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101 Beer Experiences: Venture out

Whether you're into hiking, rock climbing or just lazily floating down a river, these spots let you incorporate beer into your outdoor adventure.
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Photo of Assault on the Carolinas bike race by Eddie Clark

Photo of Assault on the Carolinas bike race by Eddie Clark

Beer drinking has a peculiar correlation with outdoorsy-ness, whether that’s on a bike, on foot, or on a river raft. Reward yourself after a long day in the great outdoors with these beer-centric adventures:

If you’re a serious about two wheels, plan the bike and beer adventure of a lifetime: Book a stay in 5-square-mile Brevard, North Carolina, a simple ride away from the Oskar Blues Brewery Tasty Weasel Taproom. The taproom puts you at the gates of the Pisgah National Forest, with some of the most intense and scenic mountain biking in the country; waterfalls and rhododendron whiz by as you traverse the rocky, rooty singletrack. Challenge it on your own, or sign up for the high-level Pisgah Stage Race (April 11-16), a five-day, 120-mile killer race through the forest. If road biking’s your thing, try the Assault on the Carolinas 40K, 60K or 100K race on April 9.

If you’re among this year’s RAGBRAI cyclists, there are two things you need during the 460-plus-mile trek across Iowa come July: beer and encouragement. Share both at the Iowa Craft Beer Tents, organized by Backpocket Brewing, set up once or twice along each day’s route.

To get some fresh air outside of San Diego, TapHunter co-founder Jeff Gordon recommends an unpaved trail hike up Cuyamaca Peak, a 45-minute drive from the city. Climb 1,700 feet for a view of southern California, Mexico and the Pacific Ocean, then reward yourself with a stop at URBN St. Brewing Co. in El Cajon for a sip of the GABF medal-winning saison on the way back to the city.

Check off mountain biking, river rafting and hiking in one day—with a beer in between each—at Bend, Oregon’s Crux Fermentation Project. Start with a bike down Mount Bachelor, then take a 30-minute drive to the brewery for the first beer of the day. Feeling refreshed, you’re just a stone’s throw from the Deschutes River, which offers rafting, kayaking, fishing and stand-up paddleboarding. Go back for another beer, then hike nearby Pilot Butte before kicking up your feet for a view of the sunset over the Three Sisters peaks from Crux’s patio. You earned it.

“Surfing offers a unique way for humankind to interact with the ocean and the earth’s elements. At its best, it’s incredibly peaceful and an almost meditative exercise. Lulls in the swell allow the mind to wander and contemplate one’s challenges, this mortal coil or even the next beer we are going to enjoy. Someone who chooses to commune with the waves is exactly the kind of person who enjoys an intelligent beverage.” —Ryan Ackerman, avid surfer and co-founder of the La Perra Hermosa Coastal Brewery in Mal Pais, Costa Rica. Drink a cerveza on a Costa Rican beach and you’ll get what he’s saying. The fruity, bitter red ale Segua from Costa Rica’s Craft Brewing Co. is available year-round, but watch for draft-only seasonal offerings like Trigo con Cas, a lightly acidic and absurdly refreshing wheat beer made with cas, a sour guava popular in Costa Rica.

In the summer, Asheville, North Carolina, locals load their coolers full of beer, grab tubes and float lazily down the French Broad River. Rent tubes from Zen Tubing; an extra $5 gets you an inflatable Cooler Carrier to haul your cans (perhaps full of Burial Shadowclock Pilsner). If you launch from the midtown Asheville location, you’ll drift past New Belgium’s new N.C. outpost and The Wedge Brewing Co.

The 7.5-mile Davy Brown Trail on Figueroa Mountain in Southern California’s Los Padres National Forest takes you through canyons and alongside a babbling creek; your resting spot should include Figueroa Mountain Brewing Co.’s Hoppy Poppy IPA, newly available in hike-friendly cans.

If you’re one of the nearly 1,500 annual hikers with the cajones to take on the 2,168.1-mile Appalachian Trail, cheers to you. You deserve a beer along the way, and Virginia’s Devils Backbone Basecamp Brewpub & Meadows staff thinks so, too. Once you arrive at Reeds Gap, call ’em up and they’ll send a shuttle to whisk you and your weary legs to the brewery, where you can stretch out and refresh with their GABF gold medal-winning Vienna Lager.

Red River Gorge is just east of Lexington, Kentucky, near Slade and Natural Bridge State Resort Park. I’ve been going there to rock climb since 1996, taking a lot of my own beer out there. It’s probably the best sport-climbing area in America for the size and for the scope of how many routes there are. I sometimes do beer dinners afterwards with  Tom Behr; he and his family own Pazzo’s, The Beer Trappe and The Village Idiot, about 45 minutes away in Lexington.” —Adam Avery, president/brewmaster, Avery Brewing Co.; Boulder, Colorado


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