I got a late start on the month of May and needed to really push myself to conquer this challenge. Fortunately, I like to ride and I've got a surprising number of friends willing to support me in this endeavor.
Herewith, I present the requisite eight rides.
MAY 15, 2015, Ride #1
Ride: Collingwood, TN, to Nashville, TN, 97 miles.
Brew Location: Jonathan's Grille, Nashville/Bellevue, TN
The ride itself was also a randonneur permanent, owned by Michelle Williams of Crooked Letter Cycling. On the previous day, I rode a 222k permanent also owned by said same Michelle. As expected, that made this ride even more painful. However, the Natchez Trace Parkway is a gorgeous road. A week-long trek of 470 miles ended at this sports bar in Nashville, Tennessee.
NOTE: I expect special consideration for the greatest distance between brewvet rides.
Ride: Pleasanton, CA, over Palomares to Pleasanton, CA, 31 miles.
Brew Location: The Hop Yard American Alehouse and Grill, Pleasanton, CA
The ride was a familiar one for me, full of climbing and descending. Having ridden 470 miles this week, I foolishly sought the next milestone, 500 miles, as the goal for the week ending on this particular Sunday. To be safe, a little detour to gain an extra mile was in order, which took me by another familiar place - affectionately called "the Hop".
Ride: Pleasanton, CA, train station to Raley's and then home, 1.7 miles.
Brew Location: home, purchase beer from Raley's, both in Pleasanton, CA
Hangar 24 started next to the airport in Redlands, CA. Ben Cook started Hangar 24 after completing the Master Brewer Program at UC Davis. This porter is intended for pairing with full-bodied food, which I read after the fact. The 22 oz bottle gave me the opportunity to have two full glasses. The first didn't sit right with me. It was full of flavor but had an unpleasant aftertaste, dry, acidic. But the second glass was smoother, richer and a soft, slightly chocolaty finish (in that way I've come to expect with chocolate beer - but not quite like chocolate). At 8%, 22 ounces was plenty for me. But overall, I felt it was a good choice - even if it was an uneducated, spontaneous decision in a grocery store.
This ride was purely tactical. The Altamont Commuter Express serves as my commute occasionally, and my bike serves to connect work and home to the train stations. On the way home, I stopped by the store to grab a brew that I'd never tasted before.
Ride: Pleasanton, CA, over Palomares to San Ramon, CA, 44 miles.
Brew Location: The Hop Yard American Alehouse and Grill, San Ramon, CA (their second location)
The Russian River Brewing Company is up in Santa Rosa, about two hours from here in wine country. The description of the porter on their website says "Full-bodied, dry, clove spice, chocolate and roasted malts. Tasty on a breezy Autumn day!" Even though it's May in California, it was rather like a breezy autumn day today. And honestly, I didn't know it was yet another chocolate beer. But who's complaining?
I was fresh off the bike after two hours, so the first sip was awesome! I had a black bean burger with fries for lunch and it went very well with this porter. It was very full and smooth with barely any aftertaste. It may have been my level of thirst or the burger, but it didn't seem bitter at all. The beer was full and soon enough, so was I.
The ride was cool and damp and never really warmed up until after lunch. The original plan was to climb Palomares, then swing through Castro Valley and climb Norris Canyon which would end up near "the Hop" in San Ramon. But we opted to skip Norris and take Dublin Canyon instead and then take the relatively flat San Ramon Valley Boulevard up to lunch. The ride home was as easy as it gets (Iron Horse Trail) and we were happy to have the sun poke out.
Ride: Pleasanton, CA, to Livermore, CA, 36 miles.
Brew Location: BJ's Restaurant and Brewhouse, Dublin, CA
BJ's was not the original destination as this ride came together. There are three breweries in Livermore but they all open at noon. We had picked at 9am start time and it certainly doesn't take three hours to get to any of them. BJ's opened at 10am, and had the added incentive of being a restaurant with big screen TVs instead of just tasting rooms. As we rode towards the increasingly warm sun, a struggle emerged between the ambitious riders and the social riders. A truce was reached with regroupings at predictable locations. The next conflict occurred because of the rerouting: we needed directions. Actually, a leader. Well, we had a leader (usually me) without directions, and someone with directions hovering near the back. Traffic was patient with us as we made course corrections. Of the nine that started, two diverted home leaving seven at the table ordering a variety of beers - photographic evidence notwithstanding. No riders had much ambition for the rest of the ride.
Ride: Milpitas, CA, to Pleasanton, CA, 30 miles.
Brew Location: Main Street Brewery, Pleasanton, CA
Ride: My house in Pleasanton, CA, to New Leaf Community Markets and back, 3 miles.
Brew Location: Heretic Brewing, Pittsburg, CA
The label says this was the very first beer he entered in competition (3rd). After feedback, tastings and improvements, he took Best in Show. Jamil Zainasheff (aren't you glad he called his brewery Heretic?) calls it "desert in a glass". That's what I wanted.
The ride itself was not planned. I needed two more brewvet rides in three days so Saturday and Sunday seemed okay. But I have a higher priority engagement on Sunday, and so I hatched this quick plan. My wife said "go". I had already ridden and changed into civies, so I kitted back up and took my Soma single-speed (Gates belt drive) off the rack. Rather than take the long way and avoid the big hills, I just powered over them. According to Strava, I climbed 12% going there and 19% coming back, however briefly, in the 3-mile out-and-back. That's enough to make you crave chocolate.
MAY 30, 2015, Ride #8
Ride: Pleasanton, CA, to Hayward, CA, 32 miles.
Brew Location: Buffalo Bill's Brewery, Hayward, CA
If I believe Wikipedia, a "brewpub" is a abbreviation of brewery and public place. I never new "pub" meant "public place." Such combinations were not legal in the United States until about 1980.
The first five brewpubs in the U.S. were:
- Yakima Brewing & Malting, Yakima, WA (late 1982)
- Mendocino Brewing Co., Hopland, CA (Aug. 1983)
- Buffalo Bill's Brewery, Hayward, CA (Sept. 1984)
- Manhattan Brewing Co., New York, NY (late 1984)
- Triple Rock Brewery & Alehouse, Berekeley, CA (Mar. 1986)