“But it’s going to be cold,” I said. “Doesn’t matter, beer is supposed to be cold,” was the response.
When my cycling buddy Jerry sent me a Facebook message about the Trails to Ales Beer Cycle Tour coming up in less than a week, I do what I always do – check the weather.
It turns out it was cold, but the sun was out and spirits were high – and we had convinced several other of our club members to join us driving over 2 hours to reach Glen Rock, PA for the ride start – so none of it mattered.
The ride was put on by Independent Brewing in Bel Air, MD to ride the York Heritage Rail Trail from Glen Rock to York, PA where we would visit 4 different breweries ultimately circling back to our start. Seven of us from Solomons Island Cycling joined about 30 other riders for the 35 mile journey. We visited Crystal Ball Brewing Company, Mudhook Brewing Company, Collusion Tap Works, and Liquid Hero Brewery once arriving in York. But not after starting the day with a hit from a Independent Brewing growler at the ride start.
Now I love bikes, and I love beer, and I have awesome riding friends. When you put all of that together there is a recipe for an incredible time.
The York Heritage Rail Trail is an entertaining ride with tunnels, an active railroad by the trail, and friendly folks. The trail surface is well groomed and you find yourself surrounded by rock outcroppings, crossing bridges, and passing restored rail infrastructure.
When we arrived in York we departed the trail system and rode surface roads through the town. This proved to be pretty awesome as the locals stopped and many times commented on a group of 30 some odd (and I do mean odd) cyclists rolling through their neighborhood.
Our first stop was the Crystal Ball Brewing Company who offered up a right tasty coconut porter – so good in fact that several take homes were stored in my pannier. Souvenirs so to speak.
Next stop was Mudhook Brewing Company which was also our lunch stop. I was a little concerned about a large group of hungry and thirsty cyclists arriving at one time but they were ready – food was hot, good, and quick on a cold day. Like kids lined up for milk lunch at elementary school, we patiently stood in line waiting to place a bar order. We enjoyed one of their signature bar moments when everything stopped and everyone broke into a round of Billy Joel’s “Piano Man” – the lyrics are on all the tables just in case you were unschooled.
Then we were off to Collusion Tap Works – a super friendly joint with a great selection from which to choose and outdoor games.
Then our final stop at Liquid Hero Brewery where very few of our fellow riders opted for the SAG return. As the sun was setting we were back on the trail – and yes, we finished in the dark.
And it was cold – and no, it didn’t matter.
About the Author: Brian Raines, Bikepacking.TV
A cyclist for life, Brian discovered bikepacking within the last few years and now spends a considerable amount of time riding his Specialized AWOL and sleeping in tents generating content for Bikepacking.TV. Brian is a Brand Advocate for Saris Cycling Group, is the Road Captain for Solomons Island Cycling, as well as, chairing the Southern Maryland Bicycle Infrastructure Advisory Committee for the Tri-County Council of Southern Maryland.
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