The Pacific Crest Trail is a 2,650-mile-long hiking path spanning the border of California and Mexico to just over the border of Washington into Canada. The trail takes most people five months to walk. Those gutsy few number in the low hundreds each year. On this date in history, 2016, Peaks and Pints bartender Kristen Marlo and her husband, Luke, took their first step on the PCT. Marlo recounts her journey below with, of course, craft beer as her markers, in the Craft Beer Crosscut 4.12.17: A Flight of Pacific Crest Trail.
Between landing at San Diego International Airport and launching into the PCT, Marlo suggest first gorging on delights that soon will be just desires, including one of San Diego’s best craft breweries. Juicy aroma and flavor of ripe peach complements the subtle fruitiness of the Kolsch yeast in the bright, refreshing Ballast Point Peach Tart Kolsch. The initial flavor of seemingly branch ripe peach is remarkably delicious and effortless on the palate. On the back end, it’s almost has a sweet, doughy finish. This Ballast Point treat is the perfect beginning to a long hike.
7% ABV, 45 IBU
After two sweltering dessert days on the PCT you’ll be longing for something other than water and energy bars. Located 21.5 miles off the trail (an easy hitchhike) you reach Alpine Beer Company. The Alpine, California brewery’s single hop IPA boasts pine, citrus and cedar notes from Simcoe and Amarillo hops. Marlo, a singer/songwriter who typically sings solo, found the perfectly synced Duet, if you will.
6.2% ABV, 20 IBU
The town of Truckee lies beyond PCT mile 1,153, home of Tahoe Mountain Brewing Co. A few minutes after the backpack hits the ground with a thump a full-bodied, yet sessionable rustic multi-grain farmhouse ale replaces the canteen. Provisions’ aroma offers prominent earthy notes, with some pepper and light citrus. It tastes of a light bready maltiness, followed by a light tartness that turns to a grainy, grassy, citrus finish. Congratulations on making it this far. You’re almost halfway, with Oregon within reach.
5.5% ABV, 30 IBU
By the time PCT through hikers make it into Oregon, they’ve built up a mighty powerful thirst. Enough PCT hikers stop in Bend, Oregon for a shower, a civilized meal and craft beer that Crux Fermentation Project decided to brew PCT Porter just for them and the organization that supports the hikers, Pacific Crest Trail Association. At Crus, hikers find great company, a rewarding pint and the expansive view of the mountains they’ve been traversing. PCT is not your typical porter; it’s for explorers. This beer starts with a decadent nose of balanced roast and sweetness followed by flavors of mocha and cocoa notes, along with caramel. It’s definitely an easy-drinking porter.
9.3% ABV, 85 IBU
Congratulations! You’ve walked 2,589 miles and are nearly at the finish line. You will now want to make your way to nearby Old Schoolhouse Brewery in Winthrop, Washington for its Brewers reserve Imperial IPA. While maintaining a strong malt presence, this craft beer also has caramel characters and plenty of Northwest hops. You will pick up flavors of apricot, tangerine and pine. There is a really nice bitter finish, much like the PCT.
Tags: Alpine Beer Co, Ballast Point Brewing Co, beer flights, craft beer, Craft Beer Crosscut, Crux Fermentation Project, hiking, Old Schoolhouse Brewery, Pacific Crest Trail, Tahoe Mountain Brewing Co