Beer-cizing—enjoying a brew at the end of a workout—is the funnest way to get fit this summer
Craft breweries and exercise junkies are newfound BFFs
Yes, we know, beer’s alcohol content can dehydrate the body post-workout; then again, this all-natural beverage has no added sugar and packs some bone-building silicon. Here are the city’s best boozy workouts.
OMS with beer
Doing sun salutations next to a shiny fermentation tank gives drinkers a new way to pay homage to their beer. That’s the idea behind Detox to Retox, monthly yoga classes held in different breweries and bars around the city. Launched last year by drinks blog and events outfit School House Booze, the classes are followed by a structured tasting of four to six beers. They run one weekend a month and sell out quickly. June’s event is being held on a ship right before the Craft Brew Cruise sails. July’s class will be at the new Henderson Brewery in the Junction, and August’s is planned for Lansdowne Brewery in Dufferin Grove.
Our favourite yogi brew: Junction Craft Brewing’s Tracklayer’s kölsch, a beer style that bridges an ale’s fruity yin and a lager’s crisp yang.
Dances with beer
Amid the ra-ta-tat-tat and shuffle-ball-changes, you’ll also hear the popping of bottles and the clinking of glasses. Tap That TO, founded by current and retired tap dancers who work at local breweries, hosts friendly meetups where the beer flows, and guests rehearse and record a simple routine for its fledgling YouTube channel. Get your buffalo step on and drink some craft beer at the first mixer, Taps and Tap, on June 18 at the Annex Dance Academy. All skill levels are welcome. “Tap is super easy,” says Victoria Rombis, one of the founders. “As long as you’ve got the shoes, you can make the noise.”
Our favourite toe-tapping brew: Collective Arts Rhyme and Reason, an American-style pale ale with a citrusy kick.
Bikes with beer
When cyclists from the Don Vivants crew go screaming through the trails of the Don Valley, they’re fuelled by the knowledge that there’s a case of Amsterdam waiting for them at the end, along with a roaring firepit, and grilled veggies and burgers. This unofficial club has no membership fee: skilled mountain bikers are welcome to ride along, says organizer Campbell Manson. They meet at the Loblaws trailhead on Redway Road at 7 p.m. every Tuesday and Thursday of the summer. Best way to join? “Roll up and say, ‘Hi, I’m new,’ ” suggests Manson. Or check their Facebook page to get in touch.
Our favourite post-trail brew: Amsterdam Brewery’s 3-Speed Lager, a new four per cent ABV lager that’s seriously bubbly and refreshing after a ride.
Runs with beer
The city’s largest boozy sports club, RunTOBeer, is all about the destination: a local pub or brewery, where a free sample is waiting. The crew was born in February 2014 after writer Dan Grant put out a tweet asking if anyone was game to run to a brewery; 28-year-old creative director Tej Sandhu answered, and they hit Mill Street for a pint. Today there are more than 1,600 members. Serious runners start at the 5- or 10-kilometre mark, but beer-bellied beginners can join for the last three klicks. Runs happen three times a month; noobs can score an invite by joining the RunTOBeer Facebook group.
Our favourite sweaty mess brew: Muskoka Brewery’s Mad Tom, a piney IPA that’s the perfect refresher for after one of this summer’s trail runs.
Races with beer
There are worse ways to train for this 11-kilometre race than by running from one pub to another. Toronto’s Beer Run returns for a third year on September 25. The race kicks off at the Bier Markt Esplanade, before hitting four more brewpubs and bars, and finishing off with a celebration party on Amsterdam Brewery’s waterfront patio. Each stop welcomes the runners with a 7-ounce beer sample, snacks and good tunes. Last year all 500 spots sold out, and $5 from each registrant goes to Plan Canada, which supports children in developing countries. Sign up at canadabeerrun.com.
Our favourite mid-run brew: 3 Brewers’ blonde ale, which has a fruity kick that’ll propel you to the next stop.