Brewery Review: New Glarus

Most Minnesotan’s are very familiar with the New Glarus name. It’s a Wisconsin craft beer company that is only available in Wisconsin. It’s a part of their identity, and for many years people would flock over the border to get New Glarus, in particular their Spotted Cow ale. Personally, I’ve always been a fan of their fruit beers, especially their Strawberry Rubarb beer that tastes just like pie.

This past weekend, when I was near New Glarus for my 100K race, we stopped by the brewery to check it out. Well, to be fair, my friend Mike and I stopped by, while my wife was running her 50K race. We were only about 10 minutes away from the brewery and so getting there was nice and easy. It’s laid out as a campus, similar to old school breweries like Schell’s and Leinenkugel’s. You drive in along a winding road, and when we arrived we already had to park in lot a little further away.

The way that New Glarus works is that you go up to the beer garden, and you buy tickets for your beer. You can get either a sample glass for $8 and 3 pours, or a full pint, and then purchase tickets for each pour you want. I opted for the sample glass and got my wristband with three pull off tickets on it. The cool thing about this is that you get to keep the sample glass as a souvenir. This does really emphasize the “destination” aspect of New Glarus though, and not that it would be a place you’d swing by for a pint after work.

img_4884I got my tickets and glass and went over to the service station. I was hoping to find something unique on tap, but unfortunately, it was mostly all their standard beers. There was only one beer on the list that I hadn’t had before, so I decided to get that, along with two other pours of beers I know I enjoy. The beer garden environment was fun, but there weren’t a lot of tables, so we mostly just stood off in the shade while we drank our sample. Then we had to go over to the rinsing station to clean out our glass and get back in line for our next sample. Overall, it wasn’t a slow experience, but it wasn’t at all like a traditional taproom.

Once we had finished the beer we decided to hit the shop downstairs. I was hoping for some unique bombers, but unfortunately all of the ones I had been looking forward to were sold out. I ended up getting a special small batch bottle (for $15 yikes!) and a four pack of beers that I don’t believe that I have had before.

I had one of the beers tonight, their juicy IPA, and frankly, I found it a bit weird. Unlike the typical hazy IPA, New Glarus actually infused juice into this IPA. It wasn’t a bad taste, but it wasn’t at all what I expected. I was expecting something with more hop forwardness, and that’s not at all what this is. Despite that, I’m still looking forward to the other beers in the pack I picked up.

Overall, visiting New Glarus was interesting, but it’s not like simple taproom tourism. It’s meant to be a destination that feels like a bit of an adventure. What that means is that I don’t feel a strong need to visit again in the future, and will just stick to keeping a closer eye our for their specialty stuff when I’m over the boarder.

Fitness week recap – 7/29/2019

Week Starting 7/29/2019
Running:
 67.9 miles
Biking:
 3.6 miles
Steps: 195,536
 (95.67 miles –  27.77 walking)

Impression: Race week! This week was two small runs, a quick bike commute to the train station, and then the big race. I completed my first every 100K. I felt tremendously ready for this race, and everything was going great till about mile 50. After that everything fell apart and I learned some good lessons. I’ll write up a full race report later this week with all the details.

One of the bad things that happened to me, was that I got a couple of really bad blisters on the balls of my feet. I’m not sure how quickly I’ll be back to running, so this week might be another down week before I head out of town for the Marquette 50K next weekend.

Taking the plunge at Tuscobia

I’ve gotten very involved in the winter ultramarathon scene, including putting on our own winter ultra. One of the reasons I started a small 40 mile race is because I wasn’t sure if I could handle doing the longer distances myself, and I figured there were others out there in the same boat. However, being the race director of a race means it’s hard to actually compete in the event yourself.

However, last year our dear friend Randy Kottke passed away from his battle with cancer while we were all up at the Arrowhead 135 race. Being among everyone up north, celebrating Randy’s life, was powerful. When I attended a small remembrance gathering for him there was a board where you could put up a note, saying what you would do to remember Randy. I decided that I would take the plunge and attempt the Tuscobia 80 mile race.

This morning I signed up and put my money where my mouth is. This one’s for you Randy.

Nutrition Review: Spring gels

In my history of running, I’ve never been one for gels. I tried them from time to time, but I always ended up with a sore stomach afterwards. They would give me some energy, but it was all lost when the cramping hit my gut. I recently came across a new gel called Spring, and for once in my running life, I have a gel that is finally working for me.

The premise behind Spring gels is that they are all natural, based on real food, that is minimally processed. What this means is that Spring gels are not quite like what you’ve had before if you’re used to things like Hammer of Gu. The texture of Spring is almost yogurt quality. It’s smooth and creamy vs. the thicker consistency of traditional gels. It also has some texture to it from the ingredients, but I don’t find it off-putting in any way.

They have a full range of gels, some with caffeine that I need to avoid, and some with more or less calories than others. I’ve tried a few of them now, and my personal favorite is the CanaBERRY. It’s fruity and tart, and tastes really fun. I also like the POWERRUSH flavor, which I find to be a bit more earthy in flavor. Which makes sense, since it’s made with beets. I still have a couple more to sample, but so far I like what I’ve found.

The most important part of all of this is that my stomach issues are non-existent with these gels. I down the gel and get back to running, and I’m not clutching my gut 15 minutes later. That’s a massive change from my previous experience with gels, and it’s incredibly refreshing. I’ve stuck to things like energy waffles, but after a while you want something different. Spring gels give me a whole new thing to keep in my toolbox on long training days and race day. I’m incredibly excited to make them a part of my regular routine.

If you’re like me, and you’ve had issues with gels in the past, give Spring a try. It certainly might not work for everyone, but it works for me.

Fitness week recap – 7/22/2019

Week Starting 7/22/2019
Running:
 24.3 miles
Biking:
 62.5 miles
Steps: 105,642
 (51.94 miles –  27.64 walking)

Impression: The taper begins for Badger 100K. I kept my running mileage really low this week, and stuck to a proper taper. That means just under 25 miles completed. For my long run on Saturday I hit Afton State Park and got in an AMAZING 10 mile run. At one point I was feeling so good that I dropped everyone in the group and just cruised through the Snowshoe Loop, flowing with the singletrack like it was a ride.

I did up my bike miles a bit this week, including a nice quarter century ride with the wife on the Dakota Rail Trail. We didn’t take it easy on this either, and managed a 14mph speed for the average of the ride. I also managed to get in a solid push at the end, just barely getting a 5 mile segment under 20 minutes. I do think that I’m at the limit of what I (and my bike) can accomplish at this moment. I felt good throughout the ride, but I know that I probably can’t push it much harder than I did.

My hope is to still post this review next week, however I’ll be returning from my race, so there’s a chance it might end up on Monday morning instead.