By Jon Pratt,
A few weekends ago my friend Mike and I went on a ride that is quickly becoming an annual ritual for us. A bikepacking trip along the Great Allegheny Passage, which runs from Cumberland, Maryland, to Pittsburgh. While pedaling 150 miles along a car-free route, camping along the way, makes for a pretty good weekend in itself. Throw in a little festival about halfway along the trail and things really start getting interesting. Did I mention it’s a beer festival? Now I’ve got your attention right?
It’s called the Beer & Gear Fest. Each year around the 2nd weekend of June, Wilderness Voyagers, a rafting/fishing/biking outfitter in beautiful Ohiopyle State Park gets about 30 brewers together with a few kayak and outdoor sports companies and puts on a little party.
For an extremely reasonable entry fee you get to sample beer to your heart’s content while listening to some great live music. There are always some interesting beers on hand, some good, some not so good. This year the standout, I won’t say in which category, was Blue Canoe’s Maple Bacon Pancake Porter. Yep, they went there.
Oskar Blues and Troegs showed up, along with a local favorite of mine – Fat Head’s Brewery. Fat Head’s is based in Cleveland, Ohio and their Head Hunter IPA is outstanding, winning silver and bronze medals in the last two Great American Beer Festivals.
I love it when two of my most favorite pastimes, biking and beer, come together in such a perfect fashion. Are there any festivals along the trails close to you? Let us know in the comments below, and who knows, I might just show up.