Pocket beers are just one of the lower key aspects of skiing. For all the people who spend near $10 for a draft at the top of the lifts there are a smaller number of hardy souls who take the route less traveled. During the few minutes of isolation on a lift the pocket beer is produced. It is consumed before unloading, sometimes shared, and the can is either stowed away or deposited discretely in a receptacle at the top. Do not be the guy who tosses an empty somewhere on the mountain.
Over Spring Break I discovered that the pocket beer is looked down upon at Beaver Creek. A fellow lift traveler looked at me as if I had told him that I was going to make America great again with my consumption of beer. Perhaps it would have been more appropriate if I had broken out a single serve can of chardonnay. Properly chilled of course. Just kidding. I would never drink chardonnay on a lift unless it was goon. It’s an Australian thing. Check it out.
Over the course of the week I thought about the nature of the pocket beer because I did not spend any time looking at the news, watching Netflix, or working. It is amazing what you think about when left with your thoughts on a sunny Colorado afternoon in the spring. Here are my conclusions:
- Pocket beers must be in cans. Like the beach, including the one at A Basin, and the pool glass should be a non-starter. Bottles can break, the tops are another item to deal with, and it is harder to conceal a bottle in a gloved hand. Oh sure, you could get by with an aluminum bottle but those are generally only purchased by people who are captive audiences at sporting events. Don’t be that guy.
- Pocket beers should be shared. If you have more than one, offer a beer to a fellow lift rider. If you only have one, offer a drink to a fellow lift rider if you know the person well. Strangers might have a fear of your distinct brand of cooties.
- Pocket beers should not be craft beers. Yes, craft beer is ascendant and craft beer is a big deal in mountain communities. However, with most high speed lifts only taking a few minutes to complete their runs there is no time to savor. Reserve the craft beer for the après pint.
- Acceptable pocket beers:
- Rainier: Where do people find this stuff? I had not seen anyone drink Rainier since a childhood trip to the Pacific Northwest with my parents in the 1980s. Sure enough it made an appearance this season on a lift at Keystone.
- Yuengling: I cannot stand this beer, but legions of East Coast ice skiers will scream if I do not include their favorite swill.
- Natural Light: The Natty is a legend among the hardy souls who ski the Midwest’s small hills. Purchased in containers with no fewer than 24 cans and usually 30 cans the Natty is the common currency of tailgates, impromptu backyard parties in your twenties, and pocket beers at Afton Alps. Yes, it is swill but when the mercury is dropping below the 0 mark you do not have time to taste.
- Coors: Not that Coors Light garbage. When you are in Colorado and producing a pocket beer it should be the Banquet Beer. The muted yellow can is iconic even if the beer inside is fairly mediocre. It’s only brewed in Golden, which is off I-70 on the way into the mountains. If you are chilling on the Peru Express lift, whip out a Banquet Beer, and enjoy your moment of perfection.
Embrace the pocket beer and the grungy soul of skiing before we are all left at mega-resorts staring at a menu of eye watering prices. The pocket beer is the resistance.