As the office staff of Trek Travel, we steal moments of daylight to ride anytime the opportunity presents itself. We spin past cornfields amidst misty sunrises and chase horizons around the lake on summer nights. And then with bikes hung up and another loop behind us, we raise our glass to savor the hops and toast with a well-balanced brew.
Pliny the Elder is a well-balanced double IPA out of Santa Rosa, California’s famous Russian River Brewery. In my humble opinion, it’s one of the best double IPA’s. Anytime I visit California, I search out bottles of this stuff. Bottle shops often restrict purchase of this elusive beer because the demand is so high; the most I’ve ever been able to take home with me is 3 bottles. Most of the time shops sell out within a few days of receiving a shipment. This beer carries a fairly robust 8% ABV, and spectacular hop flavor thanks to multiple additions throughout the brewing process. Next time you find yourself in California, ask for this one by name. – Mark Thomsen
As a kid, my family spent six months living in Brussles, Belgium. At 12 years old, chocolate and waffles were the staples of my diet. Now, many years and an ocean away, the one thing that takes me back to our life abroad is a hearty plate of moules et frites and a delicious Belgian witbier. I’ve always favored light beers and while there are many great options, nothing can beat an ice cold Blanche de Bruxelles. It’s a typical wheat beer in many ways–light, smooth, well-balanced and fresh. But the brewing method is methodical and the coriander and orange peel add incredibly unique flavors. With the Spring Classics upon us, I recommend you head to the pub for frites and see if you can find this one on tap. – Katherine Usher
Rated number one in the world by Beer Advocate, Heady Toppy is the flagship beer of the Alchemist brewery in Waterbury, Vermont. Only sold locally in limited production, this unfiltered American Double IPA perfectly combines citrus and hops without the undesired bitterness of many beers in its category. After guiding trips in Vermont, I can speak first hand to the craze that occurs when this incredible product hits the shelves—it sells out within hours of being released. In fact, it is so popular that the brewery is now closed to the public after neighbors complained of the noise and revelry. Next time you make your way east, be sure to get in line for a 4-pack. But don’t forget to drink it straight from the can. – Jenny Binkowski
Lagunitas Czech Pils is easily one of my favorite beers. Most beer drinkers love a good IPA, and I do too, but this Pilsner takes the cake for me. It comes from Lagunitas Brewery in Petaluma, California, the working heart and soul of Sonoma County. It’s a crisp, refreshing and super drinkable at any time of the year. It’s obviously best served in a frosty glass under the beating hot summer sun, but a snowy day in the Midwest will work too. If you want a twist on a classic, take one down with a little splash of San Pellegrino Limonata to make a Shandy like you’ve never had. It’s the best recovery drink after long, hot summer rides. – Greg Lyeki
Westvleteren 12 is considered by many to be the best beer in the world, and I’ve been lucky enough to let this beer grace my lips. It’s difficult to objectively determine the “World’s Best Beer,” but once you taste this brew you will completely understand. First, it’s a Trappist. For me, Trappist beers are just fantastic. Unfortunately it might be one of the most difficult beers to find unless you know someone heading to Belgium, and even there it’s hard to get. As far as the characteristics of the beer go, it’s a great pour, wonderful aroma and dark in appearance with a light brown head. It’s incredibly complex with hints of caramel, chocolate, malt and dark fruits. All without any bite in the end. Time for me to head back to Belgium! – Sean Peotter
*This is also Fabian Cancellara’s favorite.
When most Wisconsinites think of New Glarus Brewing Co., they immediately think of their famous Farmhouse Ale, Spotted Cow. Though I have no beef with Wisconsin’s most beloved craft beer, I always keep my fridge stocked with one of New Glarus’ other gems—Moon Man. Labeled as a ‘No Coast Pale Ale’, its hops add just the right amount of flavor without being overpowering. As the brewery puts it, Moon Man is “Bold and engaging without pretense, because in Wisconsin you do not have to be extreme to be real.” Not located in Wisconsin? Sorry, you cannot get this beer outside our borders. You’ll have to come visit to try it for yourself! – Lindsay Juley
Buckler and Hopalicious
My favorite beer is a cold one. But if I had to narrow it down, I have two current favorites. First, and probably not what you would expect, is a non-alcoholic beer. Brewed by Heineken, Buckler is my go-to beer when I want something cold, refreshing and light that tastes pretty darn close to the real thing. Some people ask, “What’s the point?” Well, if you like beer but don’t want alcohol, this is my pick. My second favorite is Hopalicious. Love the name and enjoy that Ale Asylum brewery is located here in Madison. This very drinkable American Pale Ale, full of hops with a fresh citrus taste, is especially great when paired with a Usinger Brat! – Tania Burke
Before my beer-loving Trek Travel friends start jumping all over me, let me build my case for the ciders of the world! Whether your dietary restrictions don’t allow for a beer or you just don’t like the taste, ciders are on the rise and for good reason. My top pick is always Woodchuck’s Seasonal Summer cider. It has great blueberry tones and isn’t too sweet. To me, this hard cider tastes just like a summer day—crisp and refreshing. The company name is pretty great too, paying reference to the “Vermontiest of Vermonters” who are sometimes called “Woodchucks.” Next time you want to try something new, or reminisce on your blueberry-picking days, I highly recommend a bottle of summer cider. – Jana Bowman
I always look forward to southern California adventures with the chance of enjoying my favorite west coast IPA. Weighing in at 65 IBU’s and a solid 6.5% alcohol, Hoppy Poppy IPA from Figueroa Mountain Brewing Company has a distinct hop forward taste and dry finish. Balanced with a slightly lighter body than other IPA favorites, its crisp golden hue and touch of poppy seeds present a brilliant floral flavor and aroma reminiscent of Figueroa Mountain in springtime. “The Fig”, located in the beautiful Santa Ynez Valley, bursts with its famous California Poppies during spring months and proves a cyclists dream year round, rewarding climbers with views for days. No matter the adventure, an ice-cold Hoppy Poppy is forever at the top of my list as an excellent thirst-quencher! – Brie Willey