The Ultrarunner’s Beer & Run Pairing Guide

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Abyss pairing

The Ultrarunner’s Beer & Run Pairing Guide aims to provide runners with the perfect beers to enjoy after a run. Countless years of “research” went into creating this guide.

Please note that all pairing suggestions are based solely on the taste buds of the author and only include beers that are relatively easy-to-find in regional craft beer stores and that the author has personally sampled.

This list includes only American breweries and recommends beers from across the country. Furthermore, while the author seldom turns down a “Silver Bullet” or PBR after a run, mass-produced domestic beers were omitted from this guide. Sorry Speedgoat Karl, you won’t be finding Natty Light on this list.

Please drink (and run) responsibly, and don’t forget to chime in and tell us what your favorite post-run beer is.

(Training Run Pairings)

Run Type Beer Pairing Author’s Pick Honorable Mentions
Recovery Pilsner or Session All Day IPA (Founders) Go To IPA (Stone), Scrimshaw (North Coast), Prima Pils (Victory)
Why this pairing? A recovery run is typically done the day after a hard effort or race. So if you celebrated your race with something a little higher in ABV (see below), now would be a good time for a light and refreshing beer. All Day IPA is the pick here, and those 19.2oz cans are just the right size.
Intervals Wheat Kellerweis (Sierra Nevada) Easy Street (Odell), Oberon (Bell’s), Gumballhead (3 Floyds)
Why this pairing? After a lung-busting interval workout you deserve something easy. While a pilsner or session is also a good choice here, I like a good aromatic wheat beer.
Tempo Pale Ale Zombie Dust
(3 Floyds)
Alpha King (3 Floyds), Born Yesterday Pale (Lagunitas), Red Chair NWPA (Deschutes)
Why this pairing? A solid tempo effort deserves a solid reward. There are many great pale ales on the market but it’s hard to go wrong with anything from 3 Floyds. Red Chair is also one of my go-to beers when it’s in season.
Long Run India Pale Ale Two Hearted (Bell’s) Racer 5 (Bear Republic), Jai Alai (Cigar City), Union Jack (Firestone Walker), 90 Minute (Dogfish Head), Comatose (Goodlife)
Why this pairing? An IPA always seems to hit the spot after a long day on the trails. Having grown up in the Midwest I have a soft spot for Bell’s Two Hearted, one of the craft OGs. It’s the first IPA I ever tasted and still one of my favorites.

 

(Ultra Race Pairings)

Race Distance Beer Pairing Author’s Pick Honorable Mentions
50k Brown Ale Nut Brown
(AleSmith)
Maduro (Cigar City), Ellie’s Brown (Avery), Chomolunga (Jackie O’s), Hazelnut Brown (Rogue)
Why this pairing? With roasted malt, caramel-like and chocolate-like characters, the American Brown Ale is the perfect complement to all of those gels you just devoured. Ok, maybe not, but a delicious brown seems to be just right after a hard 50k effort.
50 Mile Porter Victory at Sea (Ballast Point) Edmund Fitzgerald (Great Lakes), Mogli (Caldera), Black Butte (Deschutes)
Why this pairing? A good porter is satisfying—just like completing a 50-mile race. Victory at Sea is a tasty (and strong) beer to sip after you’ve rehydrated, whether or not you had victory on the trails.
100k Strong Ale G’Night
(Oskar Blues)
Bigfoot Barleywine (Sierra Nevada), Arrogant Bastard (Arrogant Consortia), Fred (Hair of the Dog)
Why this pairing? The 100k distance is just long enough for you to question your sanity. You need a strong beer after the race to forget about the pain and suffering and sign up for your next ultra. All of these beers will do the trick.
100 Mile Stout Abyss (Deschutes), Old Rasputin (North Coast), Speedway Stout (AleSmith), Breakfast Stout (Founders)
Why this pairing? Let’s be honest, ANY beer will do after finishing a 100-miler. There’s also a good chance you may have had a few during your race already, but completing 100 miles deserves the ultimate beer reward, and there’s nothing better than a big, bold stout to go with your shiny buckle.

 

(Race-Specific Pairings)
A few in-state beer recommendations for the finish line!

Race State Author’s Pick
Western States California Pliny the Elder (Russian River)
Hardrock Colorado Oak Aged Yeti Imperial Stout (Great Divide)
Superior 100 Minnesota Furious IPA (Surly)
Wasatch Utah Big Bad Baptist Imperial Stout (Epic Brewing)
Vermont 100 Vermont Sip of Sunshine IPA (Lawson’s)

 

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About Author

Drew Dinan traded the tropics of the Florida Keys for the trails of Bend, OR. Once living the Jimmy Buffett lifestyle, working on fishing boats and owning only a single pair of flip flops, he now has way too many running shoes in his closet and never hears the end of it from his loving wife. He is on a constant quest to find the best happy hours, likes to complain when it’s cold outside, and one day hopes to travel the country writing reviews on chicken wings.

5 Comments

  1. Wow! A great list and some very interesting pairings. I would suggest The Calling Imperial IPA from Boulevard Brewing of Kansas City as a big beer for a big effort. Lagunitas Maximus falls in the same category. Since I live in Florida, I also reach for a Cigar City Jai Alai. Whether I have run or not.

  2. Conspicuously missing are some sours — the original version of what we now call beer. Maybe they are best consumed during runs — a la pickle juice? 🙂

    I love a nice sour beer after a long, hot run. A dry-hopped sour fits the bill in the evening after a workout.

  3. Bill Sharp on

    You guys really do know what you’re writing about.
    Even as an Oregon guy, I’d like to compliment you on your choice of (Michigan’s) Founders All Day IPA as #1 for recovery. I think you hit a bulls-eye. Yes, the can size doesn’t hurt either. Another beer, also top-notch and similar in quality to it is NInkasi’s Pacific Rain (a NW pale, not an IPA though).

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