I'm all for continuing education, especially when the teacher encourages drinking during a discussion of effective techniques for keeping bears away from your food. That's what makes the newly launched Hoppy Adventure Club such an attractive proposition for beer lovers and outdoor enthusiasts.
Calling those who “thirst for adventure,” REI and Green Flash Brewing Company (6550 Mira Mesa Blvd.) have partnered up to host a monthly lecture series that will cover topics like paddling, climbing and every wilderness exploration opportunity in between. The inaugural meeting—on August 17—was called to order at the freshly renovated Green Flash tasting room. During the course of his hour-long presentation REI instructor Sam Alexander covered everything an aspiring traveler would ever need to know about lightweight backpacking, including the 10 essentials you should never leave home without (which much to my chagrin didn't include beer).
More experienced backpackers may have found the overall presentation to be fairly entry-level. The only bone I had to pick was that while I'm (obviously) a huge fan of brewery-sponsored activities, the fact that Green Flash is brewing seemingly around-the-clock means that unless you have a front row seat to the next meeting, you might have a hard time catching everything the presenter says over the sounds of forklifts beeping and release valves hissing. Still, the unbeatable price tag of free —minus the beers themselves—along with multiple gear giveaways during the meeting more than made up for auditory shortcomings. That, plus thirsty attendees have more than 20 of Green Flash's finest taps pouring (ranging from classics like 30th Street Pale Ale, newer offerings like the Soul Style India Pale Lager and the much-debated Alpine offerings).
Future club meeting topics are still in the works, but if you're interested in participating next month, I recommend RSVPing online once the date is announced via Green Flash's email list; space is limited to 100 attendees. The only prerequisite for joining the Hoppy Adventure Club is having passed your 21st birthday, but a healthy dose of curiosity for exploration couldn't hurt, either.
Too often, we tend to dream about “getting away from it all”, only to drown our sorrows with one (or several) craft beers without ever taking the opportunity to explore the wild world around us. Here's hoping that the Hoppy Adventure Club will encourage would-be adventurers to take the first step outside to discover what awaits, without having to leave your beers at home.