Groupon GUIDE TO CHICAGO

Ski Slopes and Craft Brews

BY: KATIE CORTESE | 1.14.2014 |

Ski Slopes and Craft BrewsA midwestern craft beer never tastes better than right after you’ve skied down a midwestern mountain hill. You can achieve that perfect pairing with any of these four weekend trips that are less than a five-hour drive from the city.

1. Bell’s Brewery (255 E. Kalamazoo Ave., Kalamazoo, MI) & Timber Ridge Ski Resort (7500 23 1/2 St., Goble, MI)

Distance from Chicago to the brewery: 148 miles, or about 2 hours and 30 minutes

The brews: Bell’s Eccentric Café, located next to the original Bell’s Brewery, has about 20 different beers on tap. It doesn’t offer growlers to go, but visitors can buy beer at Bell’s General Store next door. Free tours are on Saturdays and Sundays and last 30–50 minutes.

Fun fact: Bell’s is the oldest craft brewer east of Colorado.

Distance from the brewery to the ski area: About 20 minutes

The slopes: Timber Ridge has 17 trails accessible by a mix of quad, triple, and double chairlifts and several surface lifts. The terrain is mostly targeted at intermediate skiers, with 10% expert and 20% novice slopes. Lift tickets are $16–$38 per day.

Fun fact: Timber Ridge has a racing program for skiers aged 5 or older—including senior citizens.


2. Founders Brewing Co. (235 Grandville Ave. SW, Grand Rapids, MI) & Cannonsburg Ski & Ride Area (6800 Cannonsburg Rd., Belmont, MI)

Distance from Chicago to the brewery: 177 miles, or about 2 hours and 40 minutes

The brews: The taproom has about 20 different beers on tap, with strengths ranging from 4.3% to 12.6%. It also sells growlers to take home and fills any clean growlers guests bring in. Tours are on Saturdays and Tuesdays and last 30–50 minutes. A $10 fee includes a Founders logo pint glass.

Fun fact: The award-winning brewery hosts live music acts in the taproom three times a week.

Distance from the brewery to the ski area: About 20 minutes

The slopes: Cannonsburg’s 10 lifts grant guests access to 20 beginner, intermediate, and expert runs. Night skiing is available Monday–Saturday. Lift tickets are $15–$35 per day.

Fun fact: TransWorld Snowboarding magazine named Cannonsburg’s network of seven different terrain parks as one of the top three in the Midwest.


3. Port Huron Brewing Company (850 Business Park Rd., Wisconsin Dells, WI) & Cascade Mountain (W10441 Cascade Mountain Rd., Portage, WI)

Distance from Chicago to the brewery: 194 miles, or about 3 hours and 15 minutes

The brews: The Engine House Tap Room, open Friday and Saturday, has four beers on tap year-round. It also offers sampler flights, pints of beer, and take-home growlers. Port Huron doesn’t offer tours at this time.

Fun fact: The tap room shares windows with the brewery floor, so guests can watch brewers at work.

Distance from the brewery to the ski area: About 25 minutes

The slopes: Cascade Mountain has 37 trails accessible by 10 lifts. The terrain is 38% beginner, 24% intermediate, and 38% advanced. Night skiing is available, and the snow-tube park has seven tube lanes. Lift tickets are $25–$51; snow tubing is $10–$22.

Fun fact: Saturday and Sunday at Cascade Mountain are National Standard Race days. Registered skiers compete against other racers across the country, regardless of where they are and when they take off down the mountain.


4. Pearl Street Brewery (1401 St. Andrews St., La Crosse, WI) & Mt. La Crosse (N5549 Old Town Hall Rd., Stoddard, WI)

Distance from Chicago to the brewery: 281 miles, or about 4 hours and 30 minutes

The brews: The tasting room has eight beers on tap and offers pints of beers and take-home six-packs and growlers. Tours are on Saturday from noon to 5 p.m.

Fun fact: The tasting room hosts free live musical acts every Friday.

Distance from the brewery to the ski area: About 15 minutes

The slopes: Mt. La Crosse’s 18 beginner, intermediate, advanced, and expert slopes and trails are accessible by three double chairlifts and one rope tow. The resort also has a terrain park and offers night skiing. Lift tickets are $24–$49 per day.

Fun fact: Saturday nights are family nights, with discounted rentals and lift tickets, free group lessons, and a pizza dinner right on the slopes.

Photo credit: Katie Cortese, Groupon