Road Trips, Beer, and Hayduke Lives

07 May 2019 Published in Haas Style Blog

With Summer rounding Spring’s corner, the season of the road trip is upon us. Nothing pairs with road trips quite like the fermented barley beverage we affectionately call  “beer”. Now, let’s not get all George “Hayduke” Washington with this. If you’re a fan of Edward Abbey, you know that Hayduke is America’s rogue defender of the Red Rock country who measures driving distances in 6-packs consumed.

Road trips are an excellent opportunity to visit breweries and meet like minded folks in other areas of the country.  According to CraftBeer.com now is the best time to be a craft beer fan with over 7,000 of these establishments in the US alone.  Surely there’s one close by your next route from Salt Lake City.

When my wife and I hit the road we actively look for three ways to connect with the local craft beer folk and Industry.

  Packaged Craft

In the event we don’t find a local brewery within a reasonable distance from our Hayduke path, we’ll look to stores that sell beer and find new beer we’ve never had from the region.  We always bring a cooler to tuck away our new found score. Upon the arrival to our destination, we crack a cold craft to celebrate. On a recent trip through the American Southwest my wife and I discovered more than a dozen new packaged beers and 8 new breweries.  How do I keep track? I journal each day, and one of the categories in my journal is “new beer” and “new breweries”.

Local Pubs that serve Regional Beer

You’ll be surprised, but even in the smallest of towns you’ll find roadside taverns that sell more than bud light. Ask the bartender what local or regional beer they have and you’ll likely find a treasure trove of little known beers.  Don’t be discouraged if you don’t find them on a draft system under a fancy tap handle. You may find them packaged and hidden under the bar counter in a small “locals only” refrigerator.

We love to frequent these places as it provides an opportunity to learn more about the locals while drinking their beer.  You’ll find nothing but friendliness when you greet locals with curiosity. We’ve been delighted by these conversations and the things we’ve learned from them.  If you are flexible in your travel schedule, be sure to ask them “If you were traveling through this area and were to find the best can’t-miss spot to camp, hike, or fish , where would you go?”  take notes, break out your maps and be prepared to coddiwomple*.

In particular, our trips to Wisconsin have proven to be the best for discovering these tiny town taverns featuring local and regional beers, and the friendliness you’ve heard so much about from those WI folk.

Breweries

Obviously my favorite way to experience local craft and local culture are local breweries.  You all know what I’m talking about. The stuff you can’t get in a can nor find in a bottle lives in the tap room of these fine establishments.  The like minded beer lovers congregate for conversations and craft. Ideas are born here that will change the world, this I’m sure of. Nothing quite like filling a pint with a new (to you) brewerie’s craft and sharing a conversation with people you’d call friends at home.

Some of our favorite breweries have been in places we didn’t know a brewery existed like Nickel Brewery in the mountains of Julian California.  Or most recently our road trip down Baja Mexico and discovering El Zopilote in Loreto and Todos Santos Brewery in Todos Santos, Baja Sur. 

Anyway you slice it, there’s nothing more American than road trip adventures.  And, in my humble opinion, no better way to enhance that trip than with a palate teasing, locally crafted, craft beer.

 P.S. We’ve come a long way since the time Edward Abbey created the Hayduke character.  In the more than 4 decades since writing The Monkey Wrench Gang, we’ve managed to quell our thirst of drinking while driving and we’ve managed to stop throwing beer cans out the window of moving vehicles.  Let’s keep it that way.

Cheers,

*Coddiwomple - To travel towards an as yet determined destination.  English slang.