Finding the Perfect PNW Post-Event Brew

Our pace had slowed to a sun-beaten crawl, and the shade that seemed to cover the trail kept hopelessly receding. The final climb of our rim-to-rim-to-rim adventure was easily one of the hardest things I’ve pushed through and I couldn’t help but let my thoughts turn to refreshment at the top: chips and salsa and… beer. Ice cold, hoppy beer. Luckily my trail mate of the the day, Nancy, confessed similar fantasies. We soon clinked over-priced pints in our sweaty shorts at one of the Grand Canyon’s less fancy establishments to applaud our adventure. While not to be relied on for rehydration and recovery, there’s no denying the satisfaction of a post-run beer. The hoppy beverage is delicious and thirst quenching, and sharing a can or pint with fellow adventurers brings celebration to a day well spent on the trail.

I know I am not alone in my post workout indulgences. The devotion to a celebratory beer unites outdoor athletes of all breeds. I am not sure mountain biking would really ever have been a thing without it. Cyclists in the Tour de France traditionally toast one another on the final stage around the Arc d’ Triumph (ok, maybe that’s champagne), and we runners have a well-established history of pairing our favorite pastime with beer. During the later 1900’s, the popularity of Hash House Harrier clubs flourished, where group runs notoriously end at a drinking establishment or with a keg of someone’s favorite ale. The first Beer Mile was reportedly run in 1989, and now a days you can likely find a competition somewhere near home. Back in the day, I questioned the cooler full of Coors that greeted us at the end of our summer 5K races held at the crack of dawn in Phoenix. These days, I am admittedly hesitant to register for an event that doesn’t advertise a brewery sponsor.

If you do find yourself at a finish line without a proper refreshment, or if you’re a beer snob like me, here are some exceptional pubs to visit after your fall or winter race in the Pacific Northwest.

ASHLAND

Just north of the California border, Ashland, OR hosts plenty of road and trail events whether you want to run, walk or pedal. Summer on Mt. Ashland is spectacular (the Mt. Ashland Hillclimb in August is perhaps my favorite event ever) and there is a fun, low key triathlon at nearby Applegate Lake held every June. But, with its moderate weather, you can’t go wrong with fall and spring events in the area. A supporter of many local events, Standing Stone Brewery is a stylish but comfortable spot that is taking dedicated, giant steps toward sustainability and “smart resource use” by reducing landfill waste and employing an “innovative energy management system.” Show your love of the PNW with a pint of I <3 Oregon Ale and an avocado burger made with the brewery’s own locally raised, grass fed beef. Caldera Brewing is another solid choice for post race nourishment. I’ve always been a fan of their IPA and Pale Ale, but their new pub location offers all 45 of their brews on tap, some of which are used in tasty menu options like their vegan BBQ Sandwich and very non-vegan Spicy Wings.

Events to consider:

Rogue Run Marathon/Half/10K/Kids Run October 12, 2019

Ride the Rogue  99mi/62mi/40mi/9.6mi/20mi mtb  September 21, 2019

Pear Blossom 10 Mile  April 11, 2020

SEATTLE

Runners working up a thirst at the Deception Pass 50K in the Seattle, WA area. Photo: Glenn Tachiyama Photography

While there’s no shortage of culinary and drinking establishments in and around Seattle, avoid hangry debates over where to eat after a race and visit the Fremont district for a litany of to-go choices. Everyone can choose their own meal and reconvene at Schilling Cider House, a fun option for gluten free athletes or anyone looking for an experimental change of pace. My favorite is the London Dry but for a taste of autumn go for the spiced Chaider. Besides their own ciders, Schilling offers hundreds of cans and bottles from all over the world. Nearby Fremont Brewing Urban Beer Garden does not serve food, but you’re welcome to bring your own. Wash your eats down with a classic Universale Pale Ale or their seasonal fall release, Bonfire Brown Ale.

Events to consider:

MFG Cyclocross Series  Sept – Nov

Lake Stevens Olympic/Sprint Triathlon  September 7, 2019

Tough Mudder Seattle  September 21, 2019

Seattle Marathon  December 1, 2019

Deception Pass 50K December 14, 2019

BEND

Though painfully obvious, it’s hard not to include Bend, OR in this roundup. Not only is the town renowned for its breweries, it hosts enough outdoor events to keep the most ardent athletes busy almost every weekend, year-round. Fall brings out the best colors along the Deschutes River, and the cool daytime temps make for perfect running weather. Crux Fermentation Project sits at the top of my favorite afternoon and evening hangouts, and it’s often crowded with locals, visitors and their dogs. But their outdoor dining area leaves plenty of room for everyone, along with corn hole sets and a couple of food trucks. You can also order appetizers, salads and sandwiches from the pub while enjoying a pint. Their Cast Out IPA is awesome, but one is more than enough for me. On a lighter note, opt for their Crux Pilz and or a smooth Nitro-Stout at the fire pit on a cold night. Down the street, with their own corn hole court, Avid Cider Co (formerly Atlas Cider Co) carries local beer on tap along with their hard ciders, offering more options for non-beer drinkers who still want a celebratory pint. My vote is to really mix it up ask for their Poor Man’s Black Velvet (Avid’s Dry Cider and stout). No real sustenance here besides free popcorn, but there are various food trucks in the neighboring lot.

Events to consider:

Storm King 10K/Half Marathon  October 13, 2019

Cross Crusade Bend November 26-27, 2019

Run the Rock 50mi/50K/Half Marathon  November 9-10, 2019

Sisters Happy Girls  Half Marathon/5K  November 2, 2019

Oregon 12 & 24 Hour Mountain Bike  July 11-12, 2020

 

HOOD RIVER

The Columbia Gorge is a spectacular spot where you can visit Washington on one side, Oregon on the other and spend your morning atop Mt Hood before dining in Portland that evening. With a mild climate, it’s a great area for fall and winter events. Plus, you can’t go wrong on either side of the river for post-event beverage and food. On the Washington bank, stop by Everybody’s Brewing for locally sourced, organic burgers, or if you’re feeling particularly deserving, mac and cheese with bacon and jalapenos. I’ll be honest, I’ve only tried their Country Boy IPA, but on a visit to the brewery I’d have to go for a Mountain Mama Pale Ale, just because of the name. If you are not into the hoppy stuff, a glass of Monster Cookie Imperial Mild Stout (brewed with locally-made monster cookies) might just hit the spot for dessert. Across the Columbia you can also reward yourself with a Belgium style bratwurst or upscaled poutine at the pFriem tasting room in Hood River. For a fall treat, try the Pumpkin Beer or one of their barrel-aged specialties.

Events to consider:

Columbia Gorge Marathon / Half Marathon  October 20, 2019

Klickitat Trail Run Marathon/Half Marathon/5K  November 9, 2019

 

SEDONA

If you decide to escape the PNW winter for a warmer run in Sedona, be ready for red rock views, fancy art galleries and chakra readings on every corner. But, the running is fantastic and you can find a great beer at Oak Creek Brewing Co. They now have a larger pub at Tlaquepaque Village, but the original beer garden off of the 89A is my choice for a casual celebration on the patio. I’m sure there are still free peanuts, but now the brewery offers gourmet tamales, tacos and chili. Before I developed my taste for IPAs, I liked the Nut Brown, but if the weather is chilly I might go for Prosperity Porter. In case you want to venture up the hill to Flagstaff in hopes of some white stuff in February, Historic Brewing Flagstaff is a cozy little spot with standard but delicious pub fare and 16 taps of their own “inventive craft beers.”

Cheers!

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Susan Barrows
Susan is a competitive ultra runner, aspiring bikepacker, coach, yoga instructor, and enthusiastic drinker of all things hoppy.