I often find myself wincing at tourists in the grocery stores while shopping at my local grocery store in Summit County. Since I’m not a Colorado Native, I know the feeling of being in a new place, unfamiliar or just unaware to its rules and cultures, so I thought I’d clue you in regarding the rules of alcohol sales before your next ski vacation in Colorado. When you are visiting our fine state and hitting up the grocery store to stock your ski condo’s fridge, you might see the beer in the fridges and think ‘How convenient!’ With a closer look you might wonder, ‘Where is the wine and booze, it’s just beer?’ What you may not know is that Colorado has a law that requires grocery and convenience stores to sell only ‘3.2 Beer’, which is a beer of less than 3.2 percent alcohol by weight or 4.0 percent alcohol by volume; some describe it as lower strength or watered down. Wine and liquor are sold only in the liquor stores, along with the regular strength beer. This may not be a big deal to you, but it’s certainly nice to be aware of what you are buying. Some tourists are honestly probably better off with the lower strength beer anyways since it is being consumed at altitude and has heavier effects than usual. We recommend taking it slow and always drinking alot of water during your stay in the high country.
If you are a craft beer lover, you are definately going to want to go to a liquor store because the selection will be so much better. You will be pleased to see how many amazing craft beer options Colorado produces, from lagers to IPAs to sours or browns! The good news is that most grocery stores conveniently have a liquor store right next door, so you really only need to make one stop. You are also allowed to buy beer and alcohol on Sundays, but most places usually close around 5pm on Sundays.
Summit County is also home to a number of great, smaller breweries, so if you are a beer lover, make sure to plan a stop at at least one of the breweries. Dillon Dam Brewery, Pug Ryan’s and Baker’s Brewery are all located in the Dillon / Silverthorne area which is just 7 miles from Keystone Resort, near I-70. You can also checkout the Outer Range Brewery in Frisco or head to Breckenridge and check out the Breckenridge Brewery or Broken Compass Brewery.
Looking for a cold beer, après-style? The Last Lift Bar is a locals favorite for a cold beer after the mountain or on your lunch break. The Last Lift is located at the Mountain House Base Area and has an awesome upper level patio for those nice sunny days, watching skiers come down the mountain. Another favorite is LaBonte’s Cabin on North Peak, complete with Adirondack Chairs for sun basking and taking a break during your ski day. In River Run Village, check out Kickapoo Tavern, New Moon Cafe or 9280′ Taphouse for a great Colorado beer on draft.
Don’t say we didn’t clue you in on the best place to get your local craft Colorado beer on your Keystone ski trip! Be safe and have fun!