best ski towns and breweries

Photo credit: Aspen Brewing Company

Imagine gliding down the slopes of Colorado’s premier ski towns, where each turn brings breathtaking views and exhilarating experiences. Picture yourself at the peak, the crisp mountain air caressing your cheeks as you gaze upon pristine, sparkling snow. The cold breeze kisses your face, while the fresh powder below your skis shines in the sunlight. This isn’t just a winter getaway; it’s a journey through Colorado’s heart, where heavy snowfalls meet the majestic Rocky Mountains, and top-tier resorts invite adventurers from all corners of the earth.Check out the Colorado Bucket List Adventure Guide (#1 Best Seller)

Explore the sophisticated charm of Aspen, the vibrant nightlife of Breckenridge, the distinct allure of Telluride, the celebrated champagne powder of Steamboat Springs, and the authentic vibe of Crested Butte, the “last great ski town.” Don’t miss the combined wonders of Vail and Beaver Creek. But the adventure doesn’t end on the slopes. Each of these iconic ski destinations also boasts some of the finest breweries. So, after a day of thrilling runs, unwind with a handcrafted beer from the best local breweries, carefully selected to enhance your high-altitude experience. Get ready to ski, explore, and toast to an unforgettable Colorado adventure. Stay thirsty and adventurous!

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Colorado’s Great Ski Towns & Breweries: A Winter Wonderland

Ski enthusiasts and mountain lovers, buckle up. We’re taking a tour of Colorado’s great ski towns, complete with world-class resorts, charming villages, and jaw-dropping scenery to boot. These destinations are not just about the skiing but the whole experience, including a taste of the local culture at Colorado’s great breweries. After a day on the slopes, unwind with some of the finest craft beers in the country, brewed right in the heart of the Rockies.

The Charm of Aspen: More Than Just Skiing

First stop on our snowy trail is Aspen, a famed Colorado ski town. But there’s more than meets the eye here; Aspen is renowned for its historic downtown too. Wander down main street where brand-name stores offer everything from designer gear to locally made trinkets.

The crown jewel though has got to be Snowmass Village – it’s what we like to call “ski-in/ski-out lodging”. Why? Because you can practically step out your front door onto one of their pristine slopes.

Breweries in Aspen, Colorado

For those who relish a pint that mirrors the spirit of the mountains, Aspen Brewing Company stands out as the beacon of high-altitude brewing. Nestled in the scenic town of Aspen, this brewery crafts award-winning beers, celebrated throughout Colorado and savored in their cozy downtown taproom. Delight your senses with “This Season’s Blond,” a harmonious blend of wheat, honey malt, and vibrant hop flavors, or indulge in the “Brown Bearale,” a tribute to Aspen’s summer wildlife with its rich, chocolatey notes.

Aspen Sports Bistro is a haven for global beer aficionados, boasting an impressive 30-line draft system and an extensive selection of over 200 bottles & cans. The expert team here will guide you through the world of hops and malts, ensuring your beer pairs perfectly with the scenic views from their outdoor patio. Don’t miss the Chimay Cinq Cents Triple, a Belgian classic that sings with straw and citrus notes, best enjoyed alongside their delectable pretzel bites.

Highlands Alehouse is the quintessential après-ski destination, offering a vast array of craft beers, a stunning collection of 75 whiskies, and the best people-watching spot in Aspen. With 16 beers on tap and 60 bottles and cans to choose from, there’s a brew for every taste. Revel in the lively atmosphere, ski-in and ski-out convenience, and the taste of a local Aspen IPA as you bask in the sun on their patio, paired with their scrumptious, made-from-scratch pizza. Whether you’re winding down from the slopes or just soaking in the Aspen vibe, these spots are sure to elevate your mountain experience with their world-class beers.

Breckenridge: High Elevation Adventure

Moving along our list of Colorado ski towns, we find ourselves in Breckenridge. Known as ‘the Amsterdam of Rockies’, this vibrant party town offers high elevation adventures with an atmosphere that’ll keep you coming back for more.

You’ll understand why when you hit those slopes at over 9,600 feet above sea level. The crisp air may take some getting used to, but trust us – once you get going downhill fast against that beautiful backdrop… It’s totally worth it.

To make things even better (as if they weren’t already), most local bars have hot springs nearby where skiers can unwind after a long day on the slopes. It’s just one of those things that make Colorado’s great ski towns so special.

Breweries in Breckenridge, Colorado:

Breckenridge Brewery, which started as a small venture on Main Street in 1990, has grown into one of the leading craft breweries in the nation, distributing its brews to 42 states under the Anheuser-Busch umbrella. When visiting the original spot, indulge in pub classics, sample a variety of brews, and grab some souvenirs while watching the brewmasters at work. Make sure to enjoy the happy hour specials and savor the popular nitros and seasonal ales.

Kenosha is a bustling hub known for its relaxed vibe, panoramic mountain deck, and delicious house-smoked barbecue. With 31 taps, including 20 Colorado-made options, craft beer enthusiasts gather here for the infamous Pig Out Platter and to enjoy activities like football bingo on Monday nights. Enjoy a diverse selection of lagers, ales, saisons, and porters. Keep an eye on the constantly updated online beer menu to plan your visit.

For a hands-on beer experience, visit Breckenridge Pour House and explore their 64 self-serve taps featuring beer, wine, hard ciders, and spiked seltzer. Elevate your visit with gourmet pub dishes like beer cheese soup and artisanal sausage, while enjoying the game room equipped with foosball and pinball. The expansive dining area provides the perfect setting for a casual outing.

Located at the north end of Airport Road, Broken Compass Brewing is a vibrant community spot that opened in 2014 and quickly established itself as a local favorite. A welcoming atmosphere for both kids and pets, visitors can sample a variety of bold brews from 12 taps, including the popular Irish red, coconut porter, and spicy chile pale ale. Join the communal fun at long shared tables, enjoy the rotating food truck offerings, participate in Tuesday trivia nights, or embark on a unique brewpub fat bike tour. Each of these venues offers a unique slice of Colorado’s thriving beer culture and community.

Discovering Telluride’s Unique Attractions

other. From scenic views to thrilling slopes, Telluride truly shines in its uniqueness and beauty. But what sets it apart is not just the topography but also a deep commitment to sustainability efforts.

Key Takeaway: Get ready for a winter adventure in Colorado’s top ski towns. Aspen is not just about skiing, but also offers a charming downtown and unique ‘ski-in/ski-out’ lodging at Snowmass Village. Breckenridge invites you with high-altitude thrills and an exciting party scene, while Telluride shines with its stunning landscapes and commitment to sustainability.

Discovering Telluride’s Unique Attractions

Tucked away in the San Juan Mountains, Telluride, Colorado is a ski town with its own distinctive personality. This separate mountain village offers an experience that blends rustic charm and world-class skiing.

The slopes are internationally renowned for their pristine conditions and challenging terrain. But what sets Telluride apart from other Colorado ski towns isn’t just its snow-covered peaks – it’s also about what happens after you unclip your skis.

Experience Local Flavors at Telluride Breweries

In the heart of Telluride lies the Telluride Distilling Company, an establishment that bends the rules of a traditional brewery guide with its distinguished spirits. It’s a must-visit for anyone looking to embrace the rugged, Western spirit of Telluride. Award-winning, gluten-free vodka, peppermint schnapps, and a flavorful array of ginger beer mark just the beginning of their offerings. Pair a tangy margarita made with Agave Spirit with a selection of seasonal brats, featuring exotic meats like wild boar, elk, rabbit, or buffalo for a true taste of the wild.

Stronghouse Brew Pub, located in a historic 1892 building, marries the past and present in Telluride’s brewery scene. Ranked as one of the top brew pubs in America by USA Today in 2021, Stronghouse offers an immersive experience with its rustic charm and rotating menu of on-site brewed craft beers. Dive into a tasting flight to explore their range, including the popular Honey Ginger Blond Ale. The pub’s menu tempts with an assortment of snacks and meals from Hot Salted Bavarian Pretzels and Spicy House Pickles to their renowned Alpine Mac & Cheese, ensuring a flavorful complement to any pint you pick. Whether you’re a local or just passing through, these Telluride and Ouray spots provide a deep dive into the craft beer and spirits culture of the Rockies.

An hour’s journey north/northeast of Telluride brings you to the charming Ouray Brewery. Nestled in Ouray, this brewery boasts about 16 hand-crafted beers ready to quench your thirst after a day of outdoor adventures. Since 2010, this family-owned spot has paired its selection of award-winning beers with hearty pub classics like burgers, soups, and salads. Don’t miss the Camp Bird Blond Ale or Box Canyon Brown. And if weather permits, the rooftop patio offers an unparalleled 360-degree view of the majestic, snow-capped mountains.

Frequent Festivals: Celebrating Arts & Culture

Beyond being known as one of Colorado’s great ski towns, this former mining town comes alive year-round with various festivals celebrating music, film, food and wine – providing cultural immersion into this special place called ‘base village’ by locals.One such festival is the Telluride Jazz Festival,. Held annually every summer since 1977- attracting jazz enthusiasts worldwide due to its eclectic lineups featuring legends alongside emerging artists. Note: Check out their website for the latest lineup and ticket info.

The Beauty of Steamboat Springs

Perched in the Rocky Mountains, Steamboat Springs is a much-lauded Colorado ski town that has earned its stripes as an ideal winter sports destination. It’s especially famous for its ‘Champagne Powder,’ which skiers claim feels as light and fluffy as champagne bubbles.

Steamboat isn’t just about skiing though – it’s also known for tree skiing experiences unparalleled anywhere else. After a day on the slopes, take some time to explore downtown Steamboat where you’ll find local shops, eateries, art galleries and more.

Enjoy the Steamboat Brew Trail

Embark on a journey down Steamboat Springs’ renowned Brew Trail, beginning at the vibrant Mahogany Ridge Brewery in downtown. This bar and grill offers a perfect pairing of handcrafted beer with American cuisine. With eight beers always on tap and a spacious bar area, it’s an ideal spot to enjoy without the wait. Don’t miss their late-night happy hour, featuring an array of appetizing tapas perfect alongside your pint.

A short stroll away is your next destination, Mountain Tap Brewery. Known for its stellar patio and views of Emerald Mountain, it’s a summer favorite for both scenery and ambiance. Weekly trivia nights add to the fun while you enjoy their wood-fired pizzas and other local fare, all complementing the craft beers on offer.

The trail leads westward to Storm Peak Brewery, where the spirit of diversity thrives with nearly 20 beers on tap. The warehouse-style setting features large garage doors that open up in the summer, creating an airy, communal space for friends and strangers alike. When hunger strikes, neighboring Moe’s BBQ and How Ya Doin Pizza offer satisfying eats. And yes, your four-legged companions are welcome here! Be sure to try the local favorite, Hoochie Mama, before continuing your Steamboat Springs beer adventure.

Key Takeaway: Telluride, a charming Colorado ski town in the San Juan Mountains, offers more than just world-class skiing. Its vibrant culinary scene and lively festivals provide an immersive cultural experience. Likewise, Steamboat Springs stands out with its ‘Champagne Powder’ and unique tree skiing experiences, along with local shops and eateries to explore after hitting the slopes.

Vail and Beaver Creek: A Combined Ski Experience

Think of Vail and Beaver Creek as the dynamic duo of Colorado ski resorts. Each offers a distinct flavor, yet together they serve up an unforgettable combined ski experience.

Vail, with its status as the biggest ski area in Colorado, is all about vastness. Picture 5,317 skiable acres that give you enough room to play without feeling cramped. But it’s not just size that sets Vail apart—it’s variety too. From wide-open bowls to steep chutes or gladed runs, there’s something for everyone.

The Magic of Vail Village

Vail Village, designed after European alpine towns, is more than just a place to lay your head at night; it’s an experience unto itself. As dusk settles over the mountain slopes each day, you’ll find yourself drawn towards the warm glow of taverns nestled along pedestrian-friendly streets.

Belly up to any bar around here and let friendly locals fill you in on their favorite secret stashes on the mountain while sipping some locally brewed beers.

Breweries & Bars in Vail, Colorado

Since 2014, Vail Brewing Company has been a cherished spot for award-winning brews, attracting beer enthusiasts to its rustic taproom in Vail Village. Here, guests enjoy a lineup of distinctive beers like the zesty Orange Haze Wheat, the hoppy Pete’s Stash Pale Ale, or the rich Dark Necessities Porter. For those with different tastes, they also offer probiotic-rich kombucha and fruity hard seltzer. Soak up the sun and mountain views on the dog-friendly patio, often buzzing with live music. And before you leave, grab some cans to enjoy your favorite brews back at home.

In the heart of Lionshead Village, “Garfs” is more than just a bar; it’s an experience, offering over 15 varieties of Colorado craft brews from revered breweries like Ska and Holidaily. Here, the drinks menu extends beyond beer, featuring cocktails crafted with local spirits and a diverse food menu ranging from hearty bison burgers to luxurious lobster ravioli.

Altitude Bar and Grill, nestled in the Evergreen Lodge at Vail, is a paradise for sports fans. With an array of TVs broadcasting the latest games, patrons can enjoy Vail Brewing Co.’s Gore Creek IPA or a classic New Belgium Fat Tire while munching on wings or cheese curds. For those craving more exotic flavors, Annapurna Nepali & Indian Cuisine is just next door, offering a tantalizing array of vindaloo and momos.

The George is known for its vibrant happy hour and buzzing late-night atmosphere, offering an extensive selection of nearly 30 canned craft beverages, including local favorites from Telluride and Vail. The cocktail menu is equally impressive, featuring everything from classic martinis to warming spiked hot chocolates. Pair your drink with their famed mushroom and duck quesadillas or opt for the decadence of a surf and turf combo. At The George, every sip and bite is part of the elevated Vail experience.

Premium Service at Beaver Creek

Moving from our biggest buddy onto its partner-in-crime—Beaver Creek—the world-class service offered here makes every visitor feel like VIP.

No sooner have you hopped off one lift before attendants are helping load your gear onto another – making sure your skiing rhythm doesn’t skip a beat.Talk about top-notch.

A Few More Surprises Along The Way…

If you thought that was all, hold on to your lift ticket because there’s more. This pair of resorts offer unique extras that make the experience truly special.

Winter Park: A Reliable Ski Area with a Relaxed Personality

Moving onto Winter Park, this place gives off an entirely different vibe compared to Vail and Beaver Creek—more relaxed but equally captivating.

The real standout in this area is Mary Jane. She’s famous for her deep moguls and dense tree lines.

Our Favorite Winter Park Brewery

Nestled just a stone’s throw from Winter Park in the picturesque town of Fraser, Fraser River Beer Company stands as a testament to the dreams of its owners and a memorable highlight for any visitor. Don’t let its slightly off-the-beaten-path location deter you; this brewery is a gem worth visiting. With an array of locally crafted beers, it’s impossible to pick just one favorite. Each brew, from the bold Colorado Style IPA and the smooth Alpen Glow Ale to the playful Stiffler’s Mom Honey Blonde, carries a unique charm and flavor, matched only by the witty humor of their names. A visit here promises a delightful experience with every sip in this charming spot.

Key Takeaway: Vail and Beaver Creek, Colorado’s dynamic duo of ski resorts, deliver an unforgettable combined experience. Vail impresses with its vast terrain and lively alpine-style village. Meanwhile, Beaver Creek treats visitors like VIPs with top-notch service. And don’t overlook Winter Park – it offers a relaxed vibe perfect for mogul-lovers.

FAQs in Relation to Best Ski Towns in Colorado

What is the richest ski town in Colorado?

Aspen holds the title for Colorado’s wealthiest ski town, known for its luxury resorts and high-end boutiques.

Is Keystone or Breckenridge better?

Breckenridge shines with higher elevation skiing and a lively nightlife. But if you’re after family-friendly fun, pick Keystone.

Which is better Vail or Aspen?

Vail impresses with the largest skiable terrain in Colorado while Aspen offers an elite blend of slopes and culture.

What is a popular ski town in Colorado Sawatch mountains?

Copper Mountain stands out as a top choice among skiers venturing into the Sawatch Range of Colorado.


What a journey it’s been, exploring the best ski towns in Colorado. From Aspen’s glitz to Breckenridge’s high-energy vibe, each destination holds its own charm.

Telluride stood out with unique attractions while Steamboat Springs charmed us with legendary champagne powder runs. Crested Butte held strong as the “last great ski town,” and Vail alongside Beaver Creek showcased their combined allure.

In every town, we discovered world-class resorts nestled among breathtaking mountain scenery. Each offered thrilling skiing experiences that would make any winter vacation unforgettable.

If you’re seeking an epic ski adventure where stunning landscapes meet exceptional service – look no further than these Colorado gems!

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