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Runners and beer lovers join forces in this Columbia event series

For Howard Magazine

Runners and beer lovers are joining forces in Columbia for a workout and a free beer.

Hysteria Brewing Co. and Charm City Run have crossed a pub crawl with a running club in a series of events called Trails and Ales, attracting dozens of runners who spend their third Thursday evenings traveling the path around Lake Elkhorn, then gathering for a pint.

“The run has a great community feel,” says Zachary Michel, marketing director for Hysteria, which opened last summer and specializes in bold-flavored beers like Yellow Sudmarine, a pale wheat ale, and Trash Panda, an American IPA. “It’s a fun social event where you can get out, meet people and end up at the pub for a nice night.”

Hysteria’s cozy taproom forgoes the sports-bar feel for picnic-table-style seating and a take-a-book-leave-a-book library. It’s all part of an effort to get people coming to the brewery for more than a drink, Michel says.

“It’s about getting out into the community and getting people involved in the brewery and not just coming to the taproom for beer,” he says. “We want people to get involved, and we ourselves want to be members of the Columbia community.”

The first Trails and Ales run in October attracted more than 60 people with a Halloween costume theme; in December, another themed event drew runners in festive holiday gear. This year, the 5K runs will be held every other month.

Cynthia Vissers, a fun run coordinator and sales associate at Charm City Run, says the Trails and Ales gatherings help bring awareness that Hysteria is more than a brewery.

“The vibe at Hysteria is really warm and cozy and a great atmosphere to hang out in if you’re having a beer, a glass of water or nothing,” Vissers says.

Lisa Wheatley, 41, of Laurel, says that she wouldn’t have known about Hysteria if it weren’t for the runs. She’s not much of a beer drinker, she says, but enjoys socializing.

“It’s a nice break from mom life, and it’s always fun to end up at the brewery,” says Wheatley, who has two sons and three stepchildren.

Sarah Mattos, 34, of Columbia, says she was excited that the runs include hitting the trail at night, something she wasn’t comfortable doing alone.

“It’s neat to be out around the lake in the dark,” she says.

Mattos says usually sticks around for a beer or a bite after a run, sipping on the Marzen-style Hoodie Season or munching on Cajun food from a nearby truck.

The brewery, which also hosts monthly book club meetings, weekly trivia nights and periodic Paint Nite events, is looking to start a cycling club in the spring.

“These events are about us sharing our passions, meeting people and having fun,” Michel said.

If you go

Trails and Ales

March 15 at 6:30 p.m. Free.

Start: Charm City Run, 7090 Deepage Drive, Columbia

Finish: Hysteria Brewing Co., 9570 Berger Road, Suite J, Columbia

410-630-8319 or

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