A week from now, the holiday skiers will invade Little Cottonwood Canyon. That’s why I have been elated to get some good days in at Alta before the lift lines are filled with name labeled skis and rainbow dial-a-bindings. When the start date got pushed back from Thanksgiving, I worried, but now, 4 days in, I feel spoiled. Today I feasted on Frosted Face Flakes for breakfast and a St. Archer’s Mosaic IPA for lunch.
No one gets “me” time on a powder day?! Well, Jared (my usual ski partner) was enjoying the day in the company of his soon-to-be ski partner/son and my father-in-law was watching his grandchild do awesome stuff on a diving board. [Hah, the rewards of parenthood.] Two less competitors for freshies.
It wasn’t too crowded but, it’s still Alta. You got to be quick or else Stonecrusher will be tracked before you know it. I don’t get bitter about this. Snow was designed to be tracked. You can’t fault other skiers for holding powder in high regard. Today, I got my turns in and was very happy. I think the best run of the day was Gunsight. Even though it was more avy crunch than powder, I still felt great coming down it. That’s because when I was at the top, I was all alone and enjoyed a summit brew.
When you have a reputation as a beer snob, as I do, people tend to want to give you strange and exotic beers from their travels; as if they are providing some sort of gift of the Magi. Today’s summit brew was courtesy of a co-worker that returned from San Diego last week with a 6 pack of St. Archers’s Mosaic Double IPA.
I don’t think I’ve had St. Archer. The curiosity was killing me all week. But when I saw that Friday’s storm might make Saturday great, I chose to save my sampling. After quaffing it atop Gunsight, I discovered now another beer I wish we had in Utah. Perhaps with MillerCoors owning them, that will happen.
This brew knows how to show off a hop. It lets the name of the hop sell the beer instead of pandering with some overly creative play on words using “hop”.
Yes, there is some bitterness, it is an IPA after all. But it doesn’t knock you over with that bitterness. It’s just like the drop into Gunsight. Yes, it’s not easy, but it doesn’t require a Scott Schmidt hop turn or a menacing cornice drop. Upon that first sip, there is an odd lack of any overpowering bouquet but, the fruit really comes out in the sip. There is some mango and the typical citrus, presented in an incredibly pleasant cascade of consistent and predictable IPA-ness. Like the fall line of a straight and narrow chute. It is gold color and almost looks like a pilsner, but obviously has so much more character. As you drink it, there is this expectation that it will give way abruptly to a oversaturated explosion of hoppiness yet, it keeps inviting you to drink more and come back for more. A 9% beer that really doesn’t seem like 9%. I enjoyed every hoppy exhale on my exhaustive trip down Gunsight.