Friday, October 31, 2014

Top ten kiwi post-run craft beers

Here's a guest post from Vera Alves, who blogs about running at Super Generic Girl and keeps track of her craft beer addiction enthusiasm over at Untappd. Here are her top ten kiwi post-run (and pre-run and - sure, why not? - mid-run) craft beers.

"I first discovered that beer was my favourite post-run beverage when I started running the Xterra races and getting the free Speights at the end of each of them. I’m pretty sure the beer sped up muscle recovery and all that other stuff.

(This is probably a good time to let you know I’m not a doctor.)

Fast forward to the beginning of this year when, while catching up with a fellow trail runner and beer lover over a bottle or three, I downloaded a smartphone app called Untappd. 

From that day onwards, I’ve made it my mission to try as many delicious craft beers as I can. I’ve been dedicating far too many hours to this new, hmm, “skill”, which I’m hoping one day will be more valuable than my education (that’s not saying much - I’ve got a journalism degree).

Last week, while in Wellington to speak at a kickass running event, I took the opportunity to visit a few craft beer spots I keep hearing about. There, I hit my 500th distinct beer tried this year, with many of them having been celebratory beers after particularly good runs (or particularly bad runs or, you know, just any run).

My running stats will never look as good as my beer drinking stats but you take what you can get.

It wasn’t until I discovered Untappd and turned my phone into my Untappd device which occasionally receives calls (but please don’t call me - it wastes battery that could otherwise be used to log beers) that I left the realms of mass produced cheap chemical stuff and entered the beautiful naturally-flavoured universe of craft beer. 

I’m now one of those snobs who wouldn’t be caught dead with a bottle of Heineken (unless it’s free because I’m a freelancer and can’t afford higher standards).

I’m pretty sure beer is the perfect recovery drink after a long run. If you don’t believe me (and you probably shouldn’t), believe science. A number of studies have shown the same thing. Beer has electrolytes, carbs and deliciousness - everything you need to recover from a strenuous workout. Sure, alcohol dehydrates you a bit and slows down the recovery time - but at least you’re recovering with a beer. (Again, remember how I’m not a doctor?)

If, like me, you love both beer and running, you might also be always on the lookout for a new post-run beverage to try. There’s some seriously good stuff out there and you don’t even need to look further than New Zealand craft breweries to find some pretty perfect post-run beers.
In no particular order, because I love them all probably more than I should, these are my current top ten kiwi craft beers to enjoy after a long run:

Epic Hop Zombie
The Epic Pale Ale was my first craft beer so I have a soft spot for any Epic beers. It helps that they’re all delicious. I wouldn’t recommend some of their stronger ones straight after a run but if you haven’t had an Epic Imperium, you have not lived.

Hallertau #2 - Statesman
The Statesman is my favourite Hallertau post-run beer because it’s really (dangerously) easy to drink. Hallertau gets bonus points for having the brewery located right near Riverhead Forest, one of the best places to run in the universe. And they know that beer and running are a match made in heaven, which is why they sponsor local trail running event Riverhead Rampage.

Liberty C!tra

The good folk at Liberty Brewing are yet to release a beer I haven’t loved. This Imperial IPA is a 5-star beer with lots going on. The citrus aroma could almost fool you into thinking you’re rehydrating with fruit juice but then the explosion of hops kicks you in the gut and reminds you that nope, there’s no juice here. Just a damn fine beer.

Tuatara APA

I’m getting really thirsty writing up this list. Tuatara is another one of those reliable kiwi breweries. You can pick up any of their bottles and be sure you’ll be adding another beverage to your list of favourites. Their Double Trouble is a 5-star beer but too strong as a running beer so I’m going to recommend the APA because you should drink their APA, before and after any workout. And even if you don’t work out at all.

Garage Project Texas Tea

There’s a special place in heaven for the people who started Garage Project. I actually just want to tell you to drink all of their beers because they’re all amazing but, since I have to choose one, I’m going to go with Texas Tea. I tried it recently and was amazed by the subtlety of flavours that you never even expect to be subtle (stuff like habanero chilli and pears). It comes in a can so gets extra cool points for that. But, seriously, drink all their beers. Drink them now.

Croucher ANZUS IPA Nuclear Free

Croucher Brewing always brings back memories of training for the Tarawera Ultramarathon in Rotorua and heading to the pub down there for a few locally brewed drinks. Their ANZUS IPA is, by far, my absolute favourite, brewed with New Zealand, American and Australian hops - a beer to unite us all. Cheers to that.

Yeastie Boys Digital IPA

Ah, Yeastie Boys, where do I start with these guys? Their name takes me back to teenage years (I can’t be the only one who gets “Intergalactic” stuck in her head when she sees their name). It is a seriously good combination of all the right malts and hops (by now you’ve realised I’m partial to IPAs) and, bonus, it’s a beer that these fine people dedicated to Joseph Wood from Liberty Brewing. I love that shit. And, like with everything else, I think this is where craft beer and trail running have a lot of crossover - everyone in the area helping each other, regardless of competition. I’ll drink to that any day.

Panhead Supercharger APA
Back when I ran my first ultramarathon earlier this year, I asked Nick at Brothers Beer to suggest an appropriate beer to drink at the finish line of the event. He told me to drink a Panhead Port Road Pilsner and that started my love affair with this brewery. None of their beers have disappointed me since then (go try a Black Sabbath right now and then come back and tell me if I’m not right in my love for them). Their Supercharger is definitely one of those how-can-anyone-not-love-it brews.

Mata Manuka

The only golden ale to make the list is another one of those really good session beers that won’t knock you out. The manuka flavour makes it slightly sweeter than your average ale and makes for a super smooth easy-drinking beer.

Behemoth Chur!
Chur! is another one of those trustworthy beers you can drink without fear. It’s got just the right amount of hops to be the perfect session beer and enough fruitiness to make it interesting. If you finish your run at a pub that stocks Chur!, order it. Actually, order two.

There are so many amazing kiwi craft beers out there, sticking to ten is really difficult and I’m sure I’ll be wanting to update this list very soon.

Do you have a favourite New Zealand craft beer I should try? TELL ME! And are you running the Auckland Marathon this weekend and celebrating with a beer? You should. Also, if that’s the case, good luck, you badass mofo."

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