Mountain Tap Brewery, Harvest Ski celebrate skiing-inspired beer for 4th year

Harvest Homegrown, a beer collaboration between Mountain Tap Brewery and Harvest Skis, will debut again Friday. l Rich Tucciarone/Mountain Tap Brewery courtesy photo

Rich Tucciarone and Eric Baker came from different backgrounds and worked in different industries, but the two share three main interests: skiing, beer and the Yampa River.

Baker remembers meeting Tucciarone when Baker was working at Hala GearSpace and Tucciarone, co-owner of Mountain Tap Brewery, would visit the gear store, as it is located just yards away from the brewery.

One night, the two sat together at the brewery and discussed their love for the community and the outdoors, which inspired them to create a beer honoring skiing.

“Our love of skiing, beer and the river kind of brought it all together,” said Baker, owner of Harvest Skis, a grassroots skiing company based in Steamboat Springs.

Four years later, the pair is excited to celebrate the annual Harvest Homegrown, a rye pale ale with locally source ingredients. Mountain Tap Brewery will sell it for the next month in its taproom, and those wanting to take the beer to-go may buy bottles or a growler.

As a rye pale ale, Tucciarone said the beer is “bready” with hints of caramel and rye. Baker often prefers darker beer, and Mountain Tap focuses more on hoppier beer, so Tucciarone said the rye pale ale was a happy medium for the two.

“It’s a good transition beer style as you make your way from the lighter beers into the late summer and fall,” Tucciarone said. “It’s just a little toastier, roastier and conducive to those late fall and early winter evenings.”

Mountain Tap normally hosts a party to debut the beer and kickoff the winter sports season, but the brewery was not able to do that in 2020 due to COVID-19.

To make up for lost time, Mountain Tap is inviting guests to a celebration at the brewery from 3-6 p.m. Friday. Local DJ Rocksteady Teddy will spin his vast vinyl collection of reggae, Jamaican soul and ska to set the mood, and limited edition 22-ounce bottles of Harvest Homegrown will be for sale. Admission is free.

“We’re also hoping it brings in some snow,” Baker said.

Several varieties of grain, including the flavor-forward malted rye, were grown and malted at Proximity Malting in Monte Vista. Hops were grown and processed at High Wire Hops in Paonia and Billy Goat Hop Farm in Montrose. The yeast was propagated at Brewing Science Institute in Woodland Park. The water came directly from the mountains surrounding Steamboat.

“It’s just kind of working together, creating something local that we can celebrate,” Baker said. “I think that we just enjoy it. We enjoy the process, the beer is good and it gets a good response from the patrons that go to Mountain Tap and try it.”

Because the beer is specific to Steamboat, Baker said he and Tucciarone have talked about donating a portion of the proceeds to community nonprofits in the future.

“The possibilities are endless,” Baker said.

The recipe has stayed the same the past four years. Baker said the two have talked about changing it, but the rye pale ale has received positive feedback from community members and represents the culture around skiing and beer well.

“It’s something you can enjoy when you’re skiing powder in the winter, or it’s a little more slushy in the spring,” Baker said. “It’s working, so let’s keep doing it.”

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