I Survived The Poulsbo Beer Run

The morning after the spring daylight savings change always brings a special kind of pain. This year, one of my dearest friends, Lauren, and I decided to embrace that pain by signing up for the Poulsbo Beer Run. The run is held twice a year, an Oktoberfest themed race in the fall and a St. Paddy’s themed one in the spring, in the small Pacific Northwest town of Poulsbo, Washington. Poulsbo boasts a fairly large number of microbreweries for its small population, and most are within walking distance, making a local beer run tons of fun.

IMG_6067
At our second stop, Rainy Daze, rocking our somewhat suggestive but nevertheless festive green shirts!

The Poulsbo Beer Run, or “PBR” for short, allows you to visit 5 local breweries in just under a 4-mile loop. The participating breweries are Slippery Pig, Rainy Daze, Silver City (hosted by Envy bar and grill), Sound Brewing, and Valhöll. Your $42 entry fee gets you 6 beers, a finisher’s prize, bragging rights, and a morning you wont soon forget!

Lauren and I arrived downtown at 8am (I had to keep reminding myself not to think of it as 7am) dressed in our best green clothing. We started at Slippery Pig and were able to register morning of without problem. They limit the race to about 120 runners per brewery, so while you definitely get to enjoy the vibe of the crowd, it never feels crowded. When you sign up your race bib has 6 tear away tabs at the bottom, good for a beer at each brewery and then an extra for good measure back at your starting point with your finishers prize.

Each brewery offers a 10 oz. pour and provides a couple of options from their menu to choose from. When you arrive at the brewery you tear off one of the tabs from your bib and exchange it for the beer of your choice. If you don’t want a 10 oz. pour you can ask your beer tender for a “short pour,” so you aren’t wasting product.

At Slippery Pig we started with their Secret Kölsch and after getting past the fact that we were drinking a beer at 8am surrounded by people dressed like leprechauns, it was pretty pleasant. That’s another thing about the PBR, you can’t really think when you do it: you just have to do it. When I woke up did running four miles while drinking almost a half a gallon of beer before noon sound appealing? No. But by the time I arrived and found myself surrounded by like-minded (and equally crazy) people, it felt like the best possible way to spend a Sunday morning.

From Slippery Pig we ran the farthest leg of the race out to Rainy Daze. There, Lauren and I both opted for their Sod Slayer. It was light and citrusy which was nice and refreshing. They have a nice open air garage-like setting, which was great after we realized we were pretty toasty after the mile and a half there!

IMG_6063After Rainy Daze we headed across the street to Envy bar and grill, which hosts Silver City Brewery, as it’s located in Silverdale. Half of the bar is actually a restaurant, and I can only imagine what the people dining there thought of the event next door. Here these people were, just trying to enjoy a nice brunch when all of a sudden an army of green and orange clad tipsy runners comes barging through the doors… At Envy I had a Ridgetop Red, which was my favorite beer of the day, while Lauren tried their Clear Creek Pale Ale.

After reaching the halfway point we walked down the street to Sound Brewing where I had an amber off their guest tap list, and Lauren tried Sounds American Mosaic Pale Ale, which was a lot hoppier than most. While the ambiance was great, I think it was my least favorite stop. Because you could choose whatever you liked from the menu, the line was pretty long, and for someone who isn’t exactly a beer connoisseur, in this type of hectic setting I found it easier to have more limited options.

After making friends in the ladies room through shared admiration of various green tutu construction techniques, we headed back into downtown Poulsbo to Valhöll. Now, running up a hill after 5 beers could probably go either way in terms of ease or pain, but thankfully I felt the former rather than the later, and we made it to our penultimate stop in what seemed like no time. Valhöll is one of my favorite breweries in Poulsbo; I like the beer, the people, and the atmosphere. They also offered a passion fruit cider as an alternative which I thought was pretty cool. I opted for that, and it was super refreshing! After hanging for a while at Valhöll, we jogged down the hill back to Slippery Pig to claim our finisher’s prizes and final drink of the race.

For those of you considering participating in the PBR in the future, my best advice would

IMG_0063
Lauren and I enjoying Sluy’s maple doughboys and our last beer with friends we met at Envy, Justin and Laurie

be to take it easy and have fun with it! The beer is good, the volunteers are super friendly, the proceeds go to a good cause (this time it was Kitsap’s Blue Star Banner program, saluting local men and women serving our country), and it’s a fun way to engage with others in the community. While it is a “run” it’s by no means a race, and I would say it’s about 50/50 walkers and joggers, so don’t feel like you can’t participate because you aren’t a “runner.” There’s no time constraint at each brewery, so take your time and enjoy! The Poulsbo Beer Run is a great way to get out, get active, meet new people, catch up with old friends, and support local businesses.

The Weight Of Our Words

The most terrible thing about the writing process is that oftentimes, it’s most difficult when you need it the most. The moments you need nothing more than to empty your mind are also those where you sit endlessly, staring blankly at a page that refuses to fill itself. You want to take your anguish, the politics, and countless rejections and splatter them across the page, but as you sit to do so, you’re hindered by a sinking fear that it might not be as therapeutic as you think. As if writing these things will make them more difficult, increasing your frustrations because you’re not only thinking these things but seeing them written out in front of you. No, these thoughts aren’t just piled up in your mind anymore, now they’re heavy with the weight of reality. You’d hoped after putting the words to page they would lift from your chest, but instead they’ve been etched in, pinning you down.

It’s terribly and beautifully ironic that the words that need to be said are those that are most difficult to say. Or write. Or read. Sometimes you aren’t even sure what those words are, and sometimes you aren’t sure if you want to attempt to find them. Would it be better to stare at the unfilled lines on the page, or fill them with words you aren’t even certain that you mean? What if you mean them today and tomorrow you’ve changed?

Why do we write? To truly feel the weight of our words or to lift them from ourselves? To become surer of our place in this world, or to embrace the difficult existence of the unknown? Do we share our stories for the benefit of others or ourselves?

I’m not sure. But I don’t think I need to be sure, because that’s one of the great things about writing- very few things are certain. Most likely our answers to any of those questions depends more on the time and the words and who we are that day, than on any fixed certainty. All I know is that it’s not easy. It’s not easy to sit down and bleed every day. But it’s necessary. It’s necessary to share your experiences, your love, your pain, your thoughts, and your feelings. That’s how we know we’re not so alone. That we might not be the only one who thinks such lovely and dismal thoughts, or laughs at the same bad jokes, or who doesn’t agree with the way things are going. Through writing we find solidarity, and through that solidarity we find strength. And some days it takes all the strength we can muster to find beauty in this crazy world around us.