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Nathan’s beer and bike journey


Nathan Winters

“This country is full of wonderful people that make up wonderful communities,” says Nathan Winters. “And good beer is a great way for us all to come together.”

If anyone, he should know. Nathan started biking in Belfast, Maine and is meeting the locals across this country one craft beer at a time. So far he’s about 80 days and 1,600 miles into his journey to raise awareness for land and nature conservation.

Right now he’s in Milwaukee, where he’s crashing at our place (after staying with another cycling Tim) on his way to Seattle.

During his brief visit so far, we’ve certainly had our fair share of biking and beers. Ommegang, New Glarus, New Belgium, Bell’s, Capital Brewery and Guinness all come to mind.

So if you live in western Wisconsin, Minnesota, North Dakota, Montana, Idaho or Washington, shoot him an email at nathan@follownathan.org. I’m sure he’d be happy to roll into your town for a beer or three.

What’s your favorite beers that you’ve sampled so far on your trip?

Lucky Kat from Magic Hat in VT, Flower Power from Ithaca Brewing in Ithaca, NY, Burning River from Great Lakes in Cleveland, OH, Oberon from Bell’s Brewery in Kalamazoo, MI, Scurvy IPA from Tyranena Brewing in Lake Mills, WI.

Have you biked hungover?

There has been an occasion or two. You meet good people and when you are leaving the next morning they want to show you a good time on your last night. In Ithaca I was invited to a night of brews and conversation that kept me up til 4 a.m. and one too many. Riding out of Ithaca for 50 miles climbing huge hills during heavy rains and winds was certainly not enjoyable. The good news is that once I arrived in Watkins Glen, I found the Rooster Fish Brewing and enjoyed a cold brew.

What do you make of Milwaukee’s bars and beers so far?

Absolutely phenomenal. What I enjoy most is the craftsmanship that goes into the beer you find here tied into a rich story of history and culture in the Milwaukee area. Not to mention great people that provide a loose and easy going atmosphere.

Tell us about your trip. What are your goals?

One of my biggest goals on this journey is to allow people from all over America and the world to follow, support and interact with me while I embark on this mission to raise support and awareness for land and nature conservation. With the help of Twitter I am able to accomplish these goals. I get to know America, and America gets to know me.

What has been your biggest biking challenges so far?

This might sound cheesy… but one of the biggest challenges is actually getting on the bike and leaving the good people you meet in a tremendous community. A range of sad and anxious emotions tend to overwhelm you as you set off. However, the thrill of what is around the corner is always a great motivation factor. Riding over mountain passes in Vermont during thunderstorms certainly presented challenges as well.

You were impressed with the zero waste initiatives from Great Lakes Brewing Company in Cleveland. What do you think are a few key practices that other breweries could follow from their example?

GLBC operates a delivery truck and a shuttle bus called “The Fatty Wagon” that runs on straight restaurant vegetable oil, all packaging (including the unbleached “eco-carton” case of beer) consists of recycled content, they have a cooling system in the Brewery cooler that brings in cold air during winter months to cool the beer, and much, much more. I have a longer list here.

Since you’re also about sustainable and local food, what’s your favorite beer and food pairings?

A microbrew brewed in the building I am consuming my meal, a veggie panini filled with veggies from a local organic farmer, and some local and fresh cheese.

As you’ve said, you are very nomadic. What place that you’ve lived or visited has the best beer?

Wow… what a tough question to answer. But I am going to have to say Colorado.

Anything else to add? Please follow me on Twitter @follownathan, and buy local!


Tim Cigelske is DRAFT's Beer Runner. (Beer Run•ner [noun]: Someone equally devoted to fine beer appreciation and an active, healthy lifestyle. Ex. "John downed four microbrews at the triathlon finish line. He's a total beer runner.”) Follow Tim on Twitter @TheBeerRunner, and email him at beerrunner [at] draftmag.com.


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