Held in the shadow of Colorado’s Rocky Mountains, the Great American Beer Festival (GABF) is the largest commercial beer competition in the world. A number of competing breweries come from ski towns, and the best of those return home with Gold Medals for Best-in-Category Brews.
In 2017, northwest Wyoming-based Melvin Brewing took home some serious hardware, including two Gold Medals and Brewery Group/Brewmaster of the Year. Considering that, in 2009, the brewery started in the back of Thai Me Up—Jackson’s classic ski bum date-night spot—the brewery has come a long way, including moving to a 30-barrel “beer mega-church” in Alpine, Wyo.
“This award is a testament to what a great team we have put together while scaling up,” says Melvin Co-Founder Jeremy Tofte, “and how we are able to concentrate on our top priority: making consistent, quality beer while having the time of our lives.” To do so in a classic American ski town? Cheers to that.
Four Ski Town GABF Gold Medal Winners
Wet Hop Melvin IPA
Location: Alpine, Wyo.
Nearest Ski Area: Jackson Hole
IBUS: 80 // ABV: 7.5%
GABF Category Gold Medal: Fresh or Wet Hop IPA
Brewed with a ton of freshly harvested hops, this beer leaves a hop resin residue in your mouth. Combined with a distinct sharp taste, it’s a winner for IPA aficionados.
RED LODGE ALES BREWING COMPANY
Location: Red Lodge, Mont.
Nearest Ski Area: Red Lodge Ski Area
IBUS: 22 // ABV: 5.3%
GABF Category Gold Medal: German-Style Altbier
This Amber-colored, malt-heavy beer celebrates Glacier Lake, near Beartooth Summer Ski Area between Red Lodge and Yellowstone National Park.
APPALACHIAN MOUNTAIN BREWERY
Boone Creek Blonde
Location: Boone, N.C.
Nearest Ski Area: Beech Mountain Resort
IBUS: 19 // ABV: 4.9%
GABF Category Gold Medal: Golden or Blonde Ale
With a touch of wildflower honey and orange zest, this easy-to-crush blonde ale is great year-round, but especially refreshing after spring skiing.
Nearest Ski Area: Mount Baker
IBUS: 40 // ABV: 6.4%
GABF Category Gold Medal: Export Stout
The Correspondent focuses on being a drinkable dark beer that won’t put you under the table after two pints. Despite its exotic name, this tasty brew is only on draft at select locations in Washington and Idaho.