The author of the bestselling Fifty Places series (more than 500,000 copies sold) returns with a globe-trotting travel guide to the best and most beautiful places to drink beer around the world, as described by industry insiders! Fifty Places to Drink Beer Before You Die, By Chris Santella.
What is the most unforgettable place you’ve ever enjoyed a refreshing pint of pale ale or pilsner? In Fifty Places to Drink Beer Before You Die (Abrams Image; September 20, 2016; U.S. $24.95; Hardcover), Chris Santella explores some of the world’s greatest beer towns, as well as places to enjoy a cold one after a day of great sport. Venues range from beer festivals (like Munich’s Oktoberfest and Telluride Blues & Brews) and brewpubs (like Hair of the Dog in Portland, Oregon) to après ski (the hot tub at Tordrillo Mountain Lodge in Alaska) and brewery tours (like the one at Anchor Brewing in San Francisco). With a mix of national and international destinations firsthand accounts from craft brewing pioneers like Jim Koch (founder of Boston Brewing), Ken Grossman (founder of Sierra Nevada) and Governor John Hickenlooper (co-founder Wynkoop Brewing), and vibrant photographs that bring locales to life (a hallmark of the series), Fifty Places to Drink Beer Before You Die makes the perfect gift for the beer lover in your life.
Some of the exciting destinations featured in the book include:
- Prague, Czech Republic
- San Diego, California
- Burlington, Vermont
- Melbourne, Australia
- Munich, Germany
- Victoria, British Columbia
- Wellington, New Zealand… and many more!
About the Author:
Chris Santella is a regular contributor to the New York Times, the Washington Post and Trout. His work has also appeared in The New Yorker, Travel + Leisure, and the Wall Street Journal. Santella is the author of 12 other titles in the Fifty Places series, as well as Fifty Favorite Fly-Fishing Tales, Why I Fly Fish, The Tug is the Drug and Cat Wars (with Dr. Peter Marra).
About the Book – Fifty Places to Drink Beer Before You Die By Chris Santella
Abrams Image / September 20, 2016; U.S. $24.95 / CAN $29.95; Hardcover / 224 pages; 7 x 8″ / 40 color photographs; ISBN: 9781419722165
And this, extracted from the pages of the book a passage by Russ Fracente of Moab:
The town of Moab sits between Arches and Canyonlands National Parks, amongst a remarkable patchwork of canyons, mesas and deep river gorges. It’s easy to enjoy the thousands of square miles of red rock vistas from the seat of your car…though thousands come each year to enjoy them from the seat of a mountain bike.
“Moab is the kind of destination where anyone who likes outdoors will find something to do,” began Russ Fracente. “There’s skydiving, riding ATVs, white water rafting, rock climbing—and, most notably, mountain biking. You’ll find some of the most technical terrain anywhere around Moab. People come from around the world to ride one-of-a-kind trails like Slickrock. Eight years ago, there wasn’t quite as much for less seasoned riders. But many new trails have been added, especially at Dead Horse Point State Park. Beginner to intermediate riders can get out and enjoy some of the best views you can imagine.”
And you can rest assured that though this is Utah, a cold beer will be waiting at the end of the day.
Most trace the roots of modern mountain biking to Marin County California in the early 70s, though a case could be made that people have been going off road since the bicycle was created. (The Marin Museum of Bicycling points out that in 1896, the 25th Infantry Bicycle Corps, a regiment of African American riders, biked from Missoula to Yellowstone to test the potential of customized bicycles for military use in mountainous terrain.) Armed with old single speed bikes outfitted with balloon tires, a handful of Marin teenagers (known as the Larkspur Canyon Gang) attacked Mount Tamalpais above Mill Valley. Other road bikers soon followed suit, and not long after, the first race was organized – Repack – so named because riders would have to repack their brakes with grease after each race, thanks to the braking the steep descent demanded. Hence a new sport was born…though it wouldn’t be called mountain biking until 1979. Enthusiasts recognized the potential of Moab and its geologic wonders as a biking hub a few years later, though it really came on the scene in 1986 with the first Canyonlands Fat Tire Festival. As more riders began to make their way to Moab, the existing trail infrastructure began to seem inadequate. The community came together to garner resources to improve and expand the region’s single track system; the result was 100 new miles of trails, cementing Moab’s reputation as one of the world’s foremost mountain biking destinations.
Now beer – or for that matter, any alcohol – has a somewhat ambiguous history in Utah. Contrary to popular beliefs, alcohol was not always strictly prohibited. Early Mormon settlers in the Salt Lake Valley built breweries as well as temples, and recognized the commercial potential of producing and selling beer, wine and even whiskey, to non-believers passing through. It wasn’t until Prohibition that abstinence was made LDS doctrine. Despite the fact that Mormons still make up the majority of Utah’s population, an influx of newcomers drawn by the state’s outdoor attractions coupled with the exigencies of a tourist economy have spawned some twenty brewing concerns in the Beehive State, including one in Moab. “The Moab Brewery is the only microbrewery in town,” Russ continued. “They usually have eight or ten beers on draft, everything from a light pilsner to an oatmeal stout. By law, everything on draft is 3.2 percent alcohol by weight, though by volume, it’s actually 4%. It’s my understanding that Utah brewers make their beer to the 4% ABV, and that out-of-state producers that export into Utah brew their beer to full strength and then water it down, so it’s better to ‘go local’ for the best flavor. Eddie McStiff’s, a restaurant in town, has a number of beers on tap, and the widest selection of bottled beer in town. While draft beer is only available in lower alcohol content forms, bottled and canned beer is available in standard alcohol content forms, though only in certain establishments in Utah, it’s a little hard to get used to the liquor laws.” [To the best of our knowledge, restaurants that have a liquor license as well as state liquor stores are able to sell regular strength beer.]
As mentioned above, Moab has trails to suit riders with a range of skill levels. Russ shared a few of his recommendations. “Beginners will find lots of terrain at Dead Horse Point State Park as well as over at Moab Brands. For intermediate riders, I like the Klondike Bluff area and Magnificent 7. The trails here add enough rocks to keep you on your toes, but not enough to have you fearing for your life if you’re a less seasoned rider. For advanced riders, Slickrock is a must.” Slickrock is among the world’s most famous mountain bike trails. The 10+ mile trail twists, climbs, turns and descends on Navajo Sandstone, the geologic formation that accounts for many of the region’s iconic rock attractions. Along the way, Slickrock offers up some tremendous Colorado River vistas. For riders seeking a multi-day adventure, there’s the White Rim Trail, which runs 100 spectacular miles through Canyonlands National Park.
In Moab, a beer always tastes best after a long day of riding. “There are a couple of rides that start up in the mountains,” Russ described. “You can either get a shuttle up or do a self-shuttle where you leave one car at the end of the trail and take your buddy’s car to the top. After a long ride, your body is craving water and salt. When you get to the bottom, it’s great to have a cooler with some cold beer waiting. If you’re a skilled rider, the Whole Enchilada [which combines six trails— Geyser Pass, Burro Pass, Hazzard County, part of Kokopelli, Upper & Lower Porcupine Singletrack and Porcupine Rim, has 8,200 feet of downhill and 1,700 feet of climbing might be the best experience. We get the same people coming in year after year to ride it; it’s not one to miss. At the end of the 30 mile ride, you descend to the Colorado River, where you can sit and soak it all in. I’m a stout guy, and my beer of choice would be an Old Rasputin Imperial Stout [from California’s North Coast Brewing]. Though as that’s a fairly strong [9% ABV] beer, I think I might eat something with it!”
Russ Fracente has been been enjoying bicycling since childhood, but really began riding hard after moving to Moab. He is Assistant Sales Manager at Poison Spider Bicycles, which has been consistently rated one of America’s best bike shops.
If You Go…
Getting There: The closest commercial airports to Moab are in Grand Junction, Colorado (2 hours driving distance) and Salt Lake City (4 hours’ drive). Salt Lake City is served by most major carriers; Grand Junction is served by several carriers, including American Airlines (800-433-7300; www.aa.com) and United (800-864-8331; www.united.com).
Best Time to Visit: You’ll find the mildest weather in spring and fall. Rain is not generally an issue.
Spots to Visit: The Moab Brewery (435-259-6333; www.themoabbrewery.com); Eddie McStiff’s (435-259-2337; www.eddiemcstiffs.com); and Poison Spider Bicycles (435-259-7882; http://poisonspiderbicycles.com) for cycling guidance.
Accommodations: The Moab Area Travel Council website (www.discovermoab.com) lists lodging options around Moab.