Beer and running. They go together like sprinkles and ice cream, balloons and conventions, lean and Lil Wayne, Leslie Jones and the Olympics. Here at the Beer Me desk of Portland Monthly, we think quality malt beverage adds frizzante to just about any activity. Especially running.
Some Minnesotans agree with us. And when they moved here recently—because Portland—they brought with them a version of their home state’s upstart Brewery Running Series.
Starting this October, watch for the inaugural season of the series’ Oregon “chapter”: 5K(ish) routes that depart from Portland breweries like Baerlic and Laurelwood, loop through neighborhood sidewalks, parks, and bike lanes, and conclude back at said brewery for pints, perks, and general partying.
“The formula is pretty simple,” says Nathan Freeburg, co-organizer of the Oregon spin-off, web designer, and stay-at-home dad. “We’re going off the idea that there’s so many monster races. We make this clear at registration: these aren’t speedy races; there’s stopping, no timer. In some cases we might walk a block or two to start.”
The concept is essentially a beginner’s pace group run, limited in size to the capacity of each brewery, with helpful volunteers at every turn to make sure participants don’t get lost, jay-run, or fly into traffic. (This isn’t hashing, folks.) The Saturday runs—scheduled between October 8 and November 12—start at a respectable 11 am. Registration is $30, which includes a post-run pint, series glass, and product samples like Bend-based Picky Bars. Simple, easy, breezy, boozy.
The idea proved an easy sell for Freeburg and his collaborators: two recently relocated Minnesotans who share his love of laces and libations. Last year, they decided to try for an Oregon spin-off, one that piggybacked off the parent series' online infrastructure (as do spin-offs in Colorado, Illinois, and soon, Washington.) This Fourth of July, they went for it—sending an email to 20 Portland brewers. Within weeks, six had volunteered to host fall 2016 runs; more breweries lined up for the future.
“What’s been surprising is how unconcerned the breweries are,” says Freeburg, with a nod to the logistical headaches such events could bring. “Ecliptic said yes after one email. And Colin at Migration has had lots of ideas for partners. The culture of craft beer in Oregon—it seems like everyone is so willing to work together.”
The series kicks off with an August 20 open house at Portland Running Company. After the winter holidays, Freeburg says he and his partners will decide whether to continue the series in other seasons—and other parts of the state.
“Portland is a beer mecca, and in many ways it’s also a running mecca," says Freeburg. "We’ll never get rich off this, but it is a great way to stay connected.”
Oregon Brewery Running Series: Fall 2016 Schedule:
- Aug 20—Kick-off Party at Portland Running Company (free with registration)
- Oct 8—Base Camp Brewing
- Oct 15—Migration Brewing
- Oct 22—Upright Brewing
- Oct 29—Baerlic Brewing
- Nov 5—Laurelwood Brewing
- Nov 12—Ecliptic Brewing