Post-Texas Beer: La Cumbre Elevated IPA

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Many of the best beers are exclusive to a small radius of where they are brewed. This is of course due to fun stuff like laws and taxes. But that’s OK; it makes that particular place that much more special.

A friend of mine returned from New Mexico last summer with a treasured handful of Elevated IPA. I was fortunate enough to try one, and six months later, as we slowly meandered across the giant state of Texas, I found myself yearning to reunite my right hand with a can of La Cumbre’s award winning brew. The blessed reunion would have to wait, at least until we crossed in to New Mexico.

Although our current expedition is quite the deviation from our last two, the objectives were similar. We loaded our bikes (this time in the back of a quickly cobbled camper van) and set off with the intention to see new places and ride great trails. First stop, Texas.

I wasn’t expecting what we found in the Lone Star State. Surprisingly, many of our experiences were not unlike those we’d had in South Africa one year prior. The two places actually share many striking similarities… idiosyncratic social and political oddities, amazing dramatic desert landscapes, a lot of fenced land, expansive spaces, fantastic mountain biking and bikepacking, and some of the most accommodating and friendly people in the world.

Here is the rest in pictures with more about the beer below:

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We were trying to escape winter, but that is nearly impossible in the US.

Marfa Burrito

The first place that threw me for a loop in Texas… Marfa, a quaint little desert oasis and home to the works and studio of Donald Judd.

Tumble In Marfa, TX

The bitter cold front passing through led us to the Tumble In campground, where an extension cord and portable heater allowed for much needed warmth.

Bikepacking Big Bend Ranch State Park, Texas

Our first night camping in Big Bend Ranch. Many more photos and information about the route here.

Bikepacking Big Bend Ranch State Park, Texas

An unloaded ride around The Other Side of Nowhere (The Solatario).

Bikepacking Big Bend Ranch State Park, Texas

Gin on her Santa Cruz and my Krampus. I finally got the Dirt Wizards set up tubeless (after 4 flats on this route). It turned out to be a super-easy conversion with a single wind of Gorilla tape.

Bikepacking Big Bend Ranch State Park, Texas

This definitely ranks amongst our top 10 best campsites ever.

Bikepacking Big Bend Ranch State Park, Texas

Bikepacking Big Bend Ranch State Park, Texas

Bikepacking Big Bend Ranch State Park, Texas

Day three in Big Bend was a lazy one of 16 miles making early camp with time to read and bask in the sun.

Bikepacking Big Bend Ranch State Park, Texas

A view of the Rincon mountains was eerily similar to the South African Karoo.

Bikepacking Big Bend

Excellent stargazing.

Bikepacking Big Bend Ranch State Park, Texas

Short days means waking before sunrise.

Bikepacking Big Bend Ranch State Park, Texas

Bikepacking Big Bend Ranch State Park, Texas

VA is a lot cooler than me.

Bikepacking Big Bend Ranch State Park, Texas

Terlingua, Texas

The graveyard in Terlingua Ghost Town.

Terlingua, Texas

The Starlight Theater in Terlingua… one of only a handful of places to eat.

Starlight Theater, Terlingua, Texas

Texas

Big Bend National Park

Big Bend National Park.

Big Bend National Park

Plenty of long dirt roads and corrugation.

Wax

We made it to El Paso to find unbelievable trails in the Franklin Mountains State Park. There we caught up with ‘Big Dave’ Wilson, the proprietor of Nuclear Sunrise Stitchworks, and his dog Wax.

Nuclear Sunrise Sunrise Stitchworks

We stayed the night at Dave’s and I caught him hard at work on a Titan top tube tank bag the next morning.

La Cumbre Elevated IPA

This is the beer that beat 175 others in the American IPA category to take a gold medal at the Great American Beer Festival in 2011. It falls into the elusive realm of beer that draws people to where they’re made. It’s a finely tuned fresh IPA that compares to other greats such as Heady Topper and Noda Hop Drop.

I won’t go into the aroma/color/flavor bit; I’ll just add what La Cumbre says… it pretty much sums it up: “Did someone ask for hops? Tired of beers that promise a full lupulin experience, but never deliver more than richly malted bitterness? It’s no secret that this is what we excel at. We’ve been brewing world class IPAs for years. Our flagship is the culmination of a decades worth of studying and brewing. Take a step above and acclimate to what an IPA should be.”

And with that, I’ll stow as many cans as I can afford, ration one daily for a few days, and then start eagerly awaiting my return.

La Cumbre Elevated IPA

After a couple thousand miles of waiting, we crossed into New Mexico, and I quickly procured a four-pack of this coppery mead.

La Cumbre Elevated IPA

The first time I had an Elevated IPA it was obvious why it took home a Gold Medal from the GABF; and I’ve been craving one since.

To see more photos as we bounce around the southwest, follow us on Instagram.

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