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.
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!
After 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
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.