It’s 9 a.m. on a Wednesday at Upslope Brewery. Tanks full of beer are bubbling and steaming, head brewer Dany Pages is hand milling malt, and delivery guy Luke is loading up the company van to make a drop-off run around town. “Don’t forget the Everclear,” Henry Wood, the director of sales, yells at him as he runs out the door.
Upslope opened up in Boulder, Colorado, last Thanksgiving and they’ve been going full throttle ever since. They can and sell two kinds of beer—an IPA and a pale ale—which they say are perfect post-skiing beverages. Wood took a break from the brewing process to tell Skiing why aluminum cans hold up better in the backcountry, and what his pick is for the best après drink.
So, what is it you’re trying to do here?
Our slogan is, “good beer in a can for an active lifestyle.” The idea was to make really good beer that was also easy to bring to the trailhead. We wanted to brew beer that was approachable for novice craft beer drinkers but still complex. My mom likes it and she isn’t a microbrew drinker.
Why the can?
A can doesn’t let in any light or oxygen, which can ruin beer, but there are a bunch of other reasons, both environmental and for convenience. Cans are incredibly recyclable. Aluminum is pretty much the most recyclable thing on the planet. Also, you can take it where glass isn’t allowed and not be worried about it breaking. A can is lighter and you can crush it so it’s smaller when it’s coming out in your pack.
That seems particularly convenient for skiing.
I used to work in risk management, so I find it kind of funny that we’re talking about drinking in the backcountry. We’re not necessarily endorsing drinking and skiing but it is fun to have a can of beer at the end of a day of skiing.
Which of your beers is the best after a day of skiing?
Hard to say. The pale ale is incredibly refreshing after a long day, but the IPA is really good on cold nights, like if you’re on a hut trip.
What’s with the Everclear…I thought this was a brewery?
We use Everclear to clean the small fittings in the brewing system. It sterilizes them and it’s food grade, so we don’t have to worry about chemicals.