Maybe the never-ending switchbacks on the road up the hill make beer just taste better on Schweitzer. Whatever the reason, the beer component of Schweitzer Mountain Resort's Fall Fest has blown up in popularity in recent years, turning it into a must-taste event for the region's beer fans.
The festival — which also includes live music from Mama Doll, Hell's Belles and the Alliance, among others, a variety of food and discounted lift tickets for hiking and biking — signals the end of summer operations on Schweitzer. Fittingly, you might already see some fall colors in the trees by this weekend.
"This is our final weekend of summer, and then we say goodbye for a bit and start doing our snow dance," says Schweitzer marketing manager Sean Briggs.
The beer roster for the festival is looking promising, including many of the local up-and-comers as well as some regional powerhouses. Not a beer fan? There's wine, cider and a soda tent where kids can make their own flavor mixtures.
Briggs says he's looking forward most to the Hazelnut Brown from Rogue Brewing, but here are a few others from the list of 60-plus brews on tap at the festival that caught our eye.
1910, Wallace Brewing Co.
You'll see a ton of IPAs and pales at the festival, but if you want to take it in a different direction, check out this black lager from Wallace Brewing. It's smooth on the front end, but then you'll pick up some chocolate and coffee flavors.
Foray, Deschutes Brewery
You know this Bend, Oregon, brewery for their Mirror Pond pale ale and others, but this new Belgian-style IPA is a smooth-drinking brew that leaves a nice citrus finish on your tongue.
Night Owl, Elysian Brewing Co.
If you really want to be done with summer, you can trick your palate into believing it's autumn with this pumpkin ale from Seattle mainstay Elysian. You'll pick up on the ginger, cinnamon and nutmeg that all go into the brewing process.
NOHO North Idaho
Pale Ale, MickDuff's
Made just down the hill from Schweitzer in Sandpoint, MickDuff's NOHO is a little hoppier than a typical pale, but that boldness allows it to stand out.♦
Fall Fest • Sat-Mon, Aug. 30-Sept. 1 • Tasting packages range from $10-$35 • Live music schedule, tickets and chairlift times at Schweitzer.com/events-activities