To us, one of the most fun parts of winter sports is the après-ski, when you get to drink in the afternoon and get hammered twice as fast due to the physical exertion of falling down mountains all day. And at the FIS Alpine World Ski Championships in Colorado this February, attendees will be drinking Sierra Nevada’s latest beer brewed especially for the competition: the Start House Session Ale.

A release on the event website describes the brew as “an easy-drinking India Pale Ale… light in body but big in whole-cone hop flavor with intense notes of pine, grapefruit, and herbal hop aromas.” The IPA is being sold exclusively in Vail and Beaver Creek where the races are taking place. In Vail, Sierra Nevada is setting up a Winter Beer Camp where they’ll also pour other limited release brews like Nooner Pilsner and Beer Camp Hoppy Lager, and provide “instructional tasting events to help educate those fans that are new to American craft beer.”

Beer Camp Hoppy Lager. (Photo: Sierra Nevada)

Beer Camp Hoppy Lager. (Photo: Sierra Nevada)

While the country’s biggest sports leagues—like the NFL and NBA—are unsurprisingly sponsored by Anheuser-Busch, it’s great to see an independently owned craft brewery sponsoring a major international sporting event. But it’s only in recent years that craft breweries have grown large enough to be considered sponsorship material.

According to Forbes, when Sierra Nevada was founded in 1978, there were only 45 independent breweries in America. Sierra Nevada is now the seventh-largest brewery in the country, grossing $200 million per year (60% of those sales are thanks to the brewery’s signature Pale Ale, and Torpedo Extra IPA accounts for another 20%).

We’re glad to have co-founder Ken Grossman acting as an ambassador for our craft beer industry at an international event. And attendees should be glad that they’ll have something better than Bud to drink at their après-ski.

[via First Tracks]