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Craft beers, chamber orchestras, diving dogs and more: Tricia’s weekend picks 6/21/19

Vail Craft Beer Festival

Elevate your craft beer experience by pairing it with a little education and adventure. That’s the idea behind the third annual Vail Craft Beer Classic, happening now through Sunday.

Colorado is known for its legacy of microbreweries throughout the state. The Vail Craft Beer Classic will showcase some of those pioneer breweries like New Belgium Brewing and Odell Brewing Company, which have been around for decades, as well as local establishments like Bonfire Brewing and 7 Hermits Brewing Company. There will be over 300 beer, wine and spirits samples to try throughout the festival.

For those looking to learn, there are various opportunities to geek out with the experts in the industry. Hear about current trends and practices as well as cooking techniques with beer. If being active is more your style, hike, bike or go fly fishing with beer experts while enjoying the Colorado scenery and, of course, beer. This event really blends the best of Colorado, letting you enjoy the outdoors while being inspired by some of the craft brewers’ stories and insights and rewarding yourself with a brew afterward.

The biggest events of the weekend will be the Sip at the Summit on Friday from 6 to 9 p.m. and the Toast of Vail on Saturday from 3 to 6 p.m. The Sip at the Summit takes beer enthusiasts on a trip up the gondola, which sits at 10,350 feet above sea level, for gorgeous views and a barbecue dinner. Craft beers from members of the Colorado Brewers Guild will be served. The Toast of Vail brings everyone to the heart of Vail Village to sample over 50 breweries and live bluegrass music.

This is a ticketed event and many of the seminars and other offerings sell out quickly, so take a look at the website and plan your weekend around the Vail Craft Beer Classic. For details visit www.vailcraftbeerclassic.com.

Purina Pro Plan Incredible Dog Challenge

If you missed all the high-flying canine action during the Dock Dogs events at the GoPro Mountain Games, don’t worry, you have another chance to see some talented pooches this weekend. The Purina Pro Plan Incredible Dog Challenge (PPPIDC) returns to Nottingham Park in Avon with competitions held on Friday and Saturday.

The PPPIDC may sound familiar to you because it is a nationally televised series that showcases some of the strongest, fastest and most agile dogs who complete some amazing feats. Nottingham Park and Nottingham Lake provide the perfect backdrop for the obstacle course utilizing the lawn, sand and lake. There will also be diving competitions utilizing Nottingham Lake. The Freestyle Flying Disc competition will showcase the skills of both the dog and the handler with a bit of choreography added to the tossing of the discs.

Although the PPPIDC is open to all breeds of dogs, there is one event that is specific to the Jack Russell terrier breed: Hurdle Racing. Watch as those small terriers chase a lure while jumping over obstacles and going through tunnels in this timed competition.

This event is free and spectator friendly with bleacher seating set up to provide more areas to view the events. For a full list of competitions and practice schedules, visit www.proplan.com/dogs/incredible-dog-challenge.   

Bravo! Vail Music Festival

The Bravo! Vail Music Festival brings a world of music to the Vail Valley this summer. Renown musicians will delight the ears of the seasoned classical music lover to the novice.

Bravo! Vail kicks off its 32nd season this week and will bring in long-standing favorites like the Dallas Symphony Orchestra, the New York Philharmonic and the Philadelphia Orchestra, but before they do, Bravo! Vail has a special treat. Making its North American debut will be Chamber Orchestra Vienna-Berlin. The leading players from the Vienna and Berlin Philharmonics come together to perform Mozart and Haydn on Saturday and Sunday nights.

Joining the Chamber Orchestra Vienna-Berlin throughout the weekend’s performances will be award-winning violinists Paul Huang and Anne-Sophie Mutter. Even though the Chamber Orchestra Vienna-Berlin has been collaborating for over a decade, they both are still known for the distinctive sounds they bring to the stage. The smooth Viennese elegance and the passion of the Berliners will be evident on stage.

Gates open at 5 p.m. and the shows regularly start at 6 p.m. Take advantage of the free pre-concert talks that happen throughout the festival. On Saturday, the pre-concert talk, which starts at 5 p.m., will give you insights about the selections of Mozart’s music that will be played that evening and more details about the performers. That added detail is sure to move you to have more affinity for this type of music.

Tickets to Bravo! Vail start at $29 for lawn seats (kids 12 and under get lawn seats for $12) and go up in price from there depending on where you want to sit. For more information, go to www.bravovail.org.

Vail Arts Festival

The 35th annual Vail Arts Festival returns to Lionshead Village this weekend. This three-day event draws over 60 artists covering diverse mediums such as glass, metal works, wood, mixed media, paintings, drawing, fiber, digital art, graphics, printmaking, sculpture, jewelry and more.

Although some artists will be local, many artists will be coming from 22 other states. There will also be emerging artists present who have earned their opportunity to show their creations at the Vail Arts Festival. Have an emerging artist of your own? The Kids Creative Kingdom returns once again to help foster creativity in the youngsters at the kids’ activity area.

This free event happens rain or shine and opens each day at 9:30 a.m. Friday through Sunday and ends at 6 p.m. on Friday and Saturday and goes until 4 p.m. on Sunday. For more information, go to www.vailartsfestival.com.

Solstice Trail Run

The longest day of the year is June 21st and to celebrate, the Vail Recreation District is once again hosting its Dynafit Summer Solstice 10k, 5k, and Kids Fun Run at Beaver Creek on Saturday.

John Muir once said, “Of all the paths you take in life, make sure a few of them are dirt.” Follow this environmental philosopher’s advice and hit the trails on Saturday morning, rain or shine. The course will take runners (you can walk it if you need to) up through aspen groves and across the front side of Beaver Creek Mountain before the descent.

Reward yourself with an after-party complete with food, entertainment and prizes for the top finishers at Creekside Park, which also serves at the start and finish area for the race.

Saturday’s run is part of the Dynafit Vail Trail Running Series put on by the Vail Rec District each summer. The series showcases some of Colorado’s most iconic trail runs. The Kids Fun Run starts at 8:30 a.m. followed by the 10k at 9 a.m. and the 5k at 9:15 a.m. Register online or in person. Entry prices vary, but proceeds from this event go to the Vail Valley Charitable Fund, which supports Eagle Valley residents in medical crisis. For more information, go to www.vailrec.com.

The first annual Rocky Mountain Burger Battle will serve the best beefy creations in the valley

The inaugural Rocky Mountain Burger Battle, set for Thursday, June 20, will feature the valley’s best burgers. The event is a kickoff event for the Vail Craft Beer Classic this weekend – because after all, the second-best pairing to pizza and beer is burgers and beers.

“We’re hoping that this first year gets a lot of exposure and we can show what the event’s about,” said Ryan Slater. “We’d love to see it grow and have everybody be into it so much that we can make it a standalone weekend event.”

Slater, who coordinated the event with Team Player Productions, has been organizing the Denver Burger Battle for 10 years, and thought it would be a great idea to expand the festival into the Rockies after last year’s Vail Craft Beer Classic. He envisioned it as a sister festival to Denver’s burger battle, and has been planning it since.

The Burger Battle will serve as a Thursday night kickoff event to the Vail Craft Beer Classic this weekend.
Steve Peterson | Special to the Daily

He asked around in Vail which restaurants would be the best competitors, and after reaching out to those establishments and gaining traction for the event, he started receiving applications from other places as well. He encouraged contenders to make creations that festival-goers could also order in the restaurant, but the menu will feature new concoctions and current favorites.

Vail Brewing Co. and Bonfire Brewing Co. will be serving a new collab beer – a hazy pale ale – as well as pouring their own suds. VBC is also hosting an after-party, and burger battle wristbands get wearers $1-off beers.

“We’re happy that the first year – trying to convince people is a little tough – but we’re happy with the lineup. We got a good array of what eagle county has to offer,” Slater said.

Slater said a couple hundred people have already purchased tickets to try the valley’s best burgers. Tickets are still available for online purchase, and can also be bought at the door day-of. For entry into the event, which runs from 5:30-8:30 p.m., patrons pay $45 plus fees. There are also several packages available, but those close online on Thursday.

The Double Double package grants admission to the Rocky Mountain Burger Battle and the Denver Burger Battle on Aug. 1 for $125. The VIP Double Deluxe package grants the same as the Double Double, but with VIP entry in Denver. There’s also a Vail Craft Beer Classic package. For $170, the Beer & Burger Weekender Package holders get entry into the burger battle, and two Craft Beer Classic events: Sip at the Summit and VIP Toast of Vail.

Some competitors are serving their version of a classic burger, and others are going with less traditional flavors.
Special to the Daily

Burgermeister

Here’s a list of the competitors, and what they’ll be serving, per the Rocky Mountain Burger Battle website:

Backcountry Wings | Minturn
The Backcountry Burger

The Backcountry Burger consists of hand-pressed locally sourced certified Black Angus Colorado beef topped with bacon-onion jam, distinctive Tillamook white cheddar cheese and Back Country’s own sauce. With a finishing touch of sliced pickles and served on a buttery brioche bun, this burger is an experience not to be missed.

White Bison | Vail
White Bison Burger

Hailing from the heart Vail Village, the hearty bison burger from White Bison is topped with delicious caramelized onion, cheddar, and house pickles. All of this comes together with smoked tomato aioli on an English muffin. 

Illegal Burger | Multiple locations, flagship in Denver
Off the Record

The Off the Record burger is served with a legitimate all-natural Never Ever Beef patty, pepper jack cheese, lettuce and tomato topped with Daikon sprouts and our creamy delicious avocado jalapeño aioli all served on a butter toasted brioche bun.

Craftsman | Edwards
Schmidt Mac

The Schmidt Mac is made up of grass-fed Colorado beef from Colorado Meat Co., garnished with Nueske’s bacon, American cheese and shrettuce – short for shredded lettuce. It’s topped off with special sauce, thyme onions, and spicy dill pickles, all on a toasted sesame seed bun.

Hotel Talisa restaurant | Vail
Talisa Grass Fed Beef Burger

The Talisa Grass Fed Beef Burger prides itself on being 100% local grass fed beef raised Eagle, Colorado. Topped with shallot marmalade, onions, pickle chips, sharp cheddar, and lemon aioli, this juicy burger is sure to make your mouth water.

Bully Ranch, Sonnenalp Hotel | Vail
South of the Border Burger

The Bully Ranch South of the Border Burger takes beefy goodness to the next level with seven times the beef, smoked gouda cheese and tasty smoked bacon. Topped with traditional lettuce, onions and tomatoes, it gets a modern twist with addedhomemade guacamole, pickled onions and a little kick of pickled jalapeño.

Bol | Vail
Eaton Ranch Bol Burger

The Eaton Ranch Bol Burger is created with an Eaton Ranch – located in Edwards – beef patty and Haystack Mountain – located in Fort Collins – goat Monterey Jack cheese. It’s topped with poached egg, crispy shoestring potatoes, arugula and served on a house-made English muffin. Tender belly bacon, Tillamook cheddar cheese, L.T.O. and mayo on a brioche bun.

Father’s Day events, farmers markets, fun runs and more: Tricia’s weekend picks 6/14/19

Father’s Day ideas

After celebrating Mother’s Day last month, it’s time to high-five good ol’ dad on Father’s Day this Sunday. According to www.history.com, Father’s Day was inspired by Mother’s Day back in the early 1900s, but it wasn’t deemed a federal holiday until many decades later when President Nixon signed a proclamation in 1972. Rather than getting dad another tie for Father’s Day, check out these different experiences and treat dad this weekend.

Good Eats

  • Maya Mexican Restaurant – On Saturday, bring dad to Maya to taste samplings of brisket, pork shoulder and chicken from their house smoker. Tasty sides will be available as well. Wash it down with free beer from Crazy Mountain Brewery or a 10th Mountain Whiskey Mule for $5. The price is $40 per person with advanced reservations or $50 on the day of the event. Kids age under 12 eat free. Reservations can be made by calling 970-690-5500 or going to www.richardsandoval.com/maya-bc.
  • Game Creek Club – On Sunday morning, bring dad up to 10,000 feet above sea level for brunch. The price is $48 for adults and $28 for kids and that includes the scenic ride up the Eagle Bahn Gondola, complimentary shuttle (or you can hike to and from the location) and a gourmet brunch buffet. Reservations are required. Go to www.gamecreekclub.com for information.
  • Remedy Bar at the Four Seasons Resort Vail – Have an “Old Fashioned” Father’s Day celebration complete with bourbon-molasses glazed pork ribs with sides. Remedy suggests you pair that with a Remedy barrel-select bourbon Old Fashioned cocktail. Available at the Remedy Bar June 14-16.

Daddy’s Girl Tutu 2k

Take dad for a run around Nottingham Lake in Avon on Sunday during the Daddy’s Girl Tutu 2k, a fun run that takes participants around the lake for two laps before coming back to enjoy some snacks. Tutus are mandatory for dads, but dress up the whole family and get some exercise to kick off Father’s Day.

Registration is at the Nottingham Cabin at 9:30 a.m. and the two-kilometer run will begin at 10 a.m. Register in advance through the Avon Recreation Center and pay $5 or day-of registration is available for $10. Tutus will be available for purchase for $20 or make or bring your own. For more information and to register, visit www.avon.org/163/recreation-Center.

Ride the lift

The Eagle Bahn Gondola in Lionshead opened last week and the Centennial Lift at Beaver Creek opens up this Saturday and Sunday and daily operations start on June 21. Some trail closures are still in effect and you may be surprised how much snow is still holding on in the higher elevations. Don’t forget, if you already purchased your Epic Pass for the 2019-2020 ski and snowboard season, you get to ride the lifts this summer for free. For more information, go to www.vail.com and www.beavercreek.com.

Farmers’ Markets

The markets are back in the valley with fresh produce, live music, art and more. The Minturn Market kicks off its 21st season from 9 a.m. until 2 p.m. on Saturdays through Sept. 7, while Vail hosts its Farmers Market and Art Show from 10 a.m. until 3:30 p.m. on Sundays through Oct. 6.

The Minturn Market is the valley’s original market, and some of the vendors have been showcasing goods there for the past two decades. Minturn is a quaint old railroad town that has its own draw, but really comes alive on Saturdays during the market. The Minturn Market still holds true to its roots and offers plenty of seasonal fresh produce, but has also become more of an artisans’ market. Over 85 vendors offer anything from local wines, clothing to handcrafted toys and wedding gifts.

The kids will love the goat petting zoo and a “build-a-bear” station. Everyone can enjoy live music and vendors serving up breakfast and lunch throughout the event. For more information, visit www.minturnmarket.org.

What started out 18 years ago as a small market with a few tents on East Meadow Drive, the Vail Market and Art Show has grown into the largest farmers market in the Vail Valley. The Vail Farmers Market and Art Show now has over 135 vendor tents showcasing products from Colorado and beyond. Find fabulous fresh produce from around the region, but also check out everything from USDA-certified meats to photography to housewares.

You can buy everything you need to have a fresh dining experience at home, or you can let the professionals take care of the details at the Farm to Table dinners held throughout the summer. These dinners will be held rain or shine and you are seated right on East Meadow Drive. Each dinner will be paired with a wine and beer partner from the Taste of Vail.

The Vail Market and Art Show also almost acts as a second home for the Vail Jazz Festival. The Vail Jazz Festival hosts musicians from noon to 3 p.m. June 30 through Aug. 25. For more information about the Vail Farmers Market and Art Show, go to www.vailfarmersmarket.com.

King of the Mountain Volleyball tournament

You may not think Vail and beach volleyball go together, but for 47 years, the King of the Mountain Volleyball Tournament has been offering divisions of play for junior boys and girls, masters/seniors divisions and co-ed divisions.

The tournament has become a Father’s Day tradition since it has been held over Father’s Day weekend for the last 19 years. Each year they host special father/son and father/daughter divisions on Father’s Day.

In addition to the division play, there is also a free juniors’ beach volleyball clinic on Friday. One of USA Volleyball’s greatest coaches and mentors, John Kessel, will be directing the clinic. Kessel was recently inducted into the USAV Hall of Fame and was the recipient of USAV’s highest award, the Frier Award, earlier this spring.

One of the country’s oldest volleyball events returns to Vail Friday-Sunday. Watch the best players in the region compete or take part in the event. For more information, please visit www.kingofthemountainvolleyball.com.

Tabor Opera House shows

2018 was a very successful year for the Tabor Opera House in Leadville. Once known as the “finest opera house west of the Mississippi,” the structure was about to face extinction. The Tabor Opera House Preservation Foundation has worked hard to secure funds to help preserve this historic landmark, which was built by Horace Tabor, one of the most well known silver mining kings in the West, in 1879.

Oscar Wilde, Harry Houdini, John Philip Sousa, and Buffalo Bill were among the famous entertainers and speakers who performed at the Tabor Opera House back in its heyday. The opera house has been used continuously since it was built in 1879.

This weekend kicks off the calendar of summer events with bluegrass quartet, Chatham County Line and American singer-songwriter and storyteller, John Craigie on Friday night. The Central City Opera performs “En Mis Palabras/In My Own Words” on Saturday night.

Chatham County Line describes themselves as “an Americana band without drums, or a rock and roll band that doesn’t plug anything in.” Be prepared for three- and four-part harmonies along with banjo, mandolin, fiddle, piano, steel pedal and bass.

John Craigie is known for his humorous storytelling and serious folk music. The Portland, Oregon native has recently collaborated with Gregory Alan Isakov on his fifth album, “No Rain, No Roses” and was asked by Jack Johnson to be a part of his summer 2017 tour.

An original one-act opera, “En Mis Palabras/In My Own Words” follows the universal theme of adolescents trying to find their own voice and learning who they are amid parental expectations and peer influences.

Help support a historical landmark by attending these shows. For more information, visit www.taboroperahouse.net.

Bindu Memorial Run

On Saturday morning in Minturn, the inaugural Bindu Memorial Run will be held to honor a beloved teacher, Bindu Sky Pomeroy, who died in a backcountry snowboarding accident this past winter. The Bindu Memorial Run offers a 5k run as well as a 5k walk and is the senior project of recent graduate, Caroline Jones.

Jones had taken a few history classes from Pomeroy throughout the years at the Vail Ski and Snowboard Academy (VSSA). She also took mindfulness classes where Pomeroy would teach meditation, yoga and rock stacking on the river.  

“He taught me to find inner peace with myself as well as something called ‘Live Aloha’,” Jones said. “’Live Aloha’ isn’t just a greeting in Hawaii, it means that by having kind, patient, sympathetic, loving actions we can individually and collectively improve our community.”

Proceeds from the event will go to the Bindu Sky Memorial Fund, which will help fund future mindfulness classes at VSSA, help build a memorial in his honor and help fund the Bindu Spirit Award and scholarship, which will be awarded to an athlete who shares Bindu’s spirit.

“He was full of passion and love for the mountains, snowboarding, mindfulness, and especially his students,” Jones said. “Bindu touched the lives of each person he came across and will be forever missed.”

The cost is $26 for adults and $16 for students. The cost will increase by $10 on the day of the event. Online registration closes at midnight on Friday. Day-of registration begins at 9 a.m. on Saturday with the 5k run at starting 10:30 a.m. and the walk at 10:35 a.m. For more details, go to www.bspmemorial.com/bindumemorialrun.

S’mores ice cream?

Nothing says summertime like camping and you can’t have a campfire without s’mores. Sundae Homemade Ice Cream decided to take that summer staple and create a flavor around it.

“We set out to combine all of the iconic ingredients of a traditional s’more into a unique ice cream flavor, right down to the toasted marshmallow,” said Ashlyn Streetz, general manager at Sundae.  “We started by making a graham cracker ice cream, then folded in mini marshmallows we roasted ourselves and finished it with the dark chocolate chips our customers know and love.”

Sundae’s unique and creative flavors of the month inspire many of its customers to share what flavors they’d like to see next. “Sometimes it’s a customer suggestion we find intriguing or sometimes its something we’ve been dreaming up ourselves,” said Streetz, who is a pastry chef by trade. “We featured a chocolate raspberry sriracha ice cream this winter, and recently featured a cucumber melon sorbet.”

Sundae prides itself on offering quality ice cream that starts with quality ingredients. “We’re not looking to cut corners or do what’s easy, real homemade ice cream takes time and tons of effort,” Streetz said.  “We’re always looking to create the best ice cream possible for our customers and for ourselves.”

Sundae’s mission is to simply spread joy, one scoop at a time. Sundae is expanding its reach this summer and besides the Edwards Corner and Bridge Street ice cream parlors, expect to find scoops of deliciousness at other places as well.

“We’ve added an ice cream cart to our team this summer.  We’ll be spreading our wings in Garfield and Summit Counties this summer scooping up joy at farmers markets,” Streetz said.

Sundae has also honored requests to have its homemade ice cream at special events and now offers catering services for weddings, backyard parties and other gatherings.June is flying by, so stop by Sundae to try the s’mores ice cream flavor before it’s gone. To learn more about Sundae Homemade Ice Cream, visit www.sundaeicecream.com.

National Rosè Day this Saturday

After a long and chilly spring, the temperatures are on the rise, prompting our palettes to switch from the heavy red wines and buttery chardonnays to lighter and brighter wine varietals. This switch is just in time for National Rosè Day, which is held on the second Saturday of June. 

National Rosè Day was submitted to and approved by the registrar of National Day Calendar in October of 2014 and first celebrated in June of 2015 by Bodvar House of Rosès, a winery specializing in rosè wines that hopes to raise awareness and give rosè lovers a day to unite together and celebrate.

Rosè may be one of the oldest types of wine known but it’s been gaining popularity recently, even becoming a mixer for use in other cocktails, rather than just being consumed as a straight wine.

To celebrate National Rosè Day on June 8, area bars are trying various ways to serve it up. White Bison serves a rosè frozè, which is reminiscent of those frozen flavored slushy drinks you enjoyed as a kid.

They start with rosè wine then add Domaine de Canton, which is a cognac-based ginger liqueur. Then they add some sugar, fresh lemon juice and cranberry juice to add the pink color back into it. Oddly enough, when you put the rosè wine into a frozen slushy machine, the color fades. It’s garnished with plenty of mint to add another element of flavor and a little color to the pale pink drink.

These drinks are great summer sippers on the White Bison deck, which was voted “Best Deck” in the Vail Daily Reader’s Poll last year. If you have a large group, ask if you can get the “golden swan” which is basically a copper punch bowl shaped like a large swan, allowing you to keep everyone’s glasses full right at your table.

Bermuda Triangle cocktail at La Tour gives a taste of the tropics

With the warmer temperatures, it’s feeling a little tropical out there lately. Or, at least it’s making you think of a beach getaway. But if a trip south is not in your future, stop by La Tour and have a Bermuda Triangle, a banana-infused handcrafted drink which is a variation of an old fashioned.

First of all, how do you get the banana flavoring? Muddle a banana itself up and put it in a shaker and you end up with a goopy mess, but if you infuse liquor with banana chips, it gives you the desired flavor and aromas you’re looking for.

“Excluding bitters and garnish, the cocktail utilizes just three ingredients. The rum itself has delicious banana-like flavors and aromas, so the addition of banana chips highlights this fact,” said Kai Guerin, mixologist at La Tour.

In addition to the rum, Guerin has a few other interesting ingredients. Averna, which is a popular Italian Amaro, an herbal digestif, a house-made chai spiced simple syrup and a banana liquor from Giffard that is sprayed into the cocktail just before serving.  

“We utilize spritzes in a bunch of our cocktails. We use it with intensely aromatic ingredients that would otherwise overpower a drink if they were measured and combined with the other components,” Guerin said. “Spraying out an ingredient activates the aromatics much more intensely than a simple dash from a shaker bottle.” 

Guerin commented that rum is rarely sipped on the rocks, especially up here in the mountains. “But when you get a really solid product that tastes great on its own, I love mixing it into a delicious drink that expands peoples boundaries of what a boozy, stirred cocktail can be,” he said.

Bermuda Triangle recipe

2.25 ounces of banana chip infused Bacardi 8 year Rum (Infuse with about 20 chips per bottle soaked overnight. Banana chips from the grocery store are perfect no need to make them yourself)

.25 ounce Chai spiced simple syrup. (Equal parts brewed chai tea and sugar)

.25 ounce Averna Amaro

2 drops Bittermans Xocolatl Mole Bitters

Stir with ice and strain into an old fashioned glass with one large cube of ice. Place two more drops of mole bitters on the ice cube and spritz the drink four times with an atomizer filled with Giffard Banana Liqueur. Garnish with a banana chip.

Vail Ale House offers classic bar with elevated fare

Editor’s note: this story is reprinted from EAT Magazine, featuring the best restaurants in the Vail Valley. EAT is available on magazine racks and in hotel lobbies for free.

There are plenty of restaurants in the Vail Valley that offer elevated cuisine: think foie gras, lobster or steak, complete with white glove service. However, there are times when you simply want good food, elevated. When the urge hits for an experience that will cure what ails you, head to the Ale House Kitchen & Tap in West Vail.

The name might be a slight giveaway, but the Ale House Kitchen & Tap combines a stellar beer list with a menu focusing on burgers, flatbreads, apps and other hearty fare in a warm, welcoming atmosphere with excellent service clad in t-shirts rather than gloves. The space is perfect for large groups and equally comfortable if you just want to belly up to the bar. In short — there’s something for just about everyone.

Let’s start with the beverages. Craft is the word here, with both craft cocktails (martinis, mules and margaritas, to name a few) for sipping and craft beer for sampling. There are about 20 taps to consider with classic brews on the left side — the right side is reserved for whatever takes bar manager Greg Lam’s fancy.

“We usually have one or two kegs and when it’s done, it’s done,” Lam explains. “It’s more seasonal, but we have fun.”

The right side is where the Vail Ale House shines, offering up beers from smaller breweries like New Image, Mockery and Ursula Brewing. From hazy New England-style IPAs to tart and flavorful farmhouse styles, be sure to peruse the chalkboard for your next favorite beer.

Every great beverage deserves a great meal to go with it. The beauty of the Ale House’s menu is that there’s a wide range of fare, from more healthy options like the homemade hummus, four different salads (the Nuts N’ Berries, studded with strawberries and blueberries in addition to candied walnuts, goat cheese and cucumber is a favorite) and even a side of Brussels sprouts to the classically comforting bacon mac n’ cheese, your choice of burger (beef, bison or veggie) or the Southern fried chicken sandwich — “a monster of a sandwich which has become one of the locals’ favorites,” enthuses Lam.

Then there are the favorites like the shrimp tacos, available either grilled or Baja style, and the steak frites: perfectly cooked hangar steak, adorned with chimichurri and splayed on a bed of truffle fries. It’s a generous portion that you could share if you were feeling generous, but you might be inclined to hoard it.

Looking for late-night sustenance? The Ale House Kitchen & Tap has, again, got you covered. From 10 p.m. to midnight, you can enjoy munching on select appetizers, a classic cheeseburger or one of their famous flatbreads. Though Lam says the chicken pesto is probably the most popular, the fig and goat cheese is the most unique. With poached figs, creme fraiche, goat cheese and balsamic onions, dotted with fried sage, it’s a sweet and tangy nibbler that will keep you going into the wee hours. Or any time at all.

Four Seasons Resort Vail launches two-year renovation project

VAIL — A decade can be a long time in the luxury lodging business. That’s why Four Seasons Resort and Residences Vail is getting an extensive upgrade.

Changes include a re-do of Flame restaurant and The Remedy Bar, as well as upgrades to the hotel’s 122 guest rooms and suites, as well as the lobby, corridors and meeting spaces.

The work will take this year and much of 2020. The hotel will remain open during the work.

Perhaps the biggest change is in the residences. Extell Development Co. in 2018 received town of Vail approval to change a number of the hotel’s fractional-fee condos to full-ownership units.

Six of the original 19 fractional units will be retained in the fractional pool. The remaining 12 units will be turned into 12 residences, eight new hotel rooms and 18 lock-off units.

Of the new condo units, one was finished in 2018. Only eight are still available for sale. Three of those units are sold “as you see them,” meaning they still have the fittings and furnishings that came with the fractional-fee units. The remaining five will be done with designer renovations.

Prices range from $4.5 million to $16.9 million.

Custom touches for owners

Dana Dennis Gumber, of Slifer Smith & Frampton Real Estate, is the listing broker for the new units. Gumber said the current fractional units all have the same fittings and furnishings. Buyers of the whole-ownership units will be able to add their own touches.

Owners of the whole-ownership units will also be able to put their units into the Four Seasons’ international rental program.

That’s a lot of outreach to potential renters, Gumber said.

Extell Vice President of Development Kurt Krieg said the sales of the new residences will help finance the rest of the changes at the property.

Those changes are going to be extensive, Krieg said, fitting with the Four Seasons brand.

Upgrades to restaurants

AvroKo, a design company with offices in New York, San Francisco, London and Bangkok, has worked at Union Station in Denver. That firm will do the work on the Flame and The Remedy Bar restaurants.

At The Remedy Bar, a kitchen will be installed at the bar level. Food currently comes from the Flame kitchen, two floors below the bar.

Renovations at Flame will include a new menu, as well as chefs tables and a closed, private room. Flame will also enclose some current outdoor space.

Krieg said the $40 million project will also include work to the hotel’s conference and banquet facilities. That work will include new colors and finishes in the meeting rooms.

The idea, Kreig said, is to get the work done with minimal disruptions to guests, employees and the rest of the town. And, he added, the improvements will “meet or exceed” the Four Seasons’ promises to those same groups.

“We’re excited and proud of this project,” Krieg said. “It’s been a well-received project.”

Vail Daily business editor Scott Miller can be reached at smiller@vaildaily.com and 970-748-2930.

Try new noodles at Udon Noodle House in Vail

Editor’s note: this story is reprinted from EAT Magazine, featuring the best restaurants in the Vail Valley. EAT is available on magazine racks and in hotel lobbies for free.

At Vail’s newest restaurant, slurping is not only acceptable, it’s highly encouraged.

Udon Noodle House, located in the West Vail Mall, opened its doors in late December 2018, looking to entice diners inside with steaming bowls of savory noodle soup and the mouthwatering smells of meat sizzling on an open flame. Owner Kewei “Kevin” Liu, chef at the neighboring Joy Sushi, says he chose to open a noodle shop due to customer demand and the fact that udon noodles are one of his own favorite meals.

For those unfamiliar with udon, this fat, wheat-flour noodle is often served in a savory, light broth and can be topped with anything from tempura vegetables to beef. Liu’s menu features several choices, but the classic includes fresh fish, seaweed, delicate mushrooms and a special Hokkaido sauce. The broth, a major component in any Asian noodle dishes, is made fresh daily, the product of hours of simmering. The result is a belly-filling, yet healthy combination of umami flavors, saltiness and satisfying textures.

Not a fan of udon? The menu also includes a selection of ramen and stir-fried noodles, as well as Japanese-style grilled seafood, meats (try the signature waygu beef) and vegetables.

It’s the perfect way to comfortably slurp and munch your way through a snowy afternoon or frigid evening.

“Noodles are a casual food, a comfort food,” Liu said. “When people are here, I want them to feel like they’re enjoying a meal in their own home.”

The Fitz offers elevated comfort food

Editor’s note: This story is reprinted from EAT magazine, featuring the best restaurants in the valley. EAT is available on magazine racks and in hotel lobbies for free.

Great chefs know that cuisine is never truly mastered because the paradigm of dining is ever-evolving. There is always something new to learn in the kitchen — a new technique to try or a fun flavor to include. This refreshing revelation gives these talented and creative chefs like Ken Butler a clean plate of possibility for every new meal, every new season. As Executive Chef at The Fitz Bar & Restaurant, Butler continues to create comfort food in an elevated way. A dining experience at The Fitz can range from a festive apres ski with friends to a couple’s more intimate date night. Guests will quickly realize that this classic Vail establishment has a fine way of honoring ski-town tradition while keeping the eats, drinks and atmosphere modern and lively. Located right across from Vail Mountain at Golden Peak, The Fitz is inside Manor Vail Lodge and has proved a welcoming destination for decades. Come in after a day of skiing and warm up by the fire with a cocktail like the Prosecco Refashioned, made with peach bitters, muddled cherry, blackberry and orange, topped playfully with bubbly wine. Butler develops his dishes the same way he creates a menu: combinations that focus on quality ingredients, balanced flavors and dynamic textures. It’s the single dimension of one element — like the raw asparagus he uses in an asparagus salad — that can be combined with another layer, then another and another, to create the perfect dish. That salad gets its depth from the citrus in the dressing, salt in the prosciutto and crunch of the asparagus. All Butler’s dishes come together this way; food that rises above just being consumed and into the relevance of table conversation. “We keep it simple,” he says, “often including just four or five ingredients to allow the food to speak for itself.” You won’t go wrong ordering from Butler’s menu, from lighter choices like roasted cauliflower or a diced ahi poke salad to more robust main dishes of roasted duck breast, rack of lamb and braised beef cheeks. And for that last dose of comfort, the s’mores cheesecake from Pastry Chef Justin Heredia is a whipped delight, complete with a brulee of marshmallow cream.