Drink beer. Bike 15 miles. Drink more beer. Repeat at the end of the summer. Rain or shine, the third annual “Fly to the Coq” event took place Sunday. With the White Pine Trail running parallel to Rockford Brewing Company, bikes are a familiar sight to their patrons. However, this past Sunday, the side of the brewery was flooded with bikes looking picturesque in the grass.

“This is a great way to meet people with similar hobbies — beer and biking,” said cyclist Leslie Caliguri.

The event initially started with the simple goal to get more people out on their bikes. It starts at the Rockford Brewing Company and ends at Brewery Vivant using the ways of the White Pine Trail, bike lanes and designated bike paths totaling 15 miles. Using the brewery’s mascots for inspiration, the event’s name comes from Rockford Brewing Company’s Fishing Fly and Brewery Vivant’s — Fly to the Coq.

It is a great way for bike riders of all levels to ride safely together and enjoy one thing in common: great beer. In the past two years, the event has evolved from just a bike ride to a special tapping at each brewery. Instead of just having the usual draft lines available for bikers to consume before and after the ride, last year the organizers took it up a notch and the two breweries brewed a beer specifically for the event.

Each brewery brewed the recipe, called Fly2Coq, at its own location for the event. Although these beers are brewed separately from one another, they share a recipe collaboratively conceived in the minds of the Coq’s Head Brewer, Jacob Derylo, and the Fly’s Head Brewer, Jeff Sheehan.

This year’s recipe revolves around the Chinook hop, grown right here in Michigan. A lot of spelt was used in the recipe as well giving it a spicy characteristic. Both beers offer earthy, floral and tropical tastes. Brooks Twist, Operations Manager at Brewery Vivant, describes their version as very bright and sharp, while Rockford Brewing didn’t filter its beer as much, leaving it with a creamier feel in the mouth.

Even though the event is over, fans of the two breweries haven’t missed out entirely. Both Brewery Vivant and Rockford Brewing Company are still serving pints of the Fly2Coq. And if that isn’t enough, stay tuned for the end of the summer when the event occurs again, but this time in reverse — Coq to the Fly.

Gravel Bottom Craft Brewery