Post-ride Beer #001: The 3rd Rail
It seems like a fairly common ritual for mountain bikers to crack open a round of cold brews to wet the grins inspired by the last downhill of the day…
Truth be told, sometimes it’s the thought of that post-ride melange of hops and malt that drives one to finish the last brutal climb or long tough stretch of gravel. That being said, it’s definitely one of my favorite parts of the sport. And although I’ve never reviewed a beer, wine or anything consumable for that matter, I was inspired to start sharing some of the finer cold ones that cross my trail.
On a recent ride in the Bent Creek Experimental Forest, right outside of Asheville, I rode for a short period of time with a gentleman named Todd who informed me that he was about to embark on an extended journey through the Western states touring prized single-track destinations and craft breweries. Sounded pretty cool, and after marinating in jealousy for a minute or so, I asked him what his current favorite local craft brew was and he pointed me toward the Wedge ‘3rd Rail’ Imperial IPA. After a nice descent down Ingles Field Gap, we made our way to the Wedge Brewery in the River Arts District.
I knew it was love at first sight when I saw that the nicely outfitted exterior of the brewery was complete with it’s own vendor window dedicated solely to IPAs. Within moments I had a snifter full of the silky amber, honey-colored goodness. Again, not being a beer sommelier, I could simply tell you that it was damn good. But, I will elaborate a little and say it has a pretty big piney, hoppy flavor with citrus hints accompanied by a slight sweetness, typical of a high-gravity IPA, that smoothed out the 100 IBUs of hoppiness. Here is what Wedge says and I couldn’t agree more:
The 3rd Rail
This Imperial IPA is the Iron Rail on steroids. With twice as many hops as the Iron rail, it clocks in at about 100 IBUs! (International Bittering Units)
Aroma: A hop menagerie with balanced malt sweetness
Tasting/Flavor: Hops like silk
Finish: Endless hop layers and thanks to the honey malt, not strongly bitter