Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Legendary Keg Haul

(Redmond to Seattle, WA)

Last summer, Link, me and a few other hikers took on our longest, most ambitious beer hike to date. We began on Mercer Island and crossed the I-90 floating bridge to Downtown Seattle and then worked our way up to Greenwood. 17.42 miles in one day -- one LONG day.

It was a ridiculously good time and I'll never forget it. We got a hell of a lot of exercise, drank a lot of good beer and explored parts of Seattle I rarely venture to.

But not even a day after it was over, I found myself grappling with a sense of, "How do we top this?"

Well, we did:

Legendary Keg Haul; 25.18 miles
Black Raven / Red Hook / Twelve Bar / Main St. Alehouse & Eatery;
Beer Authority / Fiddler's Inn / Last Drop Bottle Shop / Latona Pub

View Legendary Keg Haul in a larger map

My buddies at Latona Pub, Patrick and Elliott, began this thing about three or four years ago where, for the week leading up to Earth Day (4/22), all beer on tap at the pub would be delivered by foot only -- no combustion engines. Most of the kegs were trucked by hand from the local breweries (Big Time, Maritime Pacific, Hales Ales, Fremont Brewing -- even Two Beers), but some were pedaled in with makeshift bicycle trailers (7 Seas, Diamond Knot).

Link and I have participated the past two years and witnessed the tremendous turnout of beer-loving, Earth-conscious volunteers willing to take their turn in the effort.  This year, I was feeling much more ambitious.

Elliott and I joked that a keg haul from Black Raven (Redmond, WA) would be amazing (and nuts), and my frequent beer hiking companion Chris suggested that we bring the wheelchair out of semi-retirement to cart the keg. The rest pretty much took care of itself.

After a couple weeks of planning, Chris, Link, and I found ourselves at Black Raven on a rainy Friday morning, strapping a keg of Trickster IPA to the wheelchair, taking pictures, and embarking on our longest beer hike yet.

Thanks to some generous hosts in Lake Forest Park, we were able to do the hike over two days.  Day one was long (about 14 miles), but flat and smooth on the Sammamish River and Burke-Gilman Trails.  The wheelchair handled beautifully and we really enjoyed our stops at Red Hook's Forecaster's Pub, Twelve Bar Brews, and The Main Street Alehouse in Bothell.  We were tired when we reached our accommodations, but knew that we'd had it pretty easy, all things considered.

The second day was shorter, but much more difficult.  When we exited the Burke-Gilman around 42nd Pl. NE and headed up to Lake City, the punishment began.  Chris and I took short shifts pushing the cargo up very steep switchback roads.  At one point I was going so slow that I was practically doing a rest step.  By the time we reached The Beer Authority, we were sweating and thirsty.  The Fremont Brewing IPA we had was maybe the best tasting beer of my life.

From there, we stuck to sidewalks and side streets to reach Fiddler's Inn, The Last Drop Bottle Shop, and finally, Latona Pub.  The Trickster keg needed 24 hours or so in the cooler to settle, but tasted great when we came back a couple of days later to make sure it was none the worse for wear.   (When I was planning this, a lot of people asked me how I was going to keep the keg cold on a two day hike.  I originally had the same concern, but both the head brewer at Black Raven and the manager at Latona Pub assured me it would be fine.  If we had been doing the hike in August it might have been a different story.)

As I finish this dumb post, the wheelchair has returned to hibernation in my basement.  I don't know when or where the next monster hike will be, but like Link and my Garmin Geko, I'm sure it will be ready for service.


  1. Not dumb at all. Keep the urban beer hike posts coming!

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