Post-ride Beer: Alien-nation
The norm seems foreign when you are out of your element for extended periods of time. An eagerly anticipated visit to the local bottle shop—post East Africa—proved that hypothesis.
A moment I had looked forward to for a couple of weeks: I’d walk into the local bottle shop and find a new and special beer to take home—something I could savor as I unpacked my bike and reflected on the places it had carried me—an experience and brew that would inspire a few words for this post, perhaps. It would be an award-winning ale, one that could cleanse my liver of all the post-ride Nile Specials, Primus bombers, and Club pilsners that had watered down my taste buds over the last few months. We’d survived a bikepacking trip that was comprised of a six week jaunt in southern Spain, and over two months on the Trans-Uganda and Congo-Nile Trails. Quality time with a really good post-ride beverage was in order.
Upon darkening the doorway of the bottle shop I realized I was still in a zombie state of jet-lagged reverse culture shock. I attribute this to a series of events that had played out over the previous day or so: 1. An acute feeling of cultural alienation; upon landing in Philly, I was immediately forced to ingest a hearty helping of political idiocracy that spewed from strategically placed airport televisions; 2. PTSD from the hair-raising 75 MPH car ride from the airport… it’s kind of scary riding in a car on a multi-lane freeway after being on a bike for some time; 3. Overfeeding during a ‘calorie deficit’ replenishing spree which ensued upon arrival; 4. Being confused by the southern accent and any recommendations that may or may not have been given by the staff at said craft beer institution; 5. Choices. In East Africa, you get what’s available; and you’re damned lucky if there’s refrigeration.
So considering my state, I had an only slightly better than awkward conversation with the bartender and ordered something to sip on while I perused aisle upon aisle of bombers and six-packs. The search for that perfect brew didn’t come easily though. The epiphany I’d counted on never occurred; my non-assimilated subconscious couldn’t produce such a muse. After sipping and scouring the shelves for about 45 minutes, I finally settled on a familiar standby. In fact, familiarity doesn’t come in a much more obvious package. Foothills Jade IPA is not only from my home state, it’s brewed in the town where I grew up and rode my first “real” bike. It was a comfortable choice, one to ease me back into this weird world—the beer equivalent of that T-shirt, the one that’s been so well-worn that there are more holes in it than fabric.
P.S. If you haven’t tried Jade, pick one up. From the bottle, it pours a hazy yellowish amber with one finger of thin white head. It has a nice aroma punctuated by a pungent romp of hoppiness, and tastes of crisp citrus and pine, with little to no maltiness. Overall, Jade is a formidable, crisp, clean and drinkable dry IPA with moderate bitterness. Quite possibly the best offering from Foothills. Enough said.
P.P.S. Have a special post-ride event that you’d like to share? Let us know.