As a dirt bag, beer-drinking skier in my early 20s, times are tough on the adult beverage front. It seems the divide between craft and traditional (read: "cheap") beers has never been greater. Whether it's on the chairlift, in the bar, or at a party, the likes of classics like Pabst Blue Ribbon, Coors, and Rainier are slowly being replaced by fancy artisan craft brews.
Thankfully for Rocky Mountain beer consumers, High Hops Brewing, out of Windsor, Colorado, is looking to bridge that brew gap with their new beer, The Cold One. The first Colorado craft beer available in a 30 rack, The Cold One is bringing the spirit of cheap beer to craft brewing.
As a hearty supporter of buying cheap beer in ridiculous quantities, I was curious to see how this newcomer would stack up against the other cases of beer that have long graced the bottom shelf of liquor store coolers. So, I rounded up a group of testers--a few ski buddies who agreed drinking beers for "research" was the perfect way to spend a Monday night--and we got to work.
Low in hops and malts, The Cold One lacks the certain bitterness associated with most craft beers, and embraces the light, crisp taste and we've come to know and love from our favorite traditional cheap libations. Branded as a beer best enjoyed in the open air, The Cold One's can advertises it "Pairs well with people and the great outdoors," and to my surprise, I couldn't agree more. While a flavorful double IPA with hints of maple and pomegranate may be right at home at the new gastro pub in town, when it comes to drinking in Mother Nature, nothing reigns supreme like a good, cheap light beer. Whether on the summit after a hard slog up the skin track, on the chairlift breaking the ice with some strangers, or on the deck at après after a day ripping laps, I can easily see a Cold One in my hand.
At $29 for a 30 pack, The Cold One definitely isn't the best deal in town, but for a 5.2 percent lager, it beats out a lot of the cheaper alternatives in terms of ABV while still retaining a "supreme crushability" in the words of one tester. Let's just say that if you toss a case in the car on your next weekend trip to the mountains with a group of thirsty skiers, don't expect to have any left come Monday morning.
For those that want to help support a local small-town brewery while still holding tight to the spirit and adventure of cheap beer, next time you head to the mountains, crack open a Cold One.