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Ski In, Eat Out at Oxbow’s New Beer Garden

Winter trails lead to hot pizza and cold beer at the brewing company’s outpost in Oxford.

I recently visited Oxbow Beer Garden on a snowy evening. Outside, several pairs of cross-country skis leaned against a wall like tipsy patrons, all askew of each other. Inside the 200-year-old post-and-beam barn, the skis’ owners were warming up and ordering beers. I’d also just spent the last few daylight hours skiing, and the wood fire burning in the pizza oven made for a welcome sight — as did the row of 18 tap handles behind the bar. I shed my jacket, ordered a bowl of chicken-and-rice soup and a smoked lager, and settled in for the evening.

Oxbow Beer Garden

Two years ago, Oxbow Brewing Company purchased the rural property in Oxford that for a quarter century was home to Carter’s X-C Ski Center and Carter’s Farm Market. Since opening the beer garden last spring, Oxbow has maintained both traditions, growing tomatoes, herbs, kale, squash, and other produce for the kitchen and keeping the ski trails open to the public.

The restaurant is the company’s third outpost — its Newcastle brewery opened in 2011, its Portland barrel room in 2014. The old barn required major renovation — including picking the whole thing up, moving it, pouring a new foundation, and setting it back. Now, much of the original woodwork is exposed, the floor is polished-concrete, and slate-blue subway tiles accent the space behind the bar. In warmer months, a new deck has German-style beer-garden tables, and the field beyond has picnic tables, lawn games, and a fire pit.

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