Big Beers, Belgians & Barleywines seminar in Vail pairs exercise with a ‘beermosa’ | VailDaily.com

Big Beers, Belgians & Barleywines seminar in Vail pairs exercise with a ‘beermosa’

Kim Fuller
Special to the Daily

Rachel Ponce will be in Vail this weekend with her husband, Eric Ponce, senior brewer at Goose Island Beer Co. in Chicago, to lead a yoga practice at the Big Beers, Belgians & Barleywines Festival.

VAIL — Once a month, Rachel Ponce holds an event at her yoga space in Chicago, Bend Yoga and Movement Studio, that combines two of her favorite things: fitness and beer.

Rachel will be in Vail this weekend with her husband, Eric Ponce, senior brewer at Goose Island Beer Co. in Chicago, for the Big Beers, Belgians & Barleywines Festival — where they will lead The Yoga of Brewing together. The session is on Saturday from 10 to 11 a.m. in the Vail Cascade Resort's Centennial Ballroom foyer and is designed to "prepare your body, mind and soul to receive the outstanding selection of beers coming your way throughout the day," according to the event description.

Eric and Rachel met in Chicago after a courtship of beer dinners and yoga classes, and they were married in March in the Goose Island Barrel Warehouse. Eric said yoga is an addition that many will need during the Big Beers weekend of skiing, drinking and eating.

"Yoga is a great break, and I think many would agree," he said. "We aren't taking you away from beer because we will have our beer cocktail available."

The practice of yoga can highlight sensory experiences, such as taste and smell, and also can clear the mind with meditative-style breathing — so the class just may be ideal preparation for retaining seminar information and partaking in focused tasting on Saturday at Big Beers.

Rachel teaches fitness-style yoga classes, such as vinyasa and sculpt — a focus that she said helps to balance out the beer she drinks.

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"I couldn't imagine drinking beer and not having yoga in my life," she said.

Get the blood flowing

The key to being fit, according to Rachel, is staying in balance with your indulgences. She said Saturday morning's all-levels yoga class will begin with easy stretching to wake up and warm up the body, and then it will move into a vinyasa flow practice with some beginner and advanced balance poses.

"Class will be in the morning, so I though this would be a great, light and refreshing way to start the long day of beer," she said.

Goose Island's Sofie is one of Rachel's "favorite everyday beers," and she said the session would introduce a "beermosa," mixing the beer with grapefruit or orange juice.

"They will have worked for their 'beermosa,' so we will cheers to starting the day with yoga," Rachel said. "They will leave feeling energized, warmed up and ready for a day on their feet and tasting."

The class will get the blood flowing for participants, Rachel said, and help them to keep their hop-loaded digestive systems on track, not to mention promote the flexibility and agility that's required when the big beers hit.

"You might need that core and balance to catch yourself if you stumble," Rachel said in a light-hearted tone. "The day after, you might be feeling a little out of it, lazy and possibly with a headache. Nothing is better than sweating it out and doing a few inversions — getting oxygen to your brain and loosening up any stiffness in your body."

If you go …

What: The Yoga of Brewing, with Eric and Rachel Ponce, part of the Big Beers, Belgians & Barleywines Festival.

When: 10 to 11 a.m. Saturday, Jan. 9.

Where: Centennial Ballroom Foyer, Vail Cascade Resort & Spa, 1300 Westhaven Drive, Vail.

Cost: Free — no ticket or reserved seat required.

More information: Visit http://www.bigbeersfestival.com.

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