Columbus House Brewery plans commemorative beer for 2017 Joe Martin Stage Race

The brewery will begin selling empty growlers next week in preparation for an expected April 11 opening.

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Fayetteville’s Columbus House Brewery today announced it will create a commemorative craft beer in recognition of the 40th anniversary of the Joe Martin Stage Race.

The beer will be called “Piles of Miles,” a phrase used by late race director, Joe Martin, when referring to the many miles cyclists ride during the race. JMSR was originally known as the NWA Classic and was renamed after Martin in 1989 after he died of cancer the previous year.

“Joe was keen on ‘what was cool before it was cool,’ so we decided to brew a trendy beer style that hasn’t quite reached Arkansas yet,” said Jason Corral, co-founder of Columbus House.

The beer will be a New England IPA, a style that’s quickly rising in popularity across the country. The hazy, almost juice-like character of the style, which features a restrained bitterness and intense aromatics, is usually attributed to Heady Topper, one of the earliest NEIPAs created by Vermont brewery, The Alchemist. The style has since been made famous by other northeast brands like Massachusetts-based Tree House Brewing Company and Trillium Brewing Company.

“It’s a perfectly refreshing fit for cyclists coming off of a ride, or anyone who enjoys dry-hopped IPAs, pale ales, fruit-influenced beers, or the next big thing in craft beer,” said Corral.

Corral said production of Piles of Miles has already begun and will be available on tap at Columbus House Brewery, 701 W. North Street in Fayetteville, during special events in March and throughout the race weekend, March 30 – April 2. It will also be available in the beer gardens at the race.

The annual series of cycling events includes multi-stage races for both professional and amateur cyclists, and also offers gran fondo-style ride options for anyone who wants to experience what it’s like to be a pro cyclist for a day. A children’s ride and a more relaxed “Townie Ride” are also in the works for this year.

Aside from amateur events, the race is part of the USA Cycling Pro Racing Tour, the national governing body for the sport of cycling that operates under the U.S. Olympic Committee.