Put on some jean shorts and your bikini top, grab your downhill skis and head to your favorite resort to kiss winter goodbye with some spring skiing. Mountains all across the region will be hosting their end of season parties that include classics like pond skimming, rail jams, and the occasional bikini contest. Timberline’s Snowy Luau could be the best thanks to the parade of torch-baring skiers that descend the mountain like lava. Even if you can’t make one of these resort-sanctioned parties, you can still hold your own Viking-funeral to mourn the passing of winter.
These end-of-season rituals are important. They give you a chance to say goodbye to your favorite liftees, throw one last bra on the “tree of debauchery,” and count your total number of days on the hill (my number is never as high as I want it). Spring is right around the corner and pretty soon we’ll all be drinking hefeweizens and planting herb gardens. But I say wallow in winter one last time. After a day of making turns on slush in 50 degree temps, head home and pop the cap on that big, burly winter beer you’ve been saving for the right occasion. Maybe it’s an imperial stout, or a gingerbread porter. For me, it’s a killer barleywine from Starr Hill — the Bandstand Barleywine, which is part of their limited All Access series of big beers.
Starr Hill ages this beer in used bourbon barrels from Smooth Ambler in West Virginia. Barleywines are typically on the sweet side of things and always high in alcohol content, and Bandstand does not disappoint on either note. The beer is full of caramel and vanilla and boozy as hell, with a thick, almost slick mouthfeel. This is classic winter beer territory–the sort of thing that you only drink when you’re not worried about how your abs look at the beach.
You can start doing crunches and eating carrot sticks next week. For now, enjoy the slush at the resort, and indulge in the dark side of beer one last time.