Our Favorite Post-Ride Beers of the Year

Three thirsty mountain bikers share their favorite beers of the year. Cheers!
File photo by Jeff Barber.

This article is explicitly for mountain bikers who enjoy frothy fermented snacks in all forms. It’s no secret that many of us enjoy a relaxing drink, especially after a crushing ride in the summer sun. Whether you prefer a saison made with wild yeast in mid-July, a heavy oatmeal stout after pedaling in fresh snow, or you only drink Belgian beer from a particular brewer, this one’s for you. If you have a favorite, tell us about it in a comments section below.

Kulshan Brewing Co. runs a set of taps alongside the dirt jumps in downtown Bellingham.

Gerow’s 2021 sudsy winner

I’ll give you one guess: it’s not an Italian beer. I recently relocated to Bellingham, Washington, and when folks ask me why I chose B-ham the reply is dead simple: hundreds of miles of purpose-built singletrack that I can ride year-round from my doorstep, the house-wide-trees, and the delicious beer and coffee — in that order. I’m much more of a trail snob than a beer snob, and my favorite Bellingham beer thus far will reflect that fact. I’m really enjoying the Cedar Dust IPA by Boundary Bay Brewing Co. I like a good bitter hop flavor, and I love that it’s named after a sweet cedar-lined connector trail on nearby Galbraith mountain. I ride it nearly every weekday on my way to the top of SST or further up to the towers.

I could stop there, but the beer has some unique character that’s worth mentioning. I first tasted it in a can, and I definitely prefer it that way. The floral notes and crisp bite are brighter in the can and taste somewhat muted from the tap. I shared a glass of it with my dad who was drinking Northwest Original IPA from the same brewer, and he claimed he couldn’t tell the difference. I noticed a more malty flavor in the Northwest Original, and a more forceful push of hops letting you know what part of the country you’re drinking in. I reckon that’s why it received the “Original” moniker.

Jeff Barber’s best brew before ’22

I have a healthy obsession with trying new beers, the more local and unusual the better. This year I drank a Duff beer from Moe’s Tavern at Universal Studios in Florida, quaffed a Tahoe Pale ale that hitched a ride from California in a bike box, and snatched up a limited release dedicated to one of my favorite albums from one of my favorite bands, produced by the brewery I can walk to from my house. According to my meticulous tracking via the Untappd app, I tried more than 60 new beers in 2021. It was a big year, for me anyway.

Sometimes a beer hits all the right notes, and for me this year it was Burial’s End of Plagues. The smallish Asheville, North Carolina brewery is known for inventive and heady brews, and I decided to pick up a can at Bryson City Outdoors while on vacation in western North Carolina. This is a hoppy one that’s not overly bitter, and it delivers a reasonable 7.2% ABV for post-ride celebrations. The possum on the can reminds me of local night rides with friends where we routinely encounter the nasty, hissing boogers on the regular. Perhaps most of all, I can certainly toast to the notion of an end to the plague we were all forced to endure in 2021. Cheers to more beers in 2022, and an End of Plagues both physical and emotional.

Matt Miller’s post-ride bevvies

If I had to pick one favorite post-ride drink it would be a margarita. At the end of the week’s work, or a long ride, nothing hits quite like a festive, lime-powered, cocktail. But, coolers are much more convenient to bring to the trail than blenders.

For whatever reason, mountain bikers like IPAs, by and large. I’m not sure why, but it might have something to do with the higher alcohol content more so than the taste (kidding 🙂 ).

Not pictured: Profuse Juice. 10 Barrel’s Denver location ran out ahead of our stop.

10 Barrel Brewing’s Profuse Juice reels that wild IPA beast back in to a reasonable punch. The hazy IPA is mellower than most IPAs at only 45 IBUs and tastes and feels more juicy and drinkable than stiffer IPAs.

Down East Cider also makes some of the best (IMO) ciders for after a ride. Down East’s unfiltered ciders are sweet and refreshing and feel like a beer on the tongue.