At some point in time, having a beer after a run became a normal thing. As to when this first occurred, I’m not exactly sure. Maybe it was when Rod Dixon said, “All I want to do is drink beer and train like an animal.” Or maybe it was when craft breweries started sprouting up like weeds in my garden. Either way, I’m not complaining about it.
We all enjoy a refreshing beverage after a hard-fought race. I ran a personal best in the 2014 New Jersey Half Marathon and the first place I went to (after the massage table) was a local pub for food and a nice brew (hey, don’t judge me, I trained for months!). While it’s nice to see local breweries producing quality beer, it’s equally as nice to see runners trading war stories over a few pints. Beer has always been a celebratory beverage: we sing, we dance, and we raise a glass to our accomplishments. With that in mind, here are a few of the best tri-state craft beers for post-race celebration.
Flying Fish Brewing Company (Somerdale, NJ) – “Oktoberfish”
My first choice goes to New Jersey’s largest craft brewery and their “tribute to the classic Fest styles of Germany.” This beer is super delicious on a fall afternoon. It’s packed with caramel notes and a very nice malt character. It’s light enough to be easily drinkable, yet has enough body to quench your thirst after a 5K. Speaking of, you can drink all the Oktoberfish you would like at the annual Flying Fish 5K! Runners are rewarded with live music and a commemorative beer mug filled with this tasty beverage.
Shmaltz Brewing Company (Clifton Park, NY) – “Slingshot”
Full disclosure here: I work for Shmaltz Brewing Company. However, that doesn’t change the fact that this is a kick-ass beer to celebrate a solid run with — believe me, I know first-hand! Slingshot is a golden lager that is sure to please anybody who just “earned their beer.” It’s dry hopped and brewed with a bit of rye malt to make it refreshing, crisp, and thirst quenching.
River Horse Brewing Company (Ewing, NJ) – “Summer Blonde”
What the hell, it’s still technically summer in my book, right? River Horse has been cranking out quality brews for 20 years now, and their Summer Blonde is no exception to this. With just a touch of hops, it goes down smooth after a warm humid run. It even comes beach body-ready in 12-packs of cans for when you feel like burying your feet in the sand of the Jersey Shore. Join their regular group runs that start and end at the brewery for your chance to try this and others on draft.
Weyerbacher Brewing (Easton, PA) – “Last Chance IPA”
Gone are the days of fizzy yellow water — we need something with flavor! Last Chance IPA by Weyerbacher Brewing is dry hopped with Citra and Mosaic hops so it’s bursting with flavors like citrus and grapefruit — perfect for a post-race celebration beer. Not only is this beer delicious, but they donate a portion of the proceeds from Last Chance to small animal rescue organizations. So go out and run five miles, pop this beer open, and do your good deed for the day by saving puppies!
Black Hog Brewing Company (Oxford, CT) – “Granola Brown Ale”
Nothing is more satisfying than a hardy snack after a long run. Granola Brown was brewed with that concept in mind. The flavors are reminiscent of childhood favorites like oatmeal, raisins and roasted chocolate. This is the type of beer you put in your backpack when you’re out on a 10-mile hike with your dog (or what I’ll have as my afternoon snack during my Ragnar Adirondacks). It’s never too early to celebrate!
Joe Granat is a sales representative for Shmaltz Brewing Company. Besides being well versed in all things beer, running is his passion. His journey has landed him on major platforms like Trail Runner Magazine, Draft Magazine and Thrillist.