Two weeks ago, after a long, cold, dreary winter, we were treated to one of the most beautiful Saturdays we'd had in a long time: clear, blue sky; winds calm; sunshine bright and warm — almost too warm for late April, the kind of day that makes you think Maryland is about to wave its magic wand and, poof, make spring disappear. But it was the perfect day to ride bikes, drink beer, and listen to a band.
If you enjoy Flying Dog beer but have yet to visit its "state of the art" brewery in Frederick, it's absolutely worth the trek.
Thursday through Sunday, the brewery — a hidden gem unassumingly nestled within a non-descript business park — offers free tours and a tasting room with up to 20 beers on tap, along with merchandise and beer-to-go, where you can sample and purchase innovative brewhouse rarities such as Mimosa Beer, Guava Juice IPA and Sweet & Smokey Stout that, according to Flying Dog's website, "push the confines of modern beer styles."
Boasting a cozy, indoor tasting room as well as a dog-friendly outdoor patio — dotted with fire pits and often ringed by various food trucks — there is plenty of space to relax and savor your brew of choice.
But it wasn't only the beer that lured my husband and me to Flying Dog on the last Saturday in April, but the bikes. With very agreeable rolling start times between 9:30-10:30 AM, the brewery hosted its annual Bikes & Beers event featuring a 15-mile and a 30-mile ride departing from the brewery and traveling along the beautiful country roads of Frederick County. In exchange for a reasonable registration fee of $40 — a portion of which supports BIKE MD to help improve cycling conditions in the state of Maryland — we were treated to a Bikes and Beers pint glass and Koozie, two free beers of our choice, live music, outdoor games, and access to two food trucks, as well as a free raffle ticket for a chance to win a new bike, restaurant gift certificates, cycling gear, and other prizes.
Aligning with Flying Dog's slogan — "Good people drink good beer" — the Bikes and Beers event was a perfect way to have fun while giving back.
The ride itself was casual — a ride, not a race — and the post-ride festivities had the laid-back vibe of a picnic or concert, with Spandex-clad people sprawled on the grass, lounging on patio chairs and benches, and engaged in a lively rounds of cornhole and other lawn games.
We also met a friendly group of cyclists who very nearly have us talked into joining them for Ride Allegheny in the fall, a four-day, 310-mile trek from Pittsburgh to Gaithersburg to support Operation Second Chance.
Overall, Bikes & Beers was a great ride with great people supporting a great cause and drinking great beer on a great Saturday in April.
We will definitely be back — for the bikes, and the beers.