesday morning, as parents who had spent the night stewing in this new horror were further processing its vast implications — and realizing that this grief was theirs to shoulder forever, maybe, unless actual change was made in favor of common-sense gun legislation.

This week had been spirit week at Robb Elementary, and Tuesday was foot loose and fancy-free day, with the kids encouraged to wear their fanciest footwear. We parents had to grapple with images of tiny bodies in glittery, fabulous shoes — shoes that made the morning fun and exciting to kids who were still learning to read. I thought about that as I put my daughter’s feet into her own glittery shoes as we got ready for school. They are the kind that light up when she runs. She finds so much joy in those shoes. Because little kids can find joy in anything.

I thought about not taking my daughter to school this morning. But I did. And I wasn’t alone. We parents got up and did it again. As we walked toward the main doors, we held our children’s hands a bit more tightly. Many parents got down on their knees at the school gate and hugged their kids longer than usual. Our eyes still filled with worry. We were not yet ready to speak.

I haven’t been able to stop thinking about a conversation I had with my daughter a few nights ago, just before the nightmare in Uvalde. I had just put her to bed, when she got up again and came timidly into my room. She said two things were “concerning her.”

She asked if dying meant she would never imagine anything again. I said that was likely the case. I told her everyone dies. That her daddy would die one day, that I would and that she would too. But, I said, she didn’t have to worry about that for a long, long time.

She asked how people die. I told her it happens when our hearts stop beating — from sickness, or accidents, or when we are very, very old.

She nodded and then said, “Maybe if I die, I’ll come back as a little baby somewhere else.”

“Maybe,” I said. “Some people believe that. Your grandma Boo always said she would come back as a yellow butterfly. That’s why when we see yellow butterflies, we think of her.”

She thought about this for a moment.

“I’m going to come back as a black and white cat,” she said. “And I’m going to show up at your door, and you’ll know it’s me. I’ll push up against your door, and I won’t go.”

I liked the image of the cat, but I didn’t at all like the idea that I would still be around when she was not.

I told her, “Oh, sweetheart, I hope I’ll be long gone before then.”

“What do you mean?” she asked.

I said, “I hope I die before you. Mamas should die before their babies.”

“Most mamas and daddies stay alive until their babies are gone,” she said.

I could tell she needed me to say I’d never leave her, so I said, “OK, deal. I’m not going anywhere, as long as you promise not to either.”

“Deal,” she said.

I kissed her and tucked her back in. Then I went to my room and cried my eyes out.

Parents aren’t supposed to lose their babies. We aren’t supposed to show up at school to be confronted by the shock and horror of yellow tape and police cars on a clear blue day just before summer vacation is about to begin. We aren’t supposed to digest one mass shooting after another after another, always hoping that the bullets won’t one day fly closer to home.

And we should never have learned to accept the standard line after such a tragedy occurs, the one currently blanketing The Onion’s homepage in a heart-shattering tableau of yellow tape and emergency vehicles. Like a relentless funeral dirge, it reads: “‘No Way To Prevent This,’ Says Only Nation Where This Regularly Happens.”

Jessica Gelt writes for the Los Angeles Times.

 

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