Beer Man

New Belgium will open a branded restaurant and a bar in Snowmass

New Belgium Brewing and Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc. will team up this winter by opening a brewery-themed slopeside après-ski restaurant in Snowmass and a separate bar inside the newly renovated Westin Snowmass Resort.

The New Belgium Ranger Station, which will be located on the Snowmass Village Mall, will serve ten of the Fort Collins brewery's lineup of year-round beers and seasonals, along with menu items that can be paired with the beers. New Belgium has licensed its name and its branding concepts to Starwood -- and will help develop the menu -- but the brewery won't be involved in day-to-day operation of Ranger Station.

"Restaurants are a whole different business," says New Belgium spokesman Bryan Simpson. "We have definitely played around with doing our own food and drink enterprise, but we haven't done it yet. This is as close as we've come to that."

New Belgium doesn't have existing plans to do something similar in other ski towns, cities or resorts, "but this lays the groundwork for that opportunity," Simpson says. "We are not going out of our way to seek that, but we are open to all options."

The craft brewery -- Colorado's largest -- also has agreements with a concessionaire at Denver International Airport, which runs two New Belgium themed operations.

In Snowmass, the Ranger Station will serve a lunch and dinner menu developed by Jami Flatt, who works for the Westin Snowmass Resort.

The bar, meanwhile, will incorporate "retro-hip" New Belgium imagery and serve a broad selection of craft beers, according to the Westin.

The 254-room Westin Snowmass Resort - the former Silvertree Hotel & Conference Center - is getting a multimillion-dollar makeover before the 2012-13 ski season. It is owned by a joint venture between Starwood Capital Group and Wasserman Real Estate.

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Jonathan Shikes is a Denver native who writes about business and beer for Westword.
Contact: Jonathan Shikes