Rambles: Hermitage Magnum Single Hop, Running Pastor and World Record Beer Milers

You’ll feel lucky after drinking Magnum Single Hop IPA from Hermitage

I’ve been finding more and more interesting stories, news, and beers that were worth a mention, but for whatever reason, couldn’t devote an entire post to.  So instead of keeping these things buried, I decided to accumulate them release them in small batches called “Rambles”.  So welcome to the first of these random dispatches of noteworthy beer and running news, bits, and whatnot.

Hermitage Brewing’s Magnum Single Hop IPA
Hermitage Brewing recently released Magnum Single Hop IPA latest in their single hop IPA series.  It’s an unexpected choice for a single hop IPA, since Magnum hops are best known as a “bittering” hop.  Brewers use bittering hops for background, allowing hops with like Willamette, Cascade, or Chinook to take the forefront in the beers flavor profile.  Brewing an IPA entirely with Magnum hops is like conducting an orchestra entirely composed of tubas.

But hey, the beer works.  It doesn’t have the more brighter, citrus flavors of typical West Coast IPA.  Instead, there’s a softer, warmer, and lightly piney vibe making this a great change of pace IPA.  Further proof that despite the glut of IPA’s, brewers continue to innovate on the style.

A Couple Other Good Beers
I really enjoyed Almanac Farmer’s Reserve #3,  This light ale is aged for a year in white wine barrels, fermented with a Belgian yeast blend,  and made with strawberries and nectarine.  The tangy flavors from the yeast, strawberries and nectarines play off one another really well.  Summer in a glass.

To my slight surprise, I’ve found the crisp, lightly lemony Goose Island’s 312 Urban Wheat Ale to be my go-to lawn mower beer lately.   Yes, it is an ABInBev product.  Please spare me the Craft vs. Crafty nonsense.

Pastor Running for Clean Water in Africa
Running across the country this summer at a rate of about one marathon per day, is Steve Spear, a 49-year old pastor raising money for Team World Vision to provide clean water for impoverished regions of Africa.  According to a press release, Steve will run 3,200 miles, burn through 6,100 calories a day, and go through 10 pairs of running shoes while speaking with various churches and religious organizations across the country about the need for clean water in Africa.  Funny thing is that not too long ago, Steve absolutely hated running.  You’ll find more about his remarkable story and journey here.

Want to Set a Beer Mile PR?
For those who want to test their ultimate limits in a Beer Mile, this interview with Tasmanian Josh Harris, who recently broke the Beer Mile World Record, is required reading.

On Beer Miles and Chunder Runs

A recent announcement by Runners Drink Beer of their upcoming Beer Mile on August 5th brought back memories of the Chunder Runs I used to run in back in my collegiate cross-country days. Chunder is Australian slang for barf, and the legend was that the original Chunder Runs started in Australia and consisted of about 10 miles and several beers. Each runner had to carry a bucket and anything they could hold down was supposed to expelled into the bucket and carried all the way to the finish line.

The Washington University Cross-Country Team Chunder Run, held around midnight once the season was over, didn’t involve any buckets, but was five miles long. A twelve ounce beer was consumed at the start, and then after each mile, and once you crossed the finish line, you had to finish another 12 ounce beer before your race was officially over, so a six-pack was consumed over the course of the five mile run. With that many beers over five miles, some pretty serious projectile vomiting was basically unavoidable. And running flat out, as fast as I could go, with my whole body numb and my mind hazy from the alcohol is pretty surreal, not to mention a bit dangerous. I am not kidding when I tell you that winning the 1985 Washington University Cross-Country Chunder Run is one of my proudest running accomplishments.

I later learned managing a track and field listserver in the mid-90’s that “Chunder Runs” were pretty common with distance runners all over the world. Someone brought up the topic during the off-season, and all of sudden the listserver was full of posts describing various Chunder Runs held all over the world, mostly “announced” through word of mouth between training partners. I even found an “official” site of Beer Mile rules and records. Clearly, these beer races have resonated with runners all over the world. for decades.

As I am prone to seek deep significance in juvenile activities, I couldn’t help ask myself “Why so many Chunder Runs?”   I believe its because runners are constantly pushing limits, managing physical discomfort in their bodies, and finding enjoyment doing something most people find dreadful. That basically describes a Chunder Run, which explains why they are an enduring, if underground, part of running culture.