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Frosty, Cold and Loud 

Like pilgrims to the Holy Land, so, too, do area beer and blues lovers venture out each summer seeking the fountainhead of their devotion, the object of their worship and the spiritual enlightenment they so crave on the hallowed terraces of Silver Mountain's high-altitude amphitheater. The BrewsFest at Silver Mountain has arrived with a promise of sudsy salvation. That, my fellow brew disciples, is happening this Saturday afternoon, starting around 1 pm.

And making that pilgrimage is a snap. Once you complete the drive to Kellogg, the arduous portion of your journey is essentially complete. The Silver Mountain staff will take it from there, beginning with your sublime and rather exhilarating gondola ride (complimentary with your event ticket) that takes you slowly up the side of the mountain to the open-air amphitheater at the 5,700-foot level. Climb aboard. Feel the air grow steadily cooler as you rise from the valley floor below, soaring over houses, trees and mountain trails. In the near-silence, take in the vista expanding behind you: sweeping views of three states and Canada, with mountain ranges stretching to the horizon. When you arrive and step out onto the mountaintop, you feel a million miles away from your cramped, hot daily existence. Tranquility Base -- your psyche has landed.

So, uh, where's the beer?

Silver Mountain's summer BrewsFest once again features flowing brew and pulse-quickening music in copious quantities with more than 20 regional and national microbreweries represented (including most of your Northwest favorites). Blues lovers will get their fix when local legends Too Slim & amp; the Taildraggers take the stage. But you'll also get a dose of ska-funk when Civilized Animal entertains the mile-high crowd. And save your strength, because Milonga's brand of salsa demands that you put your beer down and dance.

Your ticket not only gets you the gondola ride and the concert admission but also a souvenir mug and six drink tickets. Then all you have to do is pick out a spot on the lawn and plant yourself to soak up the suds, the rays and the rocking tuneage.

If you get there early, you'll have plenty of time to get settled in and/or explore some of Silver Mountain's other delights, including hiking and mountain biking (concert-goers may board the gondola any time after 9:30 am). Just remember to bring a sweatshirt (it can get mighty chilly up there) and leave the booze and high-backed lawn chairs at home.

Every year, the BrewsFest is the kick-off to a whole season's-worth of outdoor summer concerts at Silver Mountain. And this year is no exception. This coming month, look for those '70s prog-rockers, Styx, to make a return trip on Sunday, Aug. 7; former scissor-kicking ex-Van Halen front man David Lee Roth (yes, we're serious) on Saturday, Aug. 20; and country music star Phil Vassar on Saturday, Aug. 27. Tickets are available at the Silver Mountain Box Office by calling (800) 204-6428. For more information, visit Silver Mountain online at www.skisilver.com.

Silver Mountain Micro BrewsFest with Too Slim & amp; the Taildraggers, Civilized Animal and Milonga is Saturday, July 30, from 1-7 pm. Tickets: $25.50. Price includes souvenir mug and six drink tickets. Call (800) 204-6428.

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