Monday, May 26, 2014

Brewvet Challenge 2014

Discovered this great adventure via a Face Book friend's blog, Randy & Nova's Bicycle Scrapbook.  I like to ride bicycles and I also like to enjoy a cold one every now and then.  So in typical Chevian fashion I rushed right in, followed the rules and completed the assignment on time.



Easy enough.  I could knock this out in one day if the rules allowed.  Mileage not an issue for me.  I am fond of craft beer.  

Ride No. 1
Date--May 17, 2014 7am
Location--Mullets Des Moines, Iowa
Beer--Buffalo Sweat Oatmeal Cream Stout, Tallgrass Brewing Co
Thoughts--Fitting that this location would kick off my participation in the #Brewvet Challenge.  Mullets is a bicycle friendly establishment situated on the crossroads of downtown Des Moines, Iowa, and the Central Iowa Trail system.  But you do not need to ride a bicycle to enjoy this place.  It offers great food, a super staff and many events in their backyard such as live music and cyclocross racing.  We stopped in for breakfast at 7 am.  Mullet's just doubled their tap count from 8 to 16.  This was my first time with the the 16.  Usually go for Bell's 2 Heart but since it was breakfast and mile 3 on a 50 miler I decided to go with the BS.  This is the third time I have had this beer, second time as a draft.  The cans gave me a hang over after a previous experience of 3 cans.  True to its name this stout is creamy and smooth.  Delish and I would purchase it again.  Also had a Diet Coke and the breakfast burrito which I could not finish.

Ride No. 2
Date--May 18, 2014 930 pm
Location--Court Avenue Restaurant & Brewing Company
Beer--Pointer Brown Ale
Thoughts--After a long day we stopped at CABCo for their 55 cent buffalo wings and a cold one.  They brew their own beer.  Mary and I have been members of the "Mug Club" for a number of years so we were able to enjoy our brew in  nice large mugs.  I asked for a sampler to show the color of the ale for the photo.  Tasty without the bitter nutty taste of Newcastle.

Ride No. 3
Date--May 19, 2014
Location--Hy Vee grocery store, Johnston, Iowa, drinking local at home 11 miles after purchase
Beer--Shiner White Wing Belgian White
Thoughts--I love a good Belgian and this one caught my eye immediately as I perused the single bottle section of the cooler.  $1.59+tax and deposit.  Over the holidays I enjoyed Shiner's Holiday Cheer so I was not afraid to give this one a go.  Since it was humid and above 70F I placed the bottle between to packages of split chicken breasts and placed a package of Italian sausage on top for good measure before riding home.  Twist top so I wasted time digging out my key ring from my fanny pack.  Wonderful fruity taste of the esters.  Smooth and refreshing.  I wish more brewers would control their hop infatuation and look to that little country nestled north of France and west of Germany.  I recommend this beer.

Ride No. 4
Date--May 20, 2014 10 pm
Location--The LiFT, Des Moines, Iowa
Beer--PB&J (PBR + shot of Jameson)
Thoughts--Every now and then one must return to a real American beer.  Hipster or not, something cool and refreshing after a long day.  Now The LiFT is not a typical PBR bar.  Des Moines original smoke free bar and place where artists hang their paintings for sale.  Hence the background in the photo.  Also a martini bar but I only order beer and perhaps a shot of Fireball when I visit.  They have 11 beers on tap and not a single tap has Budweiser, Miller, Coors or whatever crappy American lager.  Every tap pours either local craft beer (Confluence, Peace Tree, Exile and Madhouse for local brews) or a quality import (Guiness, Peroni, Smithwicks ect).  On Thursdays they sell pints for $3.  Used to be $2.  Noticed they are selling craft beer bottles at $2.  This can be the most dangerous bar in town.  I only enter with no more than $20 and no plastic.  So today during my 5 hours of overtime I read on FaceBook that The Lift is running a $5 PB&J special--Pabst Blue Ribbon tallboy and shot of Jameson.  I met my wife 11 miles north of here and we rode down for 1 round.  Life is good.

Ride No. 5
Date--May, 21, 2014 430 pm
Location--Confluence Brewing Co, Des Moines, Iowa
Beer--ChewBocka, Confluence Brewing Co
Thoughts--Had a hard time choosing a beer on this ride.  Gave the Southside Citra Blonde a spin before settling on this malty dopplebock.  The fact that I paid $10 for the mug that I could keep was a good selling point.  We have 5 now.  Tasty, refreshing, delicious and a wonderful change of pace from hoppy beer.  Confluence has been open for a year and a half now and never ceases to amaze me with their quality and variety.  Located approximately 2 miles from my home and right off the bike trail is wonderful or dangerous.  I stopped here on my way home from work.

Ride No. 6
Date--May 23, 2014 4 pm
Location--University Tap, Clive Iowa
Beer--Dirty Bastard, Founders Brewing Co
Thoughts--Met my buddy Craig on the bike trail.  We have shared a beer or two in the past.  Been almost 2 full weeks without seeing each other.  Been a crappy week at work and a long week taking care of my mother.  Now it's Friday and time to relax.  University Tap is located off of the bike trail although one needs to get off the trail and pedal half a block on the street to get to the front door.  A small but nice selection of craft beer on tap.  Wearing my sunglasses I can only read "Founders" on the tap and order it anyway instead of quizzing the barkeep.  Craig has a PBR tallboy.  Another malty treasure!  Will order this again.  I sipped mine as I needed to pace myself.  Craig lapped me and we left after his second.

Ride No. 7
Date--May 24, 2014 11am
Location--Imes Bridge, St Charles, Iowa
Beer--Blue Moon
Thoughts--When I thought of this location I planned to consume a Busch Light in honor of my bicycle friends who generally carry Busch Light on their bikes.  Just outside of town we saw a sign for the Madison County Winery and Twisted Brewery 4 miles.  We continued but arrived 1/2 before they opened so we turned back after doing a shot of Fireball.  Since we rode bikes that lack the ability to carry beer we stopped at the Casey's General Store across the street to make the purchase.  The closest they had to craft beer was a Sam Adams lager.  Rather have a Blue Moon.  This covered bridge has been an obsession for me.  As cyclists we tend to drink beer on bridges and below bridges and near bridges.  But a covered bridge, only once before on our way out to Ragbrai last year.  As for the Blue Moon, tasty Belgian white.  Never fails to please me.  Keep the orange slice, they worked hard to make this.  Imes Bridge Link

Ride No.8
Date--May 25, 2014
Location--Locust Tap, Des Moines, Iowa
Beer--Grain Belt Premium
Thoughts--Really wanted to head the opposite direction and share a beer with my buddy Sam.  He brews up to 3 pony kegs at a time.  I help.  It is a lot of work but very rewarding.  His Hefeweizen is to kill for.  His Munich wheat is also good.  He once had a black beer that was darker than old motor oil.  We'd mix it with a lite and call it a "arf & arf."  Had everything arranged to make that ride.  It's an ugly ride, total urban wilderness to get there.  Not that far but the best route involves sidewalks, traffic and narrow streets.  The southside of Des Moines really needs a trail from the river to County Line Rd.  Sure, I could take the "safe street" but that is out of the way, adds hills and really is not an improvement on a Friday evening and night for the consumption of alcohol.  In the end I did not have the strength to make it.  Saturday was a big mileage day as Ride. 7 states, ended up with 100.  Sunday was a washout with the rain and Sam did not answer the phone.  But I got a text to join friends in more bike friendly locations.

So grabbed the Beast, a pair of sunglasses, mobile and wallet.  Ended up at the Locust Tap.  3 of us just beat the rain as a dark ominous black cloud wafted over like the aliens on Independence Day.  The barkeep was kind and suggested that we bring the bicycles inside.  We placed them by the pool table.

The cooler has a vast selection of beer and I searched for something "krafty" like Flying Dog Ale's In Heat Wheat, a hefe, which probably is history.  But I said fook it and ordered a Grain Belt.  When my father was a beer drinker he drank that swill and Buckhorn.  Since the return of GB I have ordered a few, usually tallboys or "Big Friendlies" as labeled on the can.  Fortunately, they had 12oz cans so I matched Craig's Hamms and Chad's PBR.  Basic American lager a little bit on the sweet side.

At The Lift after leaving the Locust Tap, Exile's Hannah a Bavarian wheat.  Forgot that I already used this location.
Runner Up for my Confluence visit.  South Side Citra Blonde.  Chewbocka trumps all.

4 extra miles each way to get here 1/2 hour before they open.  Fortunately, I purchased a mini Fireball shot at the gas station 13 miles earlier.  Another ride to this place in the near future.

Total mileage--224

1 comment:

  1. Congrats on completing it. Nice write up and a good variety of beers.