Summit Suds: Mount Royal and Float Session
A fabulous way for locals and tourists alike to treat themselves in Summit County is sipping a beer after exercise, whether that be skiing, hiking, biking, paddleboarding or any other outdoor activity.
As the snow finally melts and trails dry, now is a great time to explore the wilderness on foot and follow up with a celebratory beverage on a brewery patio. Being residents of this active community themselves, here are some favorite trail and craft concoction combos handpicked by brewers.
Almost all local breweries have canned four packs, crowlers (a growler in a can), or accept fills of more portable, non-glass growlers made of materials such as plastic. However, as public consumption is illegal, it is best to consume these beverages at your trailhead rental, other domicile or the brewery itself post-recovery stretching.
Located on Frisco’s Main Street, it’s easy to see why HighSide Brewing owner David Axelrod enjoys hiking what he calls “The Frisco Stairmaster” with his dogs Blanca and Goliath. At 10,502 feet in elevation, the false summit of Peak 1 casts a long shadow over the town, enticing many to try its more difficult trail.
“The best part about it is the commanding view at the end,” Axelrod said. “Sitting there overlooking the lake, town and I-70 is great.”
From Exit 201, park at the paved lot about 100 yards east of Interstate 70, cross the footbridge and turn left on the paved bike path. After a half-mile on the path, turn right at the Mount Royal trail sign. The short and gradual hike is about 2 miles one way and gains 1,372 feet in elevation. Halfway up, hikers will see the ruins of Mastontown, which was wiped out from an avalanche in 1926.
Though he likes any IPA or the Swim Beer, Axelrod’s top pairing pick is the Float Session, a low-alcohol IPA. Currently, Float Session is made with Idaho 7 hops, but the recipe will be frequently tweaked to highlight the flavor profiles of other varietals.
“It gives people a chance to really experience the hops in their fullness. I love that it’s done to accentuate all the individual hops.”