Cycling and beer are two loves of mine. That first sip after a long ride tastes all the more sweet when you’ve put in the miles to earn it. Some of the best beers I have ever had have come at the end of an adventure. When Sophie and I finished the Coast to Coast, when Kitty, Kati and I wheeled into Liverpool after cycling from London, when I cycled through Italy with Ride25, even after I threw up at the top of Ventoux – there was a beery reward waiting for me. A challenge doesn’t feel complete without a jar of cold, bubbly, flavoursome goodness. Beer and cycling just click.
Whilst surviving my twenties, I inevitably learned the virtue of both moderation and quality in your drinking habits. In the process, I developed a particular palette for ‘good’ beer. The beer that has been lovingly born out of a passion and taken that extra effort to go beyond the pale in search of better taste. I appreciate the commitment that is brewed into some of the craft beers and ales that are on the scene at the moment and the ones with a story behind them are even more quenching.
A few months ago whilst having a bike fit on my Colnago at Velosport in Putney I met Nik Boor, bike-fitter and brewer extraordinaire. He told me about how he and his friend Benji Deason were cementing their passion for beer by creating their own. In the process they learned that it is a lot more complex than getting some grains, hops and mixing it with yeast and water. The amount of variables you have to contend with to make it a drinkable product is, quite simply “mind boggling”. On their quest, they acquired more knowledge, better equipment and managed to nail the perfect blend to create their own brand, 4CrossBrewing.
The other element of this beer that captured my interest is its decision to support women’s fixed racing team, WhyBeNormal? This team has riders from the UK, Europe and the US and recently tore up the track at the Red Hook Crit. Nik explains:
“My day job has given me the opportunity to meet people within the cycling industry, and also gave me the idea to work with a young, progressive team that probably does not get as many opportunities as others. Women’s cycling has been growing at an increased rate of late, maybe not as fast as they deserve, or as fast as some would like, but it is getting there and is developing a great atmosphere. This is an opportunity for us small home brewers trying to create a name in an industry that is growing.”
To support the team, 4CrossBrewery created a hoppy pale ale with their namesake, WHYBENORMAL? “We wanted the beer to be a great summer beer that is drinkable, thirst quenching and that would stand out just like the the kit of the WBN team” said Nik. The result was a stunning 5.4% ‘sour pale’ (I’ve tried it) that is extremely worthy as a post ride tipple.
4CrossBrewery has some exciting plans for the rest of the year and I am keen to see this local, budding new purveyor of beautiful beer to do really well so I can use it to toast my long rides in the future. Stay in touch with their Twitter channel for updates.
Last two photos from Red Hook Crit 2016 by Benji Deason.