The association between beer and mountain biking is no secret. It has a long, loving relationship similar to that of beer and skiing. This is a bond that is based on risk and reward. You’ve left it out on the line by ripping singletrack all day long, and now your prize is that sudsy libation of choice, shared with friends right out of the trunk of your car. The connection between beers and mountain biking may be evident, but it is the camaraderie shared post ride that brings the whole experience all together. Summer is here, so it’s as good a time as any to get out and ride the trails and share some beers with friends. To be sure you’ve got the right post ride brews in your cooler, here’s a list of bike themed beers that will have you pedaling for more.
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Fat Tire Ale
Fat Tire Ale was inspired by the co-founder's bike trip across the Belgian countryside. It was a trip that gave rise to a brewery and encouraged thousands of others to do the same. That alone is enough to make Fat Tire the "Godfather" of bike themed beers, but it also happens to taste pretty darn good too. It's sweet, with a toasted, biscuit flavor and a perfect balance of malt and hops that will have you craving more than just one at the end of your ride.
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Squatters Full Suspension
The name says it all. This beer is as smooth as the ride a full suspension bike gives you as you rip down the trail making the bumps feel like they are non-existent. Full Suspension is an unfiltered, dry hopped beer with a slightly orange flavor that balances well the light biscuit taste created by the malts. It is a two-time Great American Beer Festival Winner in the bitter category for a reason, and this light, refreshing and tasty beer is the ideal accompaniment to your aggressive mountain bike ride.
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Flying Bison Rusty Chain
Rusty Chain was specifically brewed to support the bike culture in Buffalo, NY. You would bite it in a bad way if your bike had a rusty chain, but this beer that bears that same name has a bite that's good. It is bold on flavor, but not enough to put you over your handlebars. A smooth drinking beer thanks to the buttery toasted and caramel malt flavors which are countered by hints of citrus in the middle. "The chain," as they call it, has a mild yet sweet finish, perfect for the post-ride trailhead session.
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Black Rocks Brewery 51 K IPA
Many of the people that work at Black Rocks Brewery are avid riders and even double as employees at the local bike shops. There is also a huge community of riders that spend ample time at Black Rocks, which should come as no surprise since there are many nearby trails that you can ride to and from the brewery itself. With that in mind, their 51K IPA is the quintessential mountain bike beer and a hidden gem in an over saturated world of IPA's. Not overly hoppy, but with citrusy notes of lemon and tangerine that are complemented by a touch of malty goodness. A thoroughly enjoyable post ride brew.
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Salt Creek Brewery Switchback Sally
You may need a beer of this magnitude, especially if you can't handle the jagged switchbacks on the tracks you've been riding all day. Switchback Sally offers up a tangy taste of grapefruit complemented by lighter notes of malt. It is not, however, overly sweet and proved to be very well balanced. This double IPA style makes it a bit higher in alcohol content than some of the other post mountain bike beers but its flavor profile makes it worth the ride.
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Marin Brewing Company White Knuckle
This is a double IPA through and through. White Knuckle packs a big hop punch right up front that lasts throughout, but the flavor is something that the average Joe and hop-head alike can appreciate. Tropical fruits such as pineapple and grapefruit make the hops a bit more subtle, and despite being a double, the alcohol bite is only slightly detectable. Overall, this multi-award-winning beer is as aggressive as the gnarly trails that make your knuckles go white, like the one it is named after on Mount Tam.
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Kern River Brewing Company Just Outstanding
KRBC's flagship beer lives up to its name: "Just Outstanding." It is definitely what you would expect from a West Coast IPA. Huge hop notes throughout with citrus galore that combines with a strong layer of biscuit malt. It's borderline double IPA territory, but falls just short on the ABV front, which is great because you can throw back a few of them after you've ridden down the very trail that carries the same name.
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Lakefront Brewery Fixed Gear
From the dark red amber color to the flavor complexities throughout, this bold beer is as spirited as the fixed gear couriers that inspired its brewing. At first taste, it comes off as a bit hoppy with notes of citrus. This, however, builds into a crescendo of toasted malts and caramel goodness mid palate, while finishing with a bit of a dry citrus bite from the hops. Will all this flavor, this beer has got some grit, so be sure to earn it like the single gear bike couriers of the past.
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Moab Brewery Rocket Bike
Originally named after a bike with a small rocket attached to it, Moab's most critically acclaimed beer is the perfect way to quench your thirst at the end of a long day of rocketing through the woods. Light on the palate with lightly toasted malt flavors up front that run through your mouth and finish with a bit of a bitter, grassy hops taste. Rocket Bike is as easy drinking as they come while not lacking in flavor...no doubt a dangerous combination that could have you ubering it home instead of riding your bike.