Beer Guide to the Trails of Michaux

Pennsylvania's Infamous 85,000 Acre Rock Garden

This first appeared online in Dirt Rag back on 21 April 2007. I think I need to update it when I’m back in PA in summer 2021 (I hope) visiting family and friends after COVID winds down (I really hope). I plan to do this kind of guide for San Diego, where my new home trails are located. Of course, we have a never-ending supply of world-class, local, independent breweries here in America’s Finest City.

Note on the article below: KClingers is long gone. Tax evasion. Legacy Brewing is gone, too, but I forget the details. Troegs is one of my favorite PA breweries. Victory is a cornerstone of PA craft brewing. Weyerbacher flies a little under the radar, still, but those in the know … well, we know!

MTB Michaux = will always be the litmus test, for me, on technical gnar, cross-country, super rocky riding. It’s basically one giant 85,000 acre rock garden. I miss it, no doubt. Yes, it’s “harder” than Pisgah.

Here you go …

Beer Guide to the Trails of Michaux

We are a fickle lot, the mountain bike ridin’ tribe of society’s flotsam and jetsam. Sitting around talking shop and gear and planning the next ride consumes us as much as we consume the delicacies of fermented grains while doin’ the talkin’. Whether it’s hard or soft tail for such and such trail, and which size tire and how much pressure, or tights versus baggies, we go at it with as much enthusiasm as we do over deciding Pale or India Pale, Stout or Imperial, Porter or Pils. The post-ride "wind-down" beverage is never slighted, nor should it be.

Get me?

Ok. Let’s do it this way: a list of home trails ridden by yours truly, and beers that match the ride. Fairly easy concept, right? As we all know, mountain bikers spend as much time talking about beer as we do about trails and bikes.

The place: Michaux, my home trails. Those in the know are aware of the forest named for the French botanist in south-central Pennsylvania. If you’re coming to ride for the first time, find these beers to celebrate your survival after riding the infamous trails of "me-SHOW." Keeping it local, the brews are made here in the Keystone State.

Grave Ridge: Weyerbacher Heresy. The whiskey barrels will help soothe the wounds after riding this super stout spine of boulders, tombstones and shark fins.

Three Mile: Victory Hop Devil. Both will bring a smile to your face. Enjoy.

Big Flat red trails = Troeg’s Nugget Nectar. They squeezed the hops like the trails will squeeze your bike-handling skills—for all they’re worth. Be sure to ride the reservoir as the sun goes down to experience the hazy orange color of the ale.

Teaberry area: Legacy Hedonism. Because it is indeed just that. Trails that fill you with pleasure go on and on and on.

Michaux in general = as you sit by the fire aching to all your bones, and with your tent within crawling distance, I recommend having a Victory Old Horizontal Barleywine in your hand. Likely, you will feel horizontal in your alignment after riding Michaux for the first time. It might just happen that Old Horizontal will put everything back into place for you, kind of like two horizontals make it straight.

There you have it, my guide of Michaux post-ride brews to you. Happy ridin’...I mean drinkin’... I mean ridin’ and then drinkin’.

Now it’s your turn. Send in your beer guide to your home trails so that when we are on the road, we will know what to pick up along the way for the trail talk after the ride. Remember to keep it local. The mantra is "Support local economies, drink local beers."

P.S. You can find any of said beers, and hundreds more, at KClinger’s Tavern in Hanover, home to the largest and finest beer inventory this side of the Mississippi. It also serves as a fine spot to end a day trip if heading back south or east from Michaux. Nope, I get no free beer for the plug. Just sharin’ the knowledge.

James Murren

Dirt Rag - 21 April 2007

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