The Cyclist

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A couple of years ago, some super smart scientists released the results of a study that showed beer, when consumed during and after exercise, actually works to rehydrate your body. It was a big deal. I think they released pigeons during the press conference.

Sure, beer may not be the best tool for rehydration, but the result of drinking beer while sweating your ass off is a net positive. I was very enthusiastic about the findings, because I’ve been fortunate enough to stake a large portion of my career on the combination of hard exercise and copious amounts of alcohol. Suddenly, I had some scientific validation for my way of life.

I didn’t think things could get any better than downing a beer in a gravel parking lot after a hard mountain bike ride, but then I found The Cyclist at my neighborhood bar, and my eyes were opened yet again.

The Cyclist is a simple combination. Get a pint glass. Fill half the glass with beer, fill the rest with lemonade. I guess you could call it a beer cocktail, but I’m not going to call it that because I don’t like beer cocktails, but I really like The Cyclist, so how could it be a beer cocktail?

You follow my logic?

The Cyclist I had at my neighborhood bar was made with a New Belgium Snapshot, which is a light, effervescent wheat beer. If you’re making one at home, using a wheat beer is key. You want something that’s really bright, and kind of spicy to stand up to the lemonade. Sour beers could also work. Some people use straight up lemonade, but you lose a lot of carbonation in the process. I like The Cyclist with lemon soda instead.

Mixing lemonade with beer actually dates back to the ‘20s in Germany, when a bar-owner figured out he could make his beer supplies last twice as long if he cut them with something like lemonade or lemon soda. It was a brilliant move, and cyclists loved them. Germans call them “Radlers,” and they’ve been causing a riff in the beer world for almost 100 years. Beer purists think it’s sacrilege to put something as base as lemonade in a beer, but those beer purists have probably never pedaled up to a bar after a hard, hot ride and wanted something a little bit more refreshing than a beer.

A number of breweries make a version of The Cyclist that you can buy in cans or bottles, but this is one situation where a DIY approach will serve you best. Find your favorite summery wheat beer, some Country Time, and rehydrate.

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