Dec 17, 2016 – It’s day five of the 12 Days of Dig, and we really, really dig beer. The cycling beverage of choice will always be coffee—the café ride and the caffeine it provides gives us an added boost when we need it. But it’s hard to beat a post-ride beer.
Though the emphasis in cycling technology is focused on “faster” and “lighter,” the direction arrow for beer technology is simply pointed at “better.” In terms of variety and quality, the beer we’re drinking has gotten substantially better, particularly stateside. And those who hold beer dear have focused on improving how we drink it as opposed to just what we drink. From the fancy to the functional, beer gear has gotten a significant upgrade thanks to the application of modern tech and, of course, hemp.
THE COOLER. Cooler technology hasn’t moved much since we were kids. Coolers are still huge, still red, and they still come with white lids. They did add wheels, perhaps the most notable upgrade. Now, the people at Mountain Smith have combined two timeless notions—“Wouldn’t it be great if…” and George Washington’s favorite: hemp. The result is a cooler perfectly designed for the gravel grinder, the mountain biker or the cyclocross set. A cool six-pack of cans that you can throw over your shoulder as you head down the
trail or off to the ’cross race. $25; moutainsmith.com
THE GROWLER. The ubiquity of the glass growler has marked the rise of craft beer’s influence, expanding our options beyond the limited beer selection at the corner store. Draft beer is now something we can have at home without a lot of a hassle. Brown glass and plastic are “not pro,” and the good folks at Hydro Flask have used their powers, and probably space age polymers, to further the future of bringing your favorite beer home with you. Designed to keep beer chilled, carbonated and optimally contained between destinations, the double-wall vacuum insulation will keep liquids icy cold for up to 24 hours. It certainly outperforms the standard growler on both fronts. The wide 2.2-inch mouth is as easy to pour out as it is to pour in, and the BPA-free, PP#5 f lat cap is insulated to further protect your beverage from outside temperatures. $55; hydroflask.com
THE GLASS. The Austrian company Riedel produces some of the most specialized glassware you can imagine. Many glassmakers create wine glasses that are specialized for, say, Pinot Noir versus Cabernet or Riesling. At Riedel, though, they’ve designed a glass just for Oregon Pinot Noir and a different glass for Pinot Noir from Burgundy. The glasses are shaped to accentuate elements of each wine variety that makes that wine unique, amplifying the aromas and mellowing the tannin. Riedel has now turned its attention to beer with the Veritas Beer Glass. It’s lighter in weight—and less glass conducts less heat so the beer stays colder longer. The glass looks like an upscale Belgian beer vessel one might use for a Duvel. $70 (set of two); riedelglass.com