Good morning, good morning! “Up and at ’em!” as they obnoxiously say. Today Matt and I go to Sacramento to visit two breweries: Rubicon Brewing Company and Hoppy Brewing. Out of Adelaide at 8am and on the road. It would take way too long for me to take the BART to El Cerrito (just north of Berkley) and begin riding…or the ferry from San Francisco bay to El Vallejo, another good starting point. So instead of those two modes of transportation, I opted for door number three….Matt’s car! Matt and I talked about how cool this is going to be, as this will be the first day in which I’ll be riding a long distance and he’ll be at our destination before me, getting things organized for some pics and video. I’m a little nervous about my legs being ready for this 65-mile ride, my first for this “Beer on a Roll” ride. Only one thing to do…take the bike off the rack and just do it.
I took out my adventure cycling association maps, and focused on the one from El Vallejo to Sacramento. The route goes through some small towns, farmland, and also Davis (which has UC Davis, a great university with a beautiful campus), before finally coming to Sacramento. About the maps….they rock! They are very detailed, have much info about services, camping, etc, are very hard to tear, and are also waterproof. So I can get rained on–Hell yeah! So I took off from El Vallejo and pumped the pedals. I’m glad I decided to buy clip-on pedals and shoes before this crazy trip. I feel like I am using my legs much more efficiently as I pedal up and down hills. I therefore have more energy and less soreness or physical pains. Only 10 minutes into the journey, I began ascending some freaking hills. 🙂 But hey, it’s a beautiful day today, and I *did* train fairly well back in San Diego (Torrey Pines hill was a good practice:).
I was booking at a pretty good pace, and was wondering about my speed, but my computer wasn’t working (damnit!). I played with it alittle, but to no avail. I’ll really check it out when we get to the hotel tonight. Anyway, I was confident as I took the roads and side streets to get to my final destination of Sacramento by 4pm as these maps are very clear and accurate. I took off from El Vallejo at 10am, so I will need to haul ass to cover 65 miles up and down hills with only 6 hours to do it (and somehow take some breaks as well). A quarter of the way into the ride, I passed farmland (lots o’ grapes), and then several wineries nearby. I wanted to make a stop for some California wine! About halfway though the ride I was on Putah Creek Trail, which was in a very rural area that seemed to continue for miles. Then all of the sudden…yes! it’s not just a name–a creek appeared adjacent to a street where you could take a load off at one of the several nice restaurants in this intimate area. I almost said, “Screw it, let’s chill for a few minutes and have a quaff of ale.” But I was committed to making it to Rubicon Brewery Company at 4pm. So I kept pumping those pedals!
I was in some serious rural areas until about 15 miles later when I began to see trees and homes on the horizon. I also saw alot of students, and then whammo!…I’m at the campus of UC Davis. What a pleasant part of town that I biked through: many trees, campus life, the student ghetto (students on their lawn just chilling), local people bicycling, a smattering of independent restaurants and shops. Man, I think I could have gone to school here (although back in the 1800’s it might have looked different). I came alongside a student on his bike and asked him if he liked the community. “I love it here; it’s great”, he told me. He asked me what I was doing and when I told him he said, “I’m clocking into work right now at this bar. Let me get my manager and if you come through again, maybe you can stop here.” Sounds good to me. So I stopped at the bar, met the manager, exchanged some info, and I was on my way again.
Another 15 miles to Sacramento, but it was so nice that almost all the way in, there was a bike path. Freaking awesome! Although I was going at a pretty good clip, I was going to be late for our 4pm meeting, but Glynn Phillips, the owner of Rubicon Brewing Company was willing to wait. Thanks Glynn. About 5 miles from Sacramento, I met up with a serious biker, who was nearly completing 150 miles that day. What an animal! Totally cool guy too. We had the same pace, so we chatted for a bit. When I told him what I was doing he said, “You’re an animal!” So we’re both animals. 🙂 After a few miles we split up, but what a great guy…inspiring too.
After biking over a bridge, I entered into the beautiful (which I was not anticipating) downtown area of Sacramento. I’m not sure I’ve ever encountered so many trees. It’s got a small town feel about too, which the locals told me they loved. I got alittle lost when coming up Capitol street to Rubicon Brewing Company and this one guy on his bike asked me if I needed assistance. “Rubicon, yeah I can get you there…I’m going in the same direction.” It turns out this guy is the city bicycling lane developer, and he knew the short cuts to Rubicon. Nice! Thanks dude!
Finally, after 65 miles of hauling ass, I came up to Rubicon Brewing Company, nestled in the area of Sacramento called Mid-Town. I could totally live here! What a calm, peaceful place–trees and more trees, a good vibe and nothing congested about it (unlike other cities). Matt filmed me arriving to the curb and locking my bike outside Rubicon. Glynn, again–the way cool owner, greeted me and immediately ordered me some water (thanks!) and a beer (of course!). Glynn has been the owner of Rubicon Brewing Company for 7 years now, and he knows plenty about restaurants and pubs, having a rich background in that industry even before taking over Rubicon. Glynn took me on a tour of their brewery, then we had three samples of their most popular brews (although they are all amazing). The Monkey Knife Fight Pale Ale was my favorite: an American style Pale Ale, made with crystal malts and Mt. Hood hops, then dry-hopped with Cascade for a perfect balance. The food at Rubicon is outstanding—truly remarkable and delicious. Matt and I both had one of their amazing burgers (and that’s an understatement). After that delicious bite with a brew….on to our next stop, Hoppy Brewing Company.
Again, Matt filmed me arriving on my bike at Hoppy Brewing Company’s Brewpub, and I was immediately greeted by Scott Patterson, the Director of Sales and Distribution. Scott is one of the nicest, most energetic guys you will ever meet…and I mean genuinely nice. For example while at Hoppy, Matt got his bike stolen from the back of his car (where it was attached on the rack). It was in an adjacent parking lot, not Hoppy’s but even so—-Scott was so cool as to have one of his employees check the video feed from the restaurant anyway. It was painstaking. They could not find anything, as it occurred too far from Hoppy. Unfortunately, Matt was not able to get his bike back , but just taking the time to check it out was very nice. I felt bad for Matt, as it was a decent bike, but I guess that stuff can happen. It’s too bad that people choose to take what is not theirs.
Hoppy Brewing Company is considered a small (they even say our “little” company) establishment, but they are so popular—people love them! They have great customer service—which doesn’t surprise me at all, considering having Scott as part of their upper ranks. They have been around for about 20 years, so that tells you alot about them. Currently the company is both growing their brewpub while at the same time self-distributing their products to retailers in the Sacramento area. They have 10 products on tap at the brewpub. Scott shared his sampler platter which included their Lights, Mediums, and Darks. I really enjoyed their Liquid Sunshine Blonde Ale (Light), and Hoppy Face Amber Ale (Medium). They also have an excellent menu of great pub food. I had the tasty chicken wings (of course). Thanks Scott and Hoppy Brewpub for an excellent visit.
Matt and I went back to the hotel in Sacramento, and that’s all she wrote. I hit the sack almost immediately.