Brewers Publications, Boulder
soft cover, $16.95, 326 pp
The midwestern United States has always been known as a great beer-producing area, thanks to a major influx a century ago of immigrants who just wouldn’t be without their favorite homeland brews. Today, many great brewpubs and microbreweries carry on the tradition.
The Midwest also provides some outstanding mountain biking. Mountain biking!? Ya hey, you betcha! There is more to the Midwest landscape than endless prairies and rolling cornfields, as anyone who has traveled there is well aware.
Combine the terrain with the beverage and you have a winning combination: bike first, beer later. You might need a little help finding the trails, though. Not a problem with Todd Bryant Mercer’s new guidebook, Bike and Brew – Midwest Region. This book follows Mercer’s first guide, to the Rocky Mountain region, with a similar format of detailed accounts of trail and brewpub pairings.
The author is an experienced athlete, and he is obviously just as interested in good beer. This edition covers Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North and South Dakota, Ohio, and Wisconsin. While this area may not be as majestic or romantic as the Rocky Mountains, it may have much more diverse terrain, and hence, may be more accessible to all riders.
Anyone who rides, this reviewer included, knows that one need not have mountains to have outstanding mountain biking (more appropriately called all-terrain biking). The Midwest offers long, rolling, rugged trails that are reminiscent of trails further west, and these are appropriate for a rider of any skill. The region is also rife with twisty, rocky, tight courses that were carved by glaciers and water. Lakes and rivers lined with steep bluffs and valleys abound in all areas of the Midwest. Wisconsin’s north woods are secluded and beautiful, and Michigan is one of the best mountain biking areas in the United States, period. Definitely something for everyone.