Bikes and social drinking are good friends. Example: the group rides in American cities that terminate at a craft brew-pub. Or the Bavarian beer brewed for die Radler, or cyclists. It’s known to this day as a radler.
Now Auckland’s bike community has its own example. Bike Brew – a summer beer in the tradition of the original radler, brewed right here in Auckland in a collaboration between Bike Auckland and alt-brewers Brothers Beer.
The beer itself pays homage to Germany’s radler which, the story has it, was first created by a Bavarian innkeeper in the 1920s. Threatened with his pub being drunk dry by hordes of thirsty cyclists, he diluted his beer with citrus juice. The resulting beverage, light and refreshing with a zing of lime, was an instant hit.
Brothers Beer’s own take on a cyclist’s beer is similarly light and summery — the perfect beer to stock up for the bach, Christmas party or any summer event.
“We use an ale yeast and add corn and some rice. Using those grains gives it a very light mouth-feel; they’re not as heavy as some of the other grains we use,” Brothers Beer founder Anthony Browne explains. “It keeps the beer very clean tasting. It’s our least hopped beer — not a beer with a lot of bitterness. It still very crisp but it’s a much softer beer on the palate. And then of course we add some lime juice to it.”
To Anthony, Bike Brew is where two passions – beer and cycling – meet. The beer part is no surprise; he’s been making the stuff since 2012, when he and a mate first opened Brothers Beer at the City Works Depot. And the cycling? It turns out that loads of the Brothers crew are riders, and Anthony is no exception.
“I was only ever a recreational cyclist,” he says. “Now I’m solely a commuter, actually. One of the joys for me is riding between our three sites in Mount Eden, City Works Depot and Orakei. It’s giving me 45 minutes to an hour on the bike, time I would otherwise spend time sitting in the car.”
Press Anthony and he’ll admit to owning five bikes. One of them will have to go to free up space in the garage, but there’s no way he will part from his daily ride. It’s a steel-framed Pinarello from the ‘80s, original down to the Campagnolo running gear and rather rare Delta brakes.
Enough of Italian retro. A word about Bike Brew: it’s a limited-edition beer, which means you’re best not to tarry if you want to try it. From Sunday, it will be on tap at Brothers’ three bars . You can buy it online here in packs of four to 24 cans online, and pick it up from Brothers Beer at City Works Depot and Orakei. Another option: pop up at Brothers’ pop up bar at The Lightpath Festival on Saturday, 1 December and try Bike Brew there.
The new beer complements a busy calendar of Bike Auckland events this summer; a portion of the sale price also goes to support Bike Auckland’s work. Which means that every time you see us out there campaigning for a better city for people on bikes, or running the events that put the fun into cycling, that can in your hand will be paying for part of it.
Bike Brew launches this Sunday, 4 November, with Bike Hop, a family-friendly social ride starting at Brothers Beer’s Mt Eden outlet and rolling on its sites in the City Works Depot and Orakei. Tickets are $10 and you’ll get free All Good bananas, a sausage sizzle, ice cream and, yes, your own Bike Brew.