The Mtbr Best Beer Guide

Buyer's Guides

Beer is one of the common threads that unites many of us mountain bikers. And like mountain biking, beer is experiencing an explosion in the supply and creativity of high quality product. There are now more craft brewers (2500+) in the US than in any point in our history. Part of the good news is many of these brewers do a lot for the local communities and support mountain bike organizations and events.

But how does one navigate through the roof-high racks of many beer shops? We have a few words of advice and we’ve recruited a couple experts to help guide you through your journey.

What’s your favorite beer and where do you live? What beer companies are active in your cycling community? Let us know in the comments below or join the discussion on the Mtbr Beer Forum!

If you want to jump right in our Best Lists:

Josh Martino’s Top 5 Beers for the Mountain Biker
Josh Martino’s Top 5 Beers for the Noob
Josh Martino’s Top 5 Beers for the Hardcore Enthusiast Fan (Seasonal Beers, No One-Offs)
Josh Martino’s Top 5 Beers for the Hophead
Francis Cebedo’s Pliny Killer IPA Guide
Peter Tsang’s Beer Guide


Understand beer styles and discover the styles that you prefer.

Find your Top 5 beers. Having a preference will allow you to seek advice and get recommendations that fit you.

Beer is cheap so try a lot of it. Try samplers for smaller portions and share with your friends.

Always drink from a glass. Allow the beer to breathe and allow yourself to smell it as you drink it.

Pay attention to ‘gateway’ beers and learn to appreciate them first before going for the rare stuff. For example, learn to like Chimay first before you seek out the Rocheforts and Westvleteren beers of Belgium. And if you don’t like Lagunitas IPA, you’re probably not going to like Pliny or all the famous double and triple IPAs.

Be patient and open minded. It may take a while before you develop the taste for the stronger styles of beer. Keep trying beers and go for lighter beers in warm weather and heavier, darker beers in the winter.

Don’t be a douche. Let’s keep beer fun, approachable and affordable.

Mtbr giving advice to The Lung. Turns out Ned Overend is a hophead.

Josh Martino: Among Mtbr’s hundreds of beer experts, there is one man that stands above the rest. He is the Beer Sensei, as his understanding is deep and wide. He is all-knowing even though he doesn’t know it yet. His knowledge comes from his upbringing in San Diego, CA and Bend, OR and he seems to spend every waking moment tasting, buying, trading, and brewing beer.

Peter Tsang: Peter, like the rest of us are young Padawans (learners). But, he is open-minded, honest and down to earth. He can explain why a beer is good in the simplest terms and he can turn an AA meeting into a tasting session.

Next: Josh Martino’s Top 5 Beers for the Mountain Biker »

Editor’s Note: The next four beer guides – Top 5 Beers for the Mountain Biker, Noob, Hardcore Enthusiast Fan, and Hophead are written by Josh Martino. Among Mtbr’s hundreds of beer experts, there is one man that stands above the rest. He is the Beer Sensei, as his understanding is deep and wide. He is all-knowing even though he doesn’t know it yet. His knowledge comes from his upbringing in San Diego, CA and Bend, OR and he seems to spend every waking moment tasting, buying, trading, and brewing beer.

Mountain bikers tend to appreciate lighter bodied beers with full flavors, and they often reach for brews on the hoppy side. Below are some options that pair well with a long day in the saddle.

New Belgium Shift

A hoppy lager with a clean taste and a light body featuring fruity, citrusy hops at 5% ABV. New Belgium Shift is brewed in Fort Collins, CO and comes in 16-ounce cans which are easily packable, so you can take your Shift with you into the backcountry without the weight penalty of glass bottles.

Ballast Point Sculpin

Another beer recently available in 12 oz. cans, Ballast Point Sculpin is a big, bold American IPA weighing in at 7% ABV. It’s brewed in San Diego, CA and features strong flavors of citrus and tropical fruit from the hops and a bright, bitter finish characteristic of San Diego IPAs.

Brooklyn Summer Ale

A light bodied English pale ale for those who want a clean taste without a bitter profile. Brewed in Brooklyn, NY, Summer Ale features a sweet malt backbone and a touch of dry-hops which impart a floral, fruity aroma. It’s 5% ABV and also comes in 12 oz. cans.

Revolution Eugene

An American porter available in 12 oz. cans, Eugene is brewed by Revolution brewing in Chicago, IL. A perfect pair for those colder winter rides, Eugene clocks in at 6.8% and is a rich, robust porter showcasing toasted grain, chocolate malt and caramel flavors.

Deschutes Chainbreaker

A hybrid concoction straddling a Belgian Witbier and an IPA, Deschutes Chainbreaker is brewed in Bend, OR. It’s also the only non-canned beer on this list. It showcases a crisp taste of orange, grapefruit, coriander and piney hops at 5.6% ABV which won’t knock you out, and makes for great post-ride refreshment.

Next: Josh Martino’s Top 5 Beers for the Noob »
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About the author: Francis Cebedo

The founder of mtbr and roadbikereview, Francis Cebedo believes that every cyclist has a lot to teach and a lot to learn. "Our websites are communal hubs for sharing cycling experiences, trading adventure stories, and passing along product information and opinions." Francis' favorite bike is the last bike he rode, whether it's a dirt jumper, singlespeed, trail bike, lugged commuter or ultralight carbon road steed. Indeed, Francis loves cycling in all its forms and is happiest when infecting others with that same passion. Francis also believes that IPA will save America.

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  • Mike says:

    I like the Stone Enjoy by and the Ninkasi Tricera Hop. Cute pick of all the boys in the tub.

  • HEMIjer says:

    Devils Backbone brewery in VA is a great bike supporter and has an eight point IPA worth trying ood stuff. Always can go to the old reliable which you have to keep stocked in the garage for post ride clean up, Sierra Nevada Torpedo.

  • JB says:

    The AA comment in one of the photo captions is probably wrong. That said, I’m not offended.

  • klurejr says:

    Why is this Josh’s list and the about the author is says Francois???

    • Mtbr says:


      Francis is the one who the entire compilation article is “published by” so it automatically shows his bio at the bottom on every page. There’s an “Editor’s Note” at the beginning of Josh’s guide and an intro on the first page about who our other beer reviewers are for this article. This article has guides written by Francis, Josh and Peter. Sorry for the confusion!

  • Kevin Woodward says:

    Hop Venom FTW! Nice to see 831 on the radar, too.

  • Thomas says:

    I’m from belgium if you like belgian beer you should most def try
    My top 5
    - Grimbergen (Optimo Bruno)
    - Sint Bernardus (abt 12)
    - Kasteelbier (tripple)
    - Westmalle (tripple)
    - Samaranth Urtel

    • Alex says:

      I loved Grimbergen Optimo Bruno when I had it in Amsterdam, but sadly I don’t think it makes it over to the States.

      I would add to that list Chimay White and Tripel Karmeliet – my top 3 Tripels along with Westmalle – and La Trappe Quad.

  • Bearcat Sandor says:

    For those of us who must go gluten-free because of celiac disease or other reasons, i heartily recommend Green’s “Endeavor” beer. They don’t replace the hops with rice flour or some other thing they just filter the hell out of it so it’s safe for us. It’s picey but it tastes like a Guinness and enables me to enjoy a beer once in a while. They also have a blond variety too. Check ‘em out:

  • roger says:

    You don’t know jack about beers! Lagunitas is undrikable, Pliny is over rated! Good thing not everyone has your taste buds!

  • DMFT says:

    What!!?? No mention (until now) of…………..
    Lost Coast – Indica IPA
    Green Flash Brewing – Green Bullet or Palate Wrecker
    Deschutes – Hop Henge Experimental IPA
    Drakes – Hopocalypse or Aromacoma

    Or possibly the most underated brewery & true OG’s
    Mendocino Brewing Co. – Talon

    Ok. The list is now more-complete. Rant-Over!

    Happy Holiday’s Ya’ll!!

  • M. Meteer says:

    I live and ride in South Korea. I find that the best beers are those that you brew yourself! My ‘brew club’ of five brew 5 gallons per week of tastie ales, porters, and stouts.

  • Wilks says:

    I just stumbled on this I think DHF 90 and Southern Tier 2X IPA’s are much better than Sculpin. Not sure why there are so many sculpin fans.

  • Crotchety Old Man says:

    Very nice list put together. Thanks! Now I have some new ones to hunt down. I feign at any mention of any Ninkasi beers. Not a fan one bit. But I agree with lots here about La Cumbre. I wish we got that as well as Santa Fe’s Happy Camper IPA in the Northwet.

    By this point in time Pliny has run its course. It’s overpriced and been overtaken. I’ll take Hop Venom any day rather than pay for the aura of Pliny. Not saying it sucks. There’s just stiff competition in the IIPA realm. That Deschutes Fresh Squeezed is really really tasty as well.

  • J. Green says:

    Ithaca Brewing’s Flower Power, Ithaca, N.Y. Always load up on the way to Windham.

  • Sheryl says:

    oskar Blues Mama’s Little Yella Pils with a Ten Fidy topper…

  • Madpixl says:

    Even the Heady Topper boys were said they were thrilled with Ghandi Bot at a race in Vt this summer… But you have to know someone to even get it ouside the brewery… so im not surpised you overlooked it.

  • ndinh says:

    ‘Don’t be a douche’ is right. There are way too many Mr. opinionated I know the best beer-beer geek everywhere I go nowadays. There are tons of great beers and just because you don’t like a certain beer or style doesn’t make it ‘over rated or bad’…i.e. Roger from above. Grow up buddy and keep an open mind and keep it fun.

  • Pope says:

    Come on down to Oklahoma and try some Coop Ale. Several different brews–Native Amber, Horny Toad, Spare Rib, DNR…they’re all good!

  • Shawn says:

    You mean, no Bud? Haha! The Goose Isalnd Bourbon Stout is the best stuff made!

  • Jon says:

    I’m from Philippines, the best beer in the country is San Mig Light

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