I’ve been a professional mountain bike racer for 6 years and I find great amusement when someone sees me raise a pint of ice cold microbrew goodness. It’s classic – I see their mouth agape, eyes wide and hear an incredulous tone. “WHAT?! You’re a pro rider…and you are DRINKING?!”
Something that lot of us struggle with is balance. We all love riding our bikes, but sometimes we end up taking it far too serious, or maybe not serious enough. It depends on which side of the spectrum you’re on. Personally? I do know that drinking beer can add a few pounds to drag uphill or it can inhibit liver glycogen absorption that could slow muscle recovery.
Personally, I love a wonderfully crafted microbrew and no amount of racing glory can take away from that. I do my best to strike a balance with being a “pro” and having fun. Some argue that I don’t take it serious enough. Mountain bikers as a rowdy crew love 2 things: great singletrack and ice cold beer. I usually have one beer, but I admit that sometimes it stretches to 2 or 3 when my inner greedy little beer monster gets the better of me. Most people love to down a frosty beer at the trailhead parking lot, but I prefer it after I’ve had some real food and a shower. Having a beer a little later after a ride will also lessen the negative effects of the booze. If it’s the off-season, I’ll take all of the above; who doesn’t love a good ‘ol fashion shower beer?
Here at Mtbr, we are a bit obsessed with beer.
Here are my top 5 favorite summer beers. I’m a hophead, but I threw in a little bit of variety since not everyone is into that wonderfully bitter and flavorful little beery. What are yours? Give me something new to try!
1. Upslope Brewing Belgian Pale Ale
One of my New Year’s Resolution a couple years ago was to branch out and drink something other than IPAs or Porters. I discovered sours and Belgians. The Upslope Belgian Pale Ale is slightly fruity from the Belgian yeast, but not overpowering. The earthy hops balances out the sweet overtones. It’s refreshing and sessionable, but look out! 7.50% ABV!
2. Great Divide Hercules Double IPA
Quite the opposite from a Belgian. Hercules is big, silky, and malty. Most DIPAs aren’t as bitter as your traditional IPA because more malt needs to be added to balance out the double hops. If you like a huge hop flavor, this is not your beer, but I like it as something different to enjoy. The hops lingers at the finish so you don’t forget. I like to split a bomber because it clocks in at a raucous 10.0% ABV.
3. Deschutes Chainbreaker White IPA
The Chainbreaker is a great refresher. I don’t normally reach for wheat beers. What makes an IPA a “white” is the added wheat. Think coriander and orange with a light earthy hop flavor. This is also a sessionable beer, and great at the trailhead. I find that some IPAs are too abrasive when I’m hot, sweaty, and cracked post-ride. This one has good balance and has more of a Belgian character than IPA. ABV 5.6%.
4. Kasteel Rouge Brouwerij Van Honsebrouck N.V.
Kasteel Rouge is the wild card in this mix. I don’t like more than one every so often, but I like the sour cherry. The cherry dominates everything and it almost tastes like cherry coke. Post ride, I love a cold coke so why not make it a Belgian adult cherry coke? Definitely an interesting one and drastically different from all others on this list. ABV 8.0%.
5. Dogfish Head Midas Touch
Think honey, grapes, and refreshing. I actually recommend taking a couple and aging it for a year. The honey flavor is much more pronounced after the beer has had a year to sit around. It’s easy to drink post ride and has pretty low carbonation. Drink this one before you pick up an IPA. An IPA would taint your taster. if you had it before you had this one and it’d be hard to pick out the more subtle herbal flavors. ABV 9.0%.
6. Odell Brewing Myrcenary Double IPA
Get it while it’s cold. This lovely treat comes in a 4 pack. Pine and citrus will dazzle your senses. This is one I don’t want to share. There’s a good balance of malt and hops. It’s more hoppy than the Hercules, and a little bit more refreshing. ABV 9.3%.
After spouting off a few beers I regularly think about, it’s apparent I’m a strong ale girl. What can I do, ehhh?