The creation of Joe Dombrowski’s personal beer began, like so many good ideas do, with a bunch of guys drinking in the woods.
Dombrowski was at a yearly off-season escape this past fall organized by his longtime mentor, mountain bike pro Jeremiah Bishop. Also attending was Jesse Prall, a former brewer at Dogfish Head craft brewery in Deleware, who arrived at their West Virginia escape toting beers from Rubber Soul, a cycling-themed microbrewery he opened a year ago in Salisbury, Maryland.
“Jesse brought this stuff and it was really good,” Dombrowski said from his European base in Nice, France. “We got to chitchatting, and I was like, ‘Yeah I really like beer, particularly Belgian ales.’ He said, ‘If you want, we can make a beer. You can do some of the marketing, and I can make the beer, and we can see where it goes.’”
The beer, called Dombrewski (duh), will be a Belgian-inspired dubbel aged in rum barrels for six months. It will come out around the Tour of Utah — depending on Dombrowski’s race schedule — in a limited quantity of 750ml corked bottles.
Yes, it will be for sale to the general public, though getting a bottle may be tough. Prall is making only six barrels’ worth. Dombrowski is currently working on his beer’s logo, and the Cannondale pro put three options up for a vote in Instagram on Tuesday.
If all goes to plan, the duo will release the beer right around the Tour of Utah, which Dombrowski won last year and which is the only American race on his preliminary schedule.
Though Prall is in charge of the actual brewing, the beer itself will be in Dombrowski’s favorite style. “He likes eccentric, artful beers,” Prall said. “So I’m going to do a Belgian strong ale, around eight percent. A bit of raisin and aged in rum barrels for about 6 months. Very limited release. I’m still a small brewery; this will be the first complex beer. ”
Meanwhile, Dombrowski is preparing for his first Giro d’Italia, where he’ll ride as high-mountain support for Rigoberto Uran. Is he worried that his heavy beer might make staying light a bit more difficult?
“Nope. I think it’s pretty important to have good moderation as a cyclist,” he said. “It’s okay to have desert and a drink every now and then. After a big ride it’s nice to have a good beer with dinner.”