There are a lot of reasons to ride your bike. It’s really good cardio, it’s a wonderful way to see a city, it helps reduce your carbon footprint…but if I’m being honest with myself, I ride my bike so much because it makes me feel like I’m 13 again. There was an afternoon recently when I rode my bike through my neighborhood to the park to play baseball, which is literally what I did just about every day of my 13th year. Although this time, I did have a flask of whiskey in my backpack, so I guess it wasn’t exactly like when I was 13. Our latest Whiskey Wednesday resulted in a similar sense of nostalgia for the whole group. We picked a strange route that had us exploring a weird forested track with rogue trails dropping off of a couple of dirt fire roads. The trails were mostly fall line, skinny pieces of loose dirt that zig-zagged through the trees and over creeks. We didn’t know where any of them led, so every new path we took was a leap of faith. It felt a lot like mountain biking for the first time, when everything was new and we were pedaling hard and going fast because it was fun and adventurous.
I’ve been feeling nostalgic lately, probably because I’m 40 and I guess that’s what you do when you hit middle age. You think about the glory days of little league and riding bikes before you discovered girls. I even had a nostalgic moment for shitty beer recently. I was at a party and there was a Corona in the cooler. So, I drank it, and the beer immediately took me back to my early 20s—a time when there wasn’t a lot of craft beer to be had, and even if there were options, I didn’t have the money to splurge on decent beer. I spent most of my time drinking Natural Light ($6 for a 12 pack). But if I was flush with cash, I was drinking Corona with a lime. Even today, the beer tastes like pool parties and a general lack of responsibility.
I think the whole craft beer world must be feeling nostalgic for those days, because more breweries are producing their own version of the Mexican Lager. Oskar Blues has one, Ska Brewing has one, 21st Amendment has one…now Sweetwater has one. They’re debuting their easy-drinking Mexican Style Lager today, in honor of Cinco de Mayo. The beer is one of the first releases from their new pilot brewing system, The Hatchery. And it’s exactly what you think it should be—light as hell (just 4.8% ABV), mildly sweet and crisp…in short, it tastes like pool parties and a general lack of responsibility, and I respect the hell out of Sweetwater for sticking to the script with the style. Craft breweries have the tendency to get a little arty with their beers, even when they’re trying to placate the lowest common denominator. They’ll brew a 40-ounce malt liquor, but use organic malt, an experimental hop strain and hibiscus flowers.
But Sweetwater’s Mexican Style Lager satisfies my thirst for nostalgia. It’s like riding a bike to a baseball game, or pedaling hard through the woods without knowing where you’re going. It’s like being a kid again.