One of our local mountain biking clubs has a motto: "We're a drinking club with a cycling problem."
Of course this is tongue and cheek, but a post-ride pint is pretty common for groups and clubs who train and race together.
While the drink itself is enjoyable and something to look forward to, the social component is perhaps even more so—it's a great way to bond with likeminded people, share stories about the day's efforts and scheme up the next week's route.
We gathered a few of our favorite post-ride alcoholic drinks, from an IPA at a local brewery to diet-friendly low-calorie cocktails. Note that alcoholic beverages aren't the best recovery drinks (but you already knew that), and everyone metabolizes alcohol differently. Please enjoy responsibly and in moderation.
A Local IPA
More popular than ever, we all have our favorite local breweries that craft small-batch deliciousness. Meeting at the brewery itself to enjoy beer on tap is always a fan favorite, but if not, keep some of its bottles or cans in the fridge to enjoy at home after a ride. These brews are generally heavier, are loaded with carbs and have a higher alcohol content, but they're often tastier (isn't that the point?). Plus, you're supporting a local small business. Call it a win-win.
One of our favorites: Figueroa Mountain Hoppy Poppy IPA
For the beer drinker looking for a less-guilty option, light beers are the way to go. They're lower in both alcohol and calories but still have carbs that can help replenish glycogen stores (yes, there is some evidence of this). There are a handful of companies that market toward the "active" customer, including Michelob Ultra, Sufferfest Beer Company, Athletic Brewing Co. (non-alcoholic) and Omission Brewing (crafted to remove gluten), but this mostly comes down to preference.
One of our favorites: Omission Ultimate Light Golden Ale
If dark beers are more your thing, good news! They have more antioxidants, B vitamins and carbohydrates. Guinness is a perennial go-to for a malty sweetness with notes of coffee and chocolate, but with the rise of microbreweries, there are lots of alternatives worth exploring. Look for porter, stouts, lagers and brown ales, and note alcohol content can vary pretty dramatically in this category.
One of our favorites: Belching Beaver Peanut Butter Milk Stout
With the meteoric rise of White Claw, it seems like everyone has thrown their hat into the ring to produce their own version of a hard seltzer. For people who don't enjoy beer, these are a great option—they're gluten free, have a similar caloric content to light beers (no, they aren't calorie-free like most people think), and come in wide range of fruity flavors that mirror many sports drinks. Hard seltzers also have varying levels of alcohol content, from around five percent up to around nine.
One of our favorites: Truly Hard Seltzer Strawberry Lemonade
This takes a bit more preparation than simply grabbing a can of beer from your fridge, but margaritas are always appreciated after hot summer rides—especially if chips and salsa are included. Most margaritas are made with syrupy sweet and sour mix, but we tend to prefer the "skinny" alternative. It's more involved since it includes fresh lime juice, orange juice and agave nectar, but the end result is healthier, more natural and simply more delicious.
One of our favorite recipes: Skinny Margaritas by Cook + Kate
It's hard to find a cocktail more refreshing and simpler than a vodka soda. It only uses two ingredients—vodka and soda water (duh)—and it's a low-calorie option that can be whipped up in no time. If this is too plain, try mixing with a sparkling water like La Croix or a lime wedge, lemon wedge or raspberries to give it some additional flavor (and electrolytes).
One of our favorite recipes: Vodka Soda by Dinners, Dishes & Desserts
A Bottle of ... Anything
Some clubs have a rule, if there's something in your life to celebrate, bring a bottle of liquor to share after the next ride (just don't forget the plastic shot glasses). This might be a new baby announcement, a new job, a new bike or even simply new tires on your bike. While tasty and a good way to let loose, straight tequila or whiskey certainly isn't classified as a recovery drink. It has a super high alcohol content, and a shot can have a similar amount of calories as a beer.
One of our favorite bottles: Jameson Black Barrel Irish Whiskey
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