Saturday, February 18, 2012

bikes + beer + benefit = fun!

This past Sunday was a great event combining several of my favorite things: beer, bikes and Oakland. It was the Tour de Bière 2012, led by The Grand Cru, as a fundraiser for the East Bay Bike Coalition. With a full day of biking and beer tasting, plus discounts at several destinations, it was a bargain at $25 per person. So it was unsurprising when tickets sold out for it in 4 days.

We met at Trumer in Berkeley to sign in and start off with some coffee and snacks. The group split into two for a tour around Trumer's brewery. Outside are a number of large silos for grain, and giant temperature-controller fermenters. Trumer Pils is known for being a 'bright', clear beer, so they've got an amazing filtration system, but because EBMUD water is so good, they don't need to filter or treat the water. I worked at a brew on premises / brewpub for a while, and was interested in beer before that, so I'm familiar with the brewing process. That said, I still found the tour at Trumer interesting and informative.

Linden Street Brewery

From there we headed down to Linden Street Brewery in Jack London Square. I'm a huge fan of Linden Street, not just because founder Adam Lamoreaux is incredibly supportive of different non-profits around Oakland, but also because Linden Street Beers are incredibly tasty (love the Burning Oak Black Lager and the Urban Peoples' Common Lager). LSB has been growing at a healthy pace, and Adam is hoping to outgrow the space in Jack London Square. But even if that happens, he plans to keep the Linden Street location going forward, as a 'brewery incubator'. Currently LSB hosts Dying Vines Brewing, but going forward they'd love to host more.

Triple Rock

The group again split in two. Most people headed for Elevation 66 in El Cerrito and the rest of us headed for Triple Rock in Berkeley. Triple Rock is the granddaddy, one of the oldest operating brewpubs in the U.S., and opened when I was in college in 1986. They were having their 'Sour Sunday' which drew a lot of fans, so the brewpub was packed. I had some of their IIMax DIPA, a big, hoppy beer.

We then headed over to Elevation 66 in El Cerrito. It's the new kid on the block, having just opened in 2011. I'm not in El Cerrito very often, but I'll definitely keep it in mind for future visits.

To finish off the evening, we rode down to Pyramid in Berkeley, not far from where we started. Our ranks had thinned a bit by then, but those remaining happily toured the large brew house and sampled a variety of Pyramid's beers.

The tour was about 20 miles, plus I had another 6 miles each way to and from BART, so about 32 miles of riding for me. Despite that, I only used the electric assist on my ride home; the rest of the ride was flat and slow enough I didn't need it.

It was a long day with a lot of riding, but hella fun. Thanks to The Grand Cru for organizing the Tour de Bière and to Trumer, Linden Street, Triple Rock, Elevation 66, and Pyramid for hosting us and supporting the East Bay Bike Coalition!

lots more pictures from the ride:

More pictures from The Grand Cru.

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