AJW’s Taproom – One Year Later

AJWs TaproomThis week’s column marks the one-year anniversary of AJW’s Taproom. An idea hatched by Bryon and I at the bar of the Devil’s Backbone Brewpub in Nellysford, Virginia has resulted in a year’s worth of reflection and commentary that I have found both exciting and constructive. For the last 52 weeks, every Friday, a Taproom column has appeared on this site. Along the way I have written about course records, flow, rules, Hal Koerner, prize money, brain research, the Barkley, Western States, and a wide variety of other rambling topics. To be honest, AJW’s Taproom has given a voice to some of my deepest on-the-run ruminations. In short, it’s been a blast!

AJW's Taproom - First Anniversary

Celebrating the first anniversary of AJW’s Taproom at the place of its conception.

The fundamental idea of the column has been to provide a weekly check-in place for runners. A Friday Happy Hour, of sorts. A place where a topic could be explored that you might want to discuss and expand on during your next group run or over a couple of pints at your local watering hole. Of course, I’ve had the added fun of introducing a Beer of the Week each Friday and even though some readers have been a bit put-off by my bias toward India Pale Ale in general the commentary about beer has been a nice complement to the commentary on running. It is not our intent, necessarily, to generate commentary or foment controversy in this column. Rather, by giving iRunFar.com an editorial component we feel we are expanding our foundation and providing helpful food for thought.

Looking ahead to Year Two, we are excited to continue what we’ve started. As most readers have noticed, the columns in the Taproom tend to fall into two categories: first there are the analytical discussions about such things as prize money, course markings, and race results and then there are the reflective pieces on patience, acceptance, contentment, and the like. I enjoy both types of editorials, but would like to know from readers what you’ve enjoyed most in this first year of the Taproom. Additionally, in Year Two I am hoping to create a new free podcast series, “the Best of AJW’s Taproom” in which we create some audio files of some of your favorite articles. More on that later…

So, here’s to another great year of AJW’s Taproom! Thank you one and all for reading the column and being such loyal supporters of iRunFar.com

Bottoms up!

AJW’s Beer of the Week
3 Floyds Alpha King Pale AleThis week’s Beer of the Week comes from 3 Floyds Brewing Company in Munster, Indiana just down the road from my brother’s house in Chicago. 3 Floyds’ Alpha King is a loaded American Pale Ale that tastes a little bit like Sierra Nevada Pale Ale on steroids. It’s just barely sessionable with a nice sweet start and a kick at the finish. It’s not available too many places, so if you find some buy a bunch!

Call for Comments (from Bryon)

  • What have been your favorite AJW’s Taproom articles this past year?
  • Any particular type of article that tickles your fancy on a regular basis?

There are 24 comments

  1. Jim

    AJW, I enjoy everything you have been writing from actual race day coverage and opinion to your reflections of ultrarunning and life in general. 2 of my faves from this year are the one on the long run a couple weeks ago and then your piece on Dave Terry. Columns I look forward to every week…oh, and keep the brews coming!

  2. Phil Jeremy

    The greatest compliment and thanks I can give for your column is that if I ever ran WS then there is only one candidate for my pacer……and I suspect a great many readers would agree.Only problem is you'd have to pace all of us:)

  3. Jeff Faulkner

    AJW, like the other guys, I have enjoyed all of your pieces so far. I say just keep on as you have, sir. You've found an audience.

  4. Marty

    AJW, Wouldn't change a thing. Like a good brew, balance and variety are key. Analytical and reflective, both good choices. Your writing is one of my favorite things about irunfar, and I have quoted you many many times (probably even 'stolen' a line or two unintentionally, but that is the mark of truly good writing; Plagiarism being the most sincere form of flattery).

  5. Timmy P

    AJW, I look forward to your article every Friday with the same (well almost) amount of anticipation as I have when I think about the tasty IPA I'm going to have after the long work week.

    I like the variety that covering both the analytical and the reflective side of our crazy sport brings.

    So keep up the good work and cheers to the anniversary!

  6. Andrew F


    Your column has been both a nice end to the work week and a nice start to the weekend. I have enjoyed all of you running ruminations along with the brew lore. Thanks and great work!

  7. CJ

    AJW,congrats on the one year anniversary. Really enjoy the column and you have a great writing style for the job. I can't think of a better person to write it each week. Thanks for taking us on a journey each Friday as you explore different topics. Here's to another inspiring year!

  8. Chris

    AJW & the iRunFar Team,

    Congrats on your 1st year of the Tap Room and here's to many more to come, keep up the great work!


    By The Way: I'm from Indiana and the 3-Floyds Alpha King Tears it Up, Sweet Selection:)

    1. AJW

      Carson, there is a beer store here in Charlottesville called Beer Run. In all seriousness, they have the most incredible beer selection I've ever seen. So, I start my research there. Then, there are the referrals people send me (keep 'em coming.) Third, I've lived a lot of places and traveled to a bunch more. I am always on the prowl for good beer when I am "out in the field" :)

      1. Bryon Powell

        AJW, keep your eyes open for Catawba Valley King Coconut Porter. It's worth it despite the low IBUs. Bug a buddy driving up from the Asheville area, as this sucker is only on tap as far as I know. Time for some AJW's Taproom growlers (and a team of informants to fill them up)!

          1. Carson L

            AJW…ahh the best beer stores are where u least expect them! My favorite is a bottle shop in Duluth, MN. I remember a time long ago where they were carrying six or seven types of Bell's stouts all at once. At the time, I only thought stout was just stout. So that became the day I started to think of beer differently.

            Thanks for the weekly articles!

            …and I recommend the Belgian Red by New Glarus Brewery in Wisconsin. Made with real cherries and not just juice, but you have to go to WI to get it as they only distribute within the state. No other cherry ale comes close!

  9. Morgan Williams


    Happy first birthday for the Tap Room.

    I've really loved the more contemplative pieces, but it has all been good quality, reflective stuff.

    Some would say it is dangerous to have a beer with Bryon. I finally managed it in Chamonix this year, and now I'm slaving over a hot computer for some pieces about fell running.

    Enjoy year two; I'm certain we all will.

  10. Elliot

    Nice beer choice. I live about 3 miles from 3 Floyd's. It's great. I look forward to reading the artciles in future. Keep up the great work!

  11. Joe Uhan

    Love the Tap Room! So long as there's nerve conduction going on in his brain, AJW will have an interesting thing to say every Friday.

    MY favorite posts? CLEARLY the gritty, human interest stories about specific runners (namely those who slather various fruit-based liquids on their skin). ;)

    Keep it up, AJW! Cheers!

  12. Matt

    "An idea hatched by Bryon and I at the bar of the Devil’s Backbone Brewpub in Nellysford, Virginia has resulted in a year’s worth of reflection and commentary that I have found both exciting and constructive."

    "An idea hatched by Bryon and ME at the bar. . . "

    I couldn't resist. The easiest way to check is remove the other personal reference: An idea hatched by me at the bar. . .

    My hell.

    The beer narrative is great. More mix of those two elements, trail and ale: Trale.


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