Embarrassingly, the last time I ran because of beer was because I was getting chased by the police. Granted, my trespassing buddies and I were 16 at the time, chugging beer on the fifth hole of a nearby golf course at 10 p.m.. Although we all got away, I wasn’t so lucky; tripping over a small fence, landing on my hand still carrying half a bottle of beer. The scars are still there some 30 years later, as a constant reminder to not do dumb things.
Although I’m not much of a runner, I’m here at Phantom Ales in Anaheim for the weekly Orange County Craft Runners meetup. Every Monday at 7 p.m., the group laces up, stretches, then heads out on a 3-mile run. “We welcome all levels of runners, joggers, walkers, skaters, saunterers, moseyers, wanderers, strollers, and lollygaggers,” says Tim Meltreger, one of the organizers. The group has been going strong for well over a year, or as Matt Bowen stated, “long enough to have nicknames for each other.” Maps were handed out promptly at 7:04 p.m., and the group darted off, excited for the sweet sweet payoff of beer.
Back after 30 to 45 minutes, the rosey-cheeked motley crew wasted no time grabbing pints and tasting flights at Phantom Ales, which has gone through a recent revamp. The beer has also improved considerably; I sampled a crushable Citra Smash IPL, which was crisp, bright, and bursting with tropical hop aroma. Also surprising was the Kona Coffee Lager, which seemed like a nod to nearby Naughty Sauce, but was a different beer entirely; notes of caramel corn (in a good way), eye-opening coffee, vanilla, and a smooth yet lingering finish.
Phantom, which has a pub-like kitchen, is also able to produce cider and wine, which many of the runners trotted to. “I’ve never tried a mead before,” said Meltreger, “but that 13 percent ABV scares me,” he continued, ordering the Sour Cherry Mead. A few of the runners grabbed flights of cider, which is no doubt healthy as it lacks gluten. Phantom also carries homebrew supply, so don’t be shocked if that’s the first thing you see walking in the front door.
Up next for the group is a beach run near Four Sons Brewing in Huntington Beach due to the cooler temps. The group also plans on tackling a 10K as a team some time in August. Follow their facebook and instagram for the latest plan. Who knows, you might even see me!