We are about a month deep into Spring, the days are getting longer, the temps are getting warmer and the Tour de Brew LNK is back! The first installment of the ride for the year featured the tasty brews from Oskar Blues and the money raised went to help the Matt Talbot Kitchen.
As is always the case we had to hightail it to Moran's after work to get registered for the ride, get our wrist bands, sample some brews and pickup our first of three raffle tickets for the night.
New this year at Moran's however is the super bad ass taproom and the "beer garden" permit that they will have for the events. The beer garden is a stroke of genius, I love Moran's but space was definitely at a premium when you start packing a hundred or more sweaty cyclists in there, plus I know that their business had to take a hit during these events as the usual customers were probably scared off by the huge crowds inside. Great thinking on their part and should make for a much more spacious and enjoyable time by rider and customer both.
Also new this year were sample snacks from A Street Market, also kind of a brilliant idea since they share a parking lot. If you're going to be over run by cyclists you might as well feed them, make a friend and hopefully a future customer all at the same time. Cyclists are like dogs in reality, a cold beverage, a little food and they're likely to follow you home.
After Moran's it was on to Cycle Works for more Oskar Blues and bike watching, big crowd last night. I haven't heard official numbers but it has to be one of the biggest if not the biggest first ride of the year since the event started.
Most bicycles that you see you drool over because it's some fancy, brand new, super light, exotic bicycle or some well maintained classic but every once in awhile you happen upon a truly unique bicycle. This was that bike last night, a Franken-bike collaboration of a tandem lover and taxidermists dream creation... IT'S ALIVE!!
I wasn't the only one drooling over bicycles last night, little guy wasn't tall enough to ride any of them but he sure was checking them out.
The amazingly scrumptious Kitchen Sink Cookie Company was back again this year, if you still haven't tried them you really need to.
One of the things that makes them so good is that they aren't afraid to go outside the box and make some unusual cookies that somehow just end up working and tasting really good. This one for example is the Magic Lunchbox, it is a peanut butter cookie with dried strawberries, topped with peanut butter buttercream, chocolate ganache and crushed up Cheez-Its (yes Cheez-Its the cracker). While it sounds a bit odd and perhaps scary, it tastes uh-mazing!
After cookies, beer and bicycle ogling, it was time to mount up and head out in search of food. The usual group was assembled for the rides again this year minus Kyle who went and moved to Des Moines but he seems to have been replaced by another random rider in the wrong place at the wrong time... oops.
Since it made the most sense to head to the Haymarket to grab a bite to eat we decided to venture on the spiffy new N Street Cycle Track to get down there safely.
We decided on Hop Cat, which was perfect for me since I had yet to make it down there to try them out and it's located quite conveniently near the N Street Cycle Track.
We weren't the only ones with Hop Cat on our minds so we put our names in for a table and grabbed a beer while we waited.
Being slightly hot and sweaty from riding down, we decided to take our beers outside and wait there on this absolutely gorgeous night. Unfortunately they didn't have servers out there or we would have stayed out on the patio for the meal as well, hopefully as the weather gets nicer that will change.
2016 has been a bad year for rock legends, the latest casualty being His Royal Badness, Prince passing away just that day. In his honor I toasted him with a Founders Nitro Rubaeus a very fruity but delicious Raspberry Beer-ret.
Shortly after arriving we were seated at our table and food followed there after. Food was good, beer selection was pretty good... it seemed a little spendy to me but I guess you have to make that Railyard rent somehow. Overall I'd say Hop Cat is a good place to go for a drink and bite to eat occasionally but the cost would probably prohibit most people from making it a regular spot to haunt. Silver lining might be that there would probably be fewer "poor college students" if that's not your scene.
With belly's full of beer and food it was time to head down to Empyrean's warehouse and get ready for some raffle prizes.
What better way to wash down the previous beer than with more beer, finely tuned bar-tending duo working the taps last night. Judging from the size of the bar tenders, those taps must be hard to pull... it's not often the bar tenders out weigh the bouncers.
The schwag was also flowing last night with lots of great prizes and in abundance.
You can always tell who is in charge by the different color of shirt and the supervisor stance.
It wasn't too long after we got there that it was time once again for the raffle portion of the evening.
But before that The Lincoln Bike Kitchen took the mic to pass along some thanks and information.
Not to be out done a representative from Matt Talbot Kitchen also took to the mic to show some gratitude and to explain the concept of what constitutes as a kitchen and what doesn't... OK, I totally made that last part up but it would have been funny.
With the housekeeping out of the way it was time to draw the numbers and dispense the radness.
Despite picking up extra tickets from someone leaving early my usual luck still held firm and I went home scoring zero schwag again. If it wasn't for bad luck I'd have no luck at all.
Luckily for my counterparts bad luck is not contagious, Drew was really pretty darn ecstatic winning his beer koozie.
Not to be out done, Joe and Vince also won a koozie.
Oh, Ed won a koozie as well but I'm not entirely convinced he knew what it was or how to properly use it so I'm not sure if that counts or not.
I swear Gary hasn't gone home empty handed from one of these rides yet, he started off with a t-shirt and then stepped up to an Oskar Blues bucket full of schwag.
Vince, Brian and his wife also scored a bucket for themselves, inside the buckets was a t-shirt, a koozie and stickers. That on top of the fact that the bucket itself makes a great prize that you can fill with ice to keep your beer cold on hot days made my more than a little jealous.
Ed rounded out his winning for the evening by scoring a Cycle Works water bottle with discount coupons inside of it.
Last but certainly not least, the better half won this awesome Dale's Pale Ale 3-D sign that will make a nice addition to any wall.
Grand prize winner for the night was this guy, he won a cooler full of schwag; one of which was a $100 gift card to Moran's. So if you know this gentleman, beers on him!
Another great Tour de Brew ride in the books and another fantastic group of people who made it out for the ride, the food, beer and prizes. See you all next month.
Oh yeah... also don't forget to sign up for the National Bike Challenge and log your miles from May 1st - Sept. 30th. Lincoln took first place the first year of the challenge but we've been bested by Madison Wisconsin the last two years so we need all your miles to help propel Lincoln back into the number one spot and really irritate some cheese-heads. Also if you enter the challenge, wear this sticker on your helmet and ride your bicycle to Moran's, they are offering $1 off your first beer during the months the challenge is going on.