Mountainbeering, New England Style

Smuttynose Brewery "Zinneke" in New Hampshire's White Mountains.

Smuttynose Brewing Company “Zinneke” in New Hampshire’s White Mountains.

Finally! The East Coast gets some Mountainbeering love. Our badass friend Rob – an Environmental Educator, a climbing instructor, and a Wilderness First Responder – recounts a recent Mountainbeering experience in New Hampshire’s share of the Appalachians – the frigid White Mountains:

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Two-hundred thirty one miles per hour.  Most cars can’t travel that fast.  It bends the mind to even consider a force, man-made or natural, that contains that much speed and force.  Continue reading

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Heavenly Mountainbeering at Lake Tahoe

View from the deck of Lakeview Lodge at Heavenly Ski Resort.

View from the deck of Lakeview Lodge at Heavenly Ski Resort.

“Hey! You know what’d be fun!? Strapping sticks to our feet and plunging several thousand feet down this mountain!”

Whichever intrepid adventurers first decided to try downhill skiing must have been both stupid and awesome. The first time I ever tried skiing was last year, when my fiance decided that my crash course in skiing needed to escalate from bunny slopes to black diamonds all in one day. I slipped, I tripped, I fell, I flopped, I floundered, and I tumbled my way down the mountain, but I couldn’t have been happier! Today, I’ll gladly fling myself down a mountainside in a controlled fall as long as I have those two sticks and some snow beneath me. Continue reading

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SF Beer Week is almost here!

SF Beer Week 2013!

Another glorious SF Beer Week is quickly descending upon us, and is offering more events than ever. With several hundred events to choose from, it can be a bit overwhelming deciding what to do. However, if you are a true Mountainbeer-er then at least one of the choices should be easy. The 4th Annual SF Beer Week Beer Run!

The run starts at 11am on Sunday, February 10th from C.B. Hannegan’s at 208 Backman Avenue in downtown Los Gatos, CA.

Do you have any exciting plans for Beer Week? Maybe we could turn it into a Mountainbeeing adventure!

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P.S. Fun fact, Luke participated in the first ever SF Beer Week Beer Run, and a picture taken during that event was then used years later to promote a completely unrelated Brew Pub Tournament on Chow.com.

Luke and Emerson after the first ever SF Beer Week Beer Run!

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Mountain Biking in Big Basin Redwoods State Park

16 Mile, Old Court Ale (Dark Pale Ale)

16 Mile, Old Court Ale (Dark Pale Ale)

It’s been a while since Mountainbeering has done some mountain biking, so a 28 mile ride through Big Basin Redwoods State Park seemed like the smart thing to do. Bikes aren’t allowed on the hiking trails, but there are a ton of old forest roads to explore.

Overall, this was a really fun ride that passed through lots of different microclimates and provided a few great views. It got to be very strenuous in parts because of the length and steep hills, but was never overly technical.

Thanks to an amazing beer of the month club Christmas gift, we enjoyed a 16 Mile Brewery Old Court Ale which is a dark pale ale. I just can’t get enough of dark ales these days! And this one did not disappoint. It was light, crisp, hoppy, citrusy, and held up well considering it had been warming up in my backpack for the past 3 hours. I also enjoyed having my first beer from a Delaware Brewery that isn’t Dogfish Head.

16 Mile Brewery Old Court Ale in the Santa Cruz Mountains

16 Mile Brewery Old Court Ale in the Santa Cruz Mountains

Here are a few fun pics from the trip, followed by maps and a more in depth write up of our route in case you’d like to replicate it some day:

Why are there train cars and awesome tree houses out here? I have no idea, but I approve.

Why are there train cars and awesome tree houses out here? I have no idea, but I approve.

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View of the Pacific Ocean off in the distance

View of the Pacific Ocean off in the distance

Sarah big basin panorama

Playing with panoramas, take a closer look at Sarah’s legs

The ride starts deep in the chill and shade of majestic redwoods at Big Basin Park Headquarters. Follow the signs towards “additional parking”, and after a few hundred feet, turn left and cross a bridge. You are now on Gazos Creek Rd. The trail is mostly uphill with a few downhill sections for the next ~6.5 miles. Here, you come across a quirky intersection at Sandy Point. You’ll know you’re there because of the elaborate tree house and railroad cars (pictured above). For the next ~5 miles, continue on Gazos Creek Rd which turns into a very steep rutted downhill (probably some of my favorite riding here), then mellows out to a paved road that follows the actual Gazos Creek. Take a right at Cloverdale Rd and follow it for the next ~2.1 miles. This is a warm, easy-going stretch in chaparral, and you’re close enough to the ocean that you can hear the waves crashing in the distance. It’s also the lowest point in elevation of this ride, expect a lot of uphill from here. While on Cloverdale Rd, you’ll pass the Butano State Park entrance and about 1 mile later turn right through a gate onto Butano Fire Trail. There’s going to be a lot of steady climbing for the next ~10 miles, but there are some highlights and gorgeous views along the way. Including a cool old air strip that you ride across. The next turn to take is a right onto Johansen Rd which is well marked and near the pinnacle of the climb. Now things get fun as it’s mostly downhill. Stay on Johansen Rd for a short time (~.7 miles), then veer left to stay on Middle Ridge Rd. After ~2 miles, you’ll come across a gate which is Gazos Creed Rd. From here turn left and it’s a quick ride back to the parking lot.

Useful maps:

– Big Basin Redwoods State Park Map
– Route Map on Google Maps (not all the roads are on Google, so I had to approximate a bit, but this gives you a great overview)

Have you been on any good rides in the Santa Cruz Mountains? I’m always looking for more places to ride.

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Buttes and Beer in Bend, OR

Deschutes Brewery in Bend, OR

Deschutes Brewery in Bend, OR

Bend, OR is an absolute gem of a town tucked away at the eastern edge of the Cascade Range where the climate starts to switch over to high desert. The first time I visited Bend, I was on my way to Alaska, and had been living in my truck as I slowly made my way up the West Coast. By the time I got to Bend, I had developed perhaps a bit of an unhealthy relationship with my truck (it was in more of my pictures than I was), and it was a welcome relief to be able to stay with some friends while in town.

I have about 200 more pictures similar to this

I have about 200 more pictures similar to this

I didn’t know much about Bend, so I relied on the wisdom of others to help steer my actions in the short time I was in town. The number one recommendation from any of the people I met in Bend was that I needed to visit the breweries, and who am I to argue with the wisdom of the masses.

The biggest and most well know of the many fine beer producers in town is definitely Deschutes Brewery, so I headed over to see what all the fuss was about, and I was not disappointed. Now, I’d been on quite a few brewery tours by this point in my life, and many of them are pretty standard… “We brew with only the finest ingredients… Here are our fermentation tanks… Try our beer!” While this is all well and good, Deschutes gave a little more insight into their overall production plan. I especially enjoyed learning that the spent grain from their brewing process gets sent to two places – a cattle ranch to feed the cows and a bakery to make bread. Deschutes then buys the beef and bread to serve at their brew pub. It’s a wonderfully delicious cycle.

I decided to visit the brew pub to test this mutually beneficial relationship myself, with the conclusion that it is a totally worthwhile endeavor. While at the pub, I also tried Deschutes’ Hop in the Dark, a black IPA (also known as a Cascadian Dark Ale). The very first black IPA I had ever tried. My mind was blown! I’ve been a fan of the style ever since.

Hop in the Dark. The very first Black IPA I had ever tried.

Hop in the Dark. The very first Black IPA I had ever tried.

Also, the best tip jar in the world. People were literally throwing money at the bar the entire night:

Best tip jar ever

Best tip jar ever

However, with the most breweries per capita of any city in the US, I made my way to several other establishments while in town. I even got out for a short but beautiful hike up Pilot Butte State Park. In the future, I would love to visit Bend for it’s many other outdoor adventure options, but time stands still for no man, and I had to be on my way. Little did I know, that I would be back in a few short month. Until I get to that write up, enjoy a few more pictures from my first visit:

Silver Moon Brewing Co:

Silver Moon Brewing Co.

Silver Moon Brewing Co.

Bend Brewing Co:

Bend Brewing Co.

Bend Brewing Co.

Hiking in Pilot Butte State Park:

Hiking in Pilot Butte State Park

Hiking in Pilot Butte State Park

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Mountainbeering visits Portland

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I thought houses like this only existed in San Francsico

Back in April of 2010, I spent the month living in my truck and slowly making my way up the West Coast to Alaska. I didn’t have any specific destinations in mind, so to help narrow things down, I decided to visit beer and bike friendly locations. It was as easy as driving into a city, unloading my bike and pedaling amongst the bars and bike shops. There is no better way to see a city than by bike.

Portland, OR provides the ultimate blend of bike and beer communities. The city abounds with bike lanes, and I could hardly ride a block without wanting to stop for a beer or to check out a bike shop. My very first night there, I had drinks with a group of bike couriers at one bar and then got invited to go along on a bike ride at a second bar. Even though it was amazing, I still nearly suffocated under the weight of stereotypes and clichés surrounding me.

That being said, I would gladly visit again to indulge in the overwhelming culture of bikes and beer permeating out of the very being of the city. Here’s a general overview of pictures from my visit:

Hopworks Urban Brewery (HUB)

Lucky Labrador Brewing Company

Lompoc Brewing

Citybikes Co-op

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Happy New Year!

Happy Mountainbeering New Year!

Happy Mountainbeering New Year!

Just a quick Happy New Year from a couple of Mountainbeer-ers in snowy Wisconsin! We enjoyed a few local brews – a New Glarus Spotted Cow and a Central Waters IPA – after a short cross country skiing escapade in Laona, WI.

P.S. It was a good Mountainbeering X-mas as well!

A basket of beer! What a great Mountainbeering Christmas!

A basket of beer! What a great Mountainbeering Christmas!

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Sierra Nevada Mountains = Sierra Nevada Beer

Sierra Nevada Pale Ale Outside of Big Bear, CA

Sierra Nevada Pale Ale Outside of Big Bear, CA

Here’s a mountainbeering adventure that I had completely forgotten about!

Back in February of 2011, I was working at an outdoor science school in Big Bear, CA. We had just gotten some fresh snow, and I convinced my friend Simone to go on a quick mountainbeering snow shoe hike with me. We didn’t have much time, but I wanted to make the most of the fresh snow. What better way than to go mountainbeering! Here are a couple of fun pics from the trip:

Simone and Luke mountainbeering in Big Bear, CA

Simone and Luke mountainbeering in Big Bear, CA

Fresh tracks... just beautiful

Fresh tracks… just beautiful

Have you been mountainbeering recently? We’d love to hear about it – mountainbeering@gmail.com.

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Durango, a Mountainbeering Paradise

Snowshoeing on Molas Pass with Engineering Mountain in the Background

Snowshoeing on Molas Pass with Engineer Mountain in the Background

Durango, Colorado. If you’re into snow sports, cycling, mountain biking, bouldering, rock climbing or any other type of outdoor activity, Durango is worth a visit.

I stopped by Durango in March 2011 to visit my friends Tabs and L-Train, a couple of awesome girls that I met while leading cycling tours in Alaska. Durango had never been on my list of “Kick Ass Places That I Need To Visit” before this excursion, but since it was only a short detour, I decided to stop by.

Totally worth it! I got to try snowboarding for the first time (slightly painful and embarrassing, but tons of fun), We went on  cycling and bouldering adventures, and we snowshoed at Molas Pass (at around 10,000 feet). We made sure to bring along some local brews for this last adventure:

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Thank you Boulder Beer for the delicious Singletrack Copper Ale. Boulder Beer has claims to being the first microbrewery in Colorado. Luckily, since Singletrack is only 4.9% ABV, I was able to hold my own while drinking above 10,000 feet.

And cheers to Steel Toe Stout from Ska Brewing Company. I very much enjoyed this beer. As strange as it sounds, pairing the stout with a banana was pure heaven after the hike. We even made a stop at Ska Brewery later that week:

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Another good adventure with good friends and good beer.

Cheers!

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Lake-Volcano-Lake-Vocano-Island Mountainbeering…or something like that?

A post from some good friends doing some Volcano-beering in The Philippines!

The Background:

Devin recently finished his teaching contract in South Korea and set off for an adventurous tour of Southeast Asia, but first stopping in the Philippines to meet his dear friend Pauline. Two of the best trekkers this side of the Mississippi- they decided to climb the most unique volcano, on an island, on a volcano, on an island, on a mountain, on an island, in the world!!! Yea, that’s right!! Taal Volcano

Taal!

Taal!

Taal Volcano is located in the province of Batangas, which is a little over an hour drive south of Manila. A lake, named Taal Lake, formed around the volcano due to eruptions thousands of years ago. Numerous eruptions afterward also created Volcano Island, within the lake, and formed a sulfur lake within the volcano. So basically, try to picture a sulfur lake, within a volcano, and that volcano within a fresh water lake, in the crater of another volcano.

The Adventure:
Now onto Pauline & Devin’s Mountainbeering adventure: The alarm was set for 7am with an attempt of a departure time at 7:30am, but as with most scheduled plans, they ran late and didn’t leave the house until 8am. The directions were pretty straight forward, but one of the many problems in the Philippines is the lack of road signs. So as they neared the place, Taal Lake Yacht Club, a few u-turns and questioning locals were made. As they arrived at the Yacht Club, some workers approached them. They were offered two different types of tours: Regular Tourist Trail or Secret Trail. The Regular Tourist Trail includes a boat ride to Volcano Island, there and back, and a guide to hike with to the top. The Secret Trail enabled you to go to a different trail to reach the top, hike down to the sulfur lake, and swim inside. Unfortunately, due to monetary concerns, and the fact that D-Willy is one of the cheapest guys around, we decided to go with the former.

-D. Walker

-D. Walker

We set off for Volcano Island with high spirits. As soon as the boat’s engine started, and we were riding along, Devin proceeds to lose the fisher’s hat he was wearing to Taal Lake. The driver of the boat only shrugged his shoulders and kept going, while Devin proceeded to hysterically laugh out loud…mind you it was Pauline’s Aunt’s and not his.

Whatever.

Whatever, I’m on a boat.

We hiked up the volcano with a local tour guide provided by the Yacht Club. He was a 22-year old boy, but Devin swears he looked like he was 17 years old. From our hike together, we learned that he had only been working at the Yacht Club for about 6 months. His local pastor, who works there as well, referred him. He stays at the club during the week, and goes home on weekends where he teaches Bible study on Sundays.

Guess the age....

Guess the age….

The hike itself was not as rigorous as some advertisements on the Internet made it seem. It was about a 45-minute hike, going uphill for the entirety of it. The trail itself is filled with a lot of horse dung as most tourists trying to go up are fooled to believe they can only go up by riding a horse and additional fee that we were in no way paying. Along the way, we spotted smoke coming out of some holes on the mountain, and they were told it was smoke from the volcano. Devin proceeded to put his hand by the steam and confirmed that it was very hot. He even toyed around with the idea of burning his hand just so he could say, “Yes, I burned my hand with sulfur steam from a volcano.”

Self-proclaimed...

Self-proclaimed…

On the hike down, he decided against it.

...maybe not.

…maybe not.

Once at the top, the first things taken out were their beers. Devin, San Miguel Light, and for Pauline, San Miguel Premium Lemon Flavored Beer. The two stayed at the top for at least a half hour, chatting and taking photos for their beloved Bro’Malley.

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Thanks Pauline and Dev for the adventure! Keep ’em coming!!

How am I going to explain the missing hat............?

Damn, how am I going to explain the missing hat…………?

Cheers!

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