Behind the Beer
Chubbin' Around The World
March 28, 2018
These days, there are a plethora of craft-brew-heavy destinations around the world for adventurous suds lovers to visit. Our own home state of Colorado boasts over 340 breweries according to a pretty half-assed internet search, translating to something like six breweries for every 100,000 people who live here*. With breweries to visit aplenty (and weed destinations too – look it up), places like CO take on a Wonka-like quality for intrepid imbibers.
Now imagine your beer-loving buddy asking, “Hey, wanna ride bikes through Oman with me?”
Cue record scratch.
The middle eastern country of Oman – while it boasts a beautiful terrain and an astounding level of hospitality – definitely doesn’t qualify as a craft beer hotspot. For Muslims in Oman, drinking is illegal and non-Muslim people there (ex-pats or visitors) can drink only with an official license. In a crazy-by-our-standards show of beerless, fearless willpower, homebrewer and craft beer enthusiast Jack Zuzack rode his bike across Oman’s diverse, and dry, environment for an entire month. Like a total boss, he did; however, bring one essential item along to tide him over – Old Chub Chapstick. We got an email from Jack with the subject line, “Old Chub Lip Balm Saved My Life!” so obviously we had to find out more. Here’s the story:
Jack and his buddy Bryan Keith biked through Oman in touring style: carrying gear and food and camping every night. They chose Oman to “get off the beaten path,” and they weren’t disappointed. The landscape was diverse and challenging. “The interior of the country was largely a desert,” described Jack. “Mostly flat with rolling hills, not that attractive, just sort of rubble. But then there were coastal roads that were quite beautiful along the Arabian Sea.” Jack and Bryan took two excursions into the mountains and were faced with insanely burly conditions. “It was really, really steep,” explained Jack. “I live in Colorado half the year [Florida the other half] so I know about biking hills but this is nothing like that – it’s so steep that at times I couldn’t ride the bike. It took both of us to push each bike up the hills. We measured the slope to be 32% which is unheard of in this country. It was very challenging but that’s why we’re out there.” All that, and no post-ride beer to look forward to.
Luckily, Jack did have one thing literally in his back pocket to take the edge off – our Old Chub Chapstick. The recipe for Old Chub Chapstick is based off the real raw ingredients that go into the beer, so Jack got a teeny bit of Scotch Ale flavor every time he “rubbed the Chub.”
“It got to be a joke between Bryan and I. He noticed I was using the lip balm every day because you have to protect yourself against the sun, and the fact that it was beer flavored was a constant reminder that we were missing beer.” Jack said, wistfully: “I really did want to have a beer. Certainly when I got home I did. I love the whole culture around it. [Beer is] a big part of my life so that was a bit of a hardship.”
Sans beer, the Omani version of happy hour revolves around Omani coffee along with customary dried dates. Local people repeatedly invited Jack and Bryan to share in this traditional snacking ritual, which took place under the shade of a tree or in the courtyard of a home. “People over there were really the best part of the entire trip – so warm and friendly,” said Jack. “People would stop in their cars and ask if we needed anything and very often they would invite us to come and sit with them. One time, in the middle of the night, someone snuck up to our tents and left a care package including a big variety of vegetables and fruit and fresh milk and water. They left stuff just to be kind and we never saw them or anything.”
Jack’s looking toward his next trip, which will likely be planned around the American Homebrewers Associations’ annual Homebrew Con in Portland – pretty much the opposite of this last excursion. Way to keep us guessin’, dude! Even though there should be plenty of suds around on this next trip, we think you should bring the chubstick with you just in case.
Wherever the trail takes ‘em, we’d like to extend a big OBB cheers to Jack and Bryan and their adventure-seeking, craft-beer-lovin’ ways!
Have you taken your OBB gear somewhere cool? Or enjoyed one of our beers in an unlikely place? Send your story and pics via email to firstname.lastname@example.org or post on social and use #oboutside
Also, now through April 6, get a free Old Chub Chapstick when you spend $20 on our merch site and use code CHUBme.
*Stats from Denver Business Journal 2017 article