High on Hops: Craft Brew Races

Nothing quenches a post-run thirst quite like a cold beer, and not surprisingly there is a large crossover between the craft beer and running communities.

Check out any street race and you’ll see T-shirts proclaiming the wearer a “Beer Runner” and homemade signs challenging participants to run harder in order to earn those beer calories.

Several craft breweries have gotten in on the beer and running combination by sponsoring their own races. A prime example is the annual Dogfish Dash, a charity run organized by Delaware’s Dogfish Head. Many other breweries, like NoDa in Charlotte, boast weekly running clubs where local enthusiasts trot for a few miles around the brewery before indulging in the spoils of fresh beer.

Craft Brew Races is taking the concept further by creating a nationwide running series that combines a spirited 5K route with a full-on craft beer festival waiting at the finish line.

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In its second year, Craft Brew Races will be hitting eight cities around the US. The 2016 race calendar kicks off March 12 in Savannah, GA and concludes on October 2nd in Cape Cod. In between, cities like Boulder, CO and Stowe, VT host events throughout the spring, summer and early fall.

While many runners are accustomed to celebrating a trip across the finish line with a single “light” or “ultra” macrobrew from a race sponsor, the Craft Brew Races experience is much more immersive, promising more than thirty breweries at each event. The available beer has a strong local craft focus but you can also expect highly regarded national labels.

Matt Gray, founder of Craft Brew Races, had previously promoted separate beer festivals and road races through his marketing firm. But he quickly found there was a niche to combine them. “There is a great crossover in people between beer and running,” says Gray. “They go hand in hand and they always have, but the craft beer movement allowed us to have this opportunity.”

Find a Craft Brew Races event near you by visiting CraftBrewRaces.com.