Post-ride Beer: A Desolate Divide on this Eastward Metamorphosis
A Desolate Divide on this Eastward Metamorphosis is our new collaboration with Burial Beer Co., a symbolic post-ride beer for the Eastern Divide Trail. You can find a look into the process and meaning behind its name and see detailed photos of the artwork here. Plus, learn how you can get a sample or poster…
It’s funny to think back on the first time I connected with Burial Beer. It was September of 2014, and my riding buddy Dustin and I were on a mission to scout one of the very first bikepacking routes published on this site, the Appalachian Beer Trail. We had organized meetups with a few of the most interesting breweries in the region, and the goal was to sample beer and capture photos for the route and an article I was working on for Dirt Rag (issue #181). The craft beer scene was relatively young at that point, but it was clear there were several innovative breweries we needed to include. Burial was barely a year old and already had a reputation as one of the best in the Southeast. The brewery was started by Tim Gormley and Doug and Jess Reiser, who previously worked on a blog documenting the quickly moving craft beer scene.
That Sunday in September, Dustin and I were slightly beat after a hearty ride from Old Fort to Asheville, North Carolina. We rolled up to the Burial facility on Collier Ave in the early afternoon. Tim was the only person on site. He had been working on a new batch and was hosing down equipment on the loading dock, wearing jeans tucked into a pair of tall gumshoes. At that point, the taproom had just been expanded, and they had recently upgraded from a one-barrel system to a 10-barrel operation based on high demand. Still, it had the energy of a young passion project that Tim was clearly into full steam ahead. He poured us a few tastings of fresh beers that were on tap, including their flagship Surf Wax IPA.
Needless to say, craft beer in western North Carolina has exploded since then, as it has in many places. Their location at 40 Collier Ave is now barely recognizable compared to what it was then. Burial has been on a steady boom trajectory, adding taprooms in Charlotte, Raleigh, and another facility in Asheville called Forestry Camp. They also built a new brand called VISUALS, offering wine, cider, and vermouth. Growth didn’t squelch quality, however. Burial’s beer is still the gold standard of the region, with awards and high marks for their incredible IPAs, top-shelf stouts, and a continued tradition of exceptional creativity. Just last year, they took the honor of being voted Best Small Craft Brewery in Craft Beer and Brewing, a well-respected industry publication. That’s no small feat, and it’s worth noting that they tied with Vermont’s Hill Farmstead for this prestigious title (any self-respecting beer nerd will likely understand the gravity of that statement).
I’ve reconnected with Burial on a few occasions since that first trip, including on the initial Appalachian Gravel Growler ride. Burial has always been the trophy stop on these beer-themed rides. Not only because they make great beer, but I feel like our brands have a certain symmetry. Despite our wildly different markets and offerings, we both share a lot of the same values and a creative impetus that comes from the natural world. I was excited to hear from Burial again several months ago when Chris McClure, their Director of Brand and Marketing, reached out about a collaboration. Long story short, after a few rides together, some beer tastings, and a little bit of brainstorming, A Desolate Divide on this Eastward Metamorphosis was born.
After our initial discussion, I saw this as an opportunity to collaborate on something of a “post-ride beer” for the Eastern Divide Trail. Not in the literal sense, but more as a beer to toast the completion—or at least the completion of phase one—of this massive effort that’s taken up a lot of my time and attention over the past few years. Conveniently, the beer launched yesterday, and we published the final segment of the EDT today. The full route is now out there and ready to ride.
So, about the beer. Back in 2013, Post-ride Beer was a regular column on what was then a blog. I’m by no means a professional beer critic, but it was a fun way of weaving rides in with another hobby. It’s been a while since I’ve published one. But before I add my two cents, here’s what Burial has to say about A Desolate Divide on this Eastward Metamorphosis, a 6.5% IPA. For the record, their descriptions are literary works of art, especially if you’re a connoisseur of heavy metal. They call it “An intentional journey into the endless embrace of suffering. A celebratory refreshment with our friends at Bikepacking.com to reward those on the path of the Eastern Divide Trail. Made with our heralded Heavy Resin treatment, using Incognito and Cryo in our whirlpool before a double dry-hop with Mosaic, Simcoe, Cashmere, and a finishing dose of Cryo.” They also went on to add this in their Instagram description: “Ride into a mist of blueberry sorbetto, candied peach rings, and grapefruit pixies.”
Chris and I went on a ride a few days ago where he got the photos above, and yesterday I had a chance to taste A Desolate Divide on this Eastward Metamorphosis on tap at Burial. I’m not going to give too much away, other than saying it’s excellent, and I’m delighted with how it turned out. While it was conceived as an East Coast IPA, it has a crisp, dry essence that almost makes it seem like a perfect blend of East and West Coast IPA styles. In order to get more than that—and the write up from Burial above—you’ll have to try one for yourself. It’s now available in cans and on draft at all Burial taprooms and selected retailers. And it can be ordered online here too if your state allows.
Even though the beer is fantastic, as is its name, the piece de resistance of this project is the artwork. Burial’s one-liner pretty well sums up the concept behind this masterpiece by artist David Paul Seymour (@davidpaulseymour). An intentional journey into the endless embrace of suffering. The Eastern Divide Trail is an epic route, to say the least. We wanted the visual to depict not only elements from the natural world along this incredibly diverse route, but also the suffering and reward that riders carry on such a journey. Oh, and you can pick up one of these beautiful posters at the taproom for $25.
Many thanks to Burial Beer Co. It was such a fun collaboration, and I’m looking forward to the ride and “Off Topic” event this weekend. If you’re in the area, join us on Sunday, October 9th, at 5 p.m. at the Burial South Slope lower beer garden. Enjoy a guided tasting of our collaboration beer (and more) and a conversation about the EDT, the longest bikepacking route in the world, running from Newfoundland to Key West. This route took four years to plan and map out. Come learn about the journey. Tickets are just $10, can be purchased at the bar day-of, and include the guided tasting and take home glassware. Details here. Lastly, if you’re not following @burialbeer on Instagram, I highly recommend it for the excellent art and high-quality content. Cheers!
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