Five Suds for Sending
Nothing caps off a great day on the rock more than an ice cold beer. Let’s face it, there is something incredibly soothing about the way an ice cold bottle feels of in a sore, tired hand at the end of the day. The ritual of ending the day with a beer is a time-honored tradition among climbers and happens everywhere from the parking lot to the pub. Done with the stresses of climbing, the end-of day beer is where climbers become more social and more fun. It is where stories are told, run outs become longer, grades become harder, and your skill grows dramatically. Here is a list of five of my favorite post-send beers.
New Belgium Brewing’s Fat Tire Ale is at the top of my post-send list of beers; because we are currently unable to get New Belgium in New England, this delicious brew raises a little higher in status for me. Not having easy access to Fat Tire has, to be cliche, “made the heart grow fonder.” On my first trip to Colorado, I might as well have had an IV of this stuff hooked up to me. Most days, I was anxious to plow through the day’s hiking and biking plans in order to belly up to the bar and order a Fat Tire. Luckily, New Belgium is available in a good part of the southeast, so I have been able to stock up a few times on recent trips.
“Hi Neighbor!” If you are from the northeast, you know that Narragansett dominates the budget beer category. If you’re looking for something light, tasty, and affordable enough that you can treat the group to a round and still have enough money left to buy some new gear, Narragansett is your choice. Sure, you may have heard the posers and hipsters spray about Pabst Blue Ribbon being the go-to beer for climbers on a budget, but forget that noise and grab a ‘Gansett.
Another northeast gem – by way of the pacific northwest this time – is Red Hook Longhammer IPA. Red Hook originated in Washington State, but is now also brewed in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. Thanks in part to its semi-local roots, you can seemingly always get a good deal on Red Hook and it is always fresh. Also, Longhammers come in at 6.2% alcohol and after a hard day at the crag they catch up with you pretty quickly. My advice is toss the car keys to your partner and grab another Longhammer from the cooler. You earned it.
Woodstock Brewery’s Pig’s Ear Brown Ale might not be as readily available as some of the other options on this list, but it hits the spot as the perfect beer for when the temps start sinking and friction starts rising. Pig’s Ear is a little darker and heavier than other offerings on this list, making it the perfect cold-weather libation. It’s brewed in Woodstock, New Hampshire, so you can stop by and have one at the brewery on your way home from sending a route on Cannon. Or, just grab a sixer at the convenience store or gas station (I love New Hampshire for more than just the climbing) closest to your favorite New Hampshire crag.
What can I say about Sierra Nevada that has not been said before? Crisp, hoppy, and coming in at 5.6% alcohol, this beer is a popular choice with beer drinkers and beer snobs alike. The old saying “you get what you pay for” is certainly true of Sierra Nevada. While it is not the cheapest beer in the list, you can normally find it at a reasonable price with a little looking. And when compared to other craft beers of its quality, you could call it an outright value. The best part is that Sierra Nevada is now available in crag-friendly cans, which means you can bring good beer to the rock and not have to worry about glass. Planning on doing more spotting than sending today? Throw a few cans in your crash pad, relax, and have a great low-key day out.