Good Beer Hunting

Slow Ride Session #1 — Bike Repair + Coffee Making with Heritage Bicycles

We kicked off our collaborative series of New Belgium Slow Ride Sessions last week by sharing some super-useful skills for both the home and the garage just as Spring is upon us (oh the irony of this morning's snow). We got about 25 people together to dig deep into the art of coffee brewing and bike maintenance at a hybrid cafe concept that unites both of these great cultures — Heritage Bicycles. And of course, we did all that alongside some great beers.  

Heritage Bicycles is a cafe concept started by Mike Salvatore and family based on the insight that so many of his bike club friends would start and finish their group rides at a cafe. Part repair shop, custom builder, and third-wave coffee joint, the place is constantly buzzing with the sounds of coffee grinders and bike chains — and it's as much a neighborhood cafe as it is a Midwest bike culture destination. 

Bike room operations manager, Derek Lewis, (who also joined us for the podcast a couple weeks ago), lead a group of eager learners through the techniques for maintaining your ride after the harsh Chicago winters finally begin to recede. 


Heritage Barista, Adam Rahn, then pulled back the veil on the often-intimidating, but so-easiliy-conquered world of pour-over coffee at home. Providing some critical, but basic knowledge like ratios and grind settings, the group of aspiring coffee nerds experience one ah-ha after another. The Instagrams from this engaged crew in the days following are proving to us that the simple demonstration of these kinds of skills can change a mindless daily habit into a ritual worth enjoying.

Simple tips like:

  • 16:1 water to coffee ratio, this is a great starting point
  • get a burr grinder, great investment
  • find your grind, coarser/finer based on taste. If it tastes weak go finer, too heavy and dry go coarser
  • wash the filter to get rid of papery flavors
  • preheat your brewing device and vessel 
  • 30-60 second "bloom" on the first pour to let gases to escape
  • 2:30-2:45 time a total 12oz brew
  • adjust any of those factors to increase quality of your brew method, tweak to taste

A few iced-down cases of New Belgium Slow Ride Session IPAs and some Antique Tacos were a pretty great catalyst to a chill evening with some pros. And this Tuesday, we're doing it all again with a woodworking class at The Rebuilding Exchange. We've got a few more classes in store too, everything from milling and baking, to the art of the hot shave, to scratchboard and screen printing. If you want to join us for one of these unique Slow Ride Sessions, and experience the joy of pushing pause for a moment, this is for you. 

Words, Photos, Michael Kiser Event collab, New Belgium Brewing