Geyser Pass Yurt and Haystack Mountain
Good beer on a yurt trip is a requirement. Without being able to crack open a cold brew after a long day of skiing… well… you might as well not even be there. Such was the case on a trip to the Geyser Pass Yurt in the La Sal Mountains of Moab, Utah. This is one of two new yurts built by Talking Mountain Yurts, and staying in these palatial digs paired well with the also new Belgian Style Pale Ale from Upslope Brewing Company.
The Geyser Pass Yurt is situated just a few hundred yards from… you guessed it… Geyser Pass. This is a popular spot to drive to for summer peak bagging, and is also the start of the famous Whole Enchilada mountain bike trail. In the winter, however, you must snowmobile, skin, snowshoe, or Nordic ski 3.7 miles from the winter trailhead to the yurt. The approach alone is deserving of a beer.
To claim my Upslope reward, I continued on with my pals to ski Haystack Mountain, located just to the west of the yurt. This large-ish peak rises to an elevation of 11,641 feet, which is lower than the surrounding summits. But Haystack is not to be derided. A steep summit cone requires bootpacking with skis strapped to packs, and exposed faces on all compass points are severely prone to avalanches. Indeed, an old avalanche on the east face tore large aspen trees out by the roots and snapped trunks in half. But spring brings stable snow and corn shredding, and so we shredded.
After an excellent run, it was time to relax at the yurt. The Geyser Pass Yurt is the larger of the two (the other being Gold Basin Yurt). At 24 feet, there is tons of room inside to spread out beer and gear. Two bunk beds and a futon sleep 8, though having 6 guys sharing the space felt like plenty. A kitchen table encouraged us to sit around for conversation and brew sharing, while a wood-burning stove kept the place heated.
Taking off our boots after a long day in the skin track (BOOTGASM!), it was time to drink up. Stepping outside, I withdrew my can of Upslope Belgian Style Pale Ale kept cold in a snowbank, and popped the top for an outdoor quaff sesh.
Upslope Belgian Style Pale Ale
I’ve seen and drank a lot of Belgian Style IPAs lately, but I think this is the first time I’ve wrapped my lips around a Belgian Pale. The main difference in taste, I thought, is the pale version would be lower in alcohol, and have a bit more malt backbone with a little less hoppy bitterness. Overall, I was right.
The smell off the top is full of Belgian yeast. Banana esters are prominent and reminded me of a Trippel-style in a way. The taste is the same, with a slight banana flavor and spiciness of coriander. Maybe even some clove, though it was hard for me to tell while drinking it from a can without letting it breathe and getting the full flavor profile and proper nose in a glass. But really, this beer is very typical of the Belgian style.
That being said, I don’t find many Belgian beers to be “easy drinking” as they tend to be more sipping beers for me. But Upslope’s is dangerously drinkable for a 7.5% ABV. This is good, because it’s a spring seasonal, and I like my spring beers to be a bit lighter and poundable. You know, beers you can down after a long bike ride without it making you feel like you’re 10 months pregnant.
Upslope nailed it. Check them out at www.upslopebrewing.com
For more information about Talking Mountain Yurts, click the link (as if you didn’t know).