Category Archives: Beer and Wellness

Why You Should Run To Beer

(and not chocolate milk)

Originally published in Get Out There Magazine

Health & Nutrition • By Dan Grant • January 27, 2017 | 1:37 PM

Confirmation bias. That’s the tendency to seek out information that supports what you want to believe.

Your search, my friend, ends here.

Let’s talk about beer and why it’s such a natural choice for runners. And let’s start by talking about the fact that beer is natural. It’s usually just water, grain, yeast and hops.

Beer is also fat free and and contains fewer calories than the same volume of, say, chocolate milk. Though beer contains less protein than the cafeteria classic, it contains more of the vitamins and minerals a runner actually needs.

Okay, but enough about chocolate milk. Unless you’re eight, you’re probably not craving it anyway.

Beer: think of it as the runner’s multivitamin. Dark ales especially (think Porter, Stout, Black IPA) contain higher levels of the vitamins and minerals runners need most.

Magnesium, for instance, plays a bit part in bolstering your endurance. Not only does it help with muscle contraction, it also enhances aerobic capacity by helping to deliver oxygen to the muscles.

Chromium, meanwhile, helps the body process the carbohydrates you’re probably consuming in greater quantity than your more sedentary friends, and if you’re a distance runner you’re losing this valuable mineral in your urine after long runs. This is where beer is the true champion because there’s still no evidence to suggest your body can effectively absorb chromium supplements. Ales are brewed with hard water and Saccharomyces Cerevisiae (aka. Brewer’s Yeast), making them a easily digestible source of chromium.

Then there’s zinc, which your body also loses through urine after a long run. A valuable helper for your body’s immune system, it works with about 100 enzymes in your body, aiding your energy metabolism.

I could go on about antioxidants, resveratrol and all the other benefits of hops, which have been used in medicines longer than they have in beer. I could share stats about dietary fiber and electrolytes. Beer is also an anti-inflammatory and promotes bone health.

I could go into much, much more detail, but I’d rather end with possibly the most compelling reason to reach for a beer after a run: it’s even more delicious than before you run.

Wine tasters, as you likely know, can swirl a Chianti around in their mouth, spit it out and record their impressions. A Bock, on the other hand, needs to be consumed to be properly evaluated. That’s because beer is carbonated. As you swallow, the carbonation carries some of it back into your olfactory system, engaging more of your sensory receptors. Win! Research shows that a brisk workout – as little as 10 minutes – heightens your olfactory system in the short term, while regular exercise prevents it from deteriorating as you age.

Just remember, despite being 85-95% water, beer still does more to dehydrate than re-hydrate, so make sure you’re getting enough of the non-alcoholic H2O as well.

And skip the chocolate milk.


BloomsdayTO is tomorrow!

When I started planning this run I figured I would probably have about half of the 21 venues I was visiting taking part. That all but two offered to help me collect funds for Northern Alberta is pretty damn special.

This is absolutely one of my favourite things about Toronto’s craft beer community. I can send an email to just about any brewer and know that I’ll reach someone who doesn’t have to consult half a dozen others on something as simple as setting out a jar for one day. The overwhelming support from so many individuals is what makes it feel like community, more than industry.

Kudos, by the way, to Folly Brewpub and Steam Whistle, both of which already raised money for Fort McMurray through their own initiatives and still enthusiastically jumped on board with mine.

(the icon on the top left pops out the directory)

This is obviously my last update before I start bouncing between breweries tomorrow, with my RunTOBeer co-captain Rich Kuchinsky (the man loves beer as much as I do, and running even more!).

The RunTOBeer community has been incredibly supportive of this, already donating nearly $400.00 and sending lots of online love. Several members will be joining me at various stages of the journey.

Last night a few Tribe Fitness members joined me for a run and pitched in another $80.00. Big thanks to Heather Gardner for helping organize that.

Even if you can’t make a donation you can still help by sharing the message. Thursday, please use your social media accounts to let people know they can support a local brewery and help other Canadians get back on their feet, all while doing themselves a favour by picking up great beer. Use the Hashtag #BloomsdayTO when you do. I’ll be watching for it.

Finally, you can track my journey on Instagram & Twitter by following me at @BrewScout. I’ll be updating at every stop along the way.

This is the final list of breweries accepting donations on June 16th, in the order I’ll reach them. Please give them your support.

  1. Muddy York
  2. Left Field
  3. Louis Cifer
  4. House Ales (BarVolo)
  5. Steam Whistle
  6. Bellwoods
  7. Folly Brewpub
  8. Blood Brothers
  9. Burdock
  10. Halo
  11. Henderson
  12. Lansdowne
  13. Bandit
  14. Indie Ale House
  15. Junction Craft
  16. Rainhard
  17. Great Lakes
  18. Cool Brewery
  19. Black Oak

RunTOBeer, to the Junction!

These are just a few of the styles on offer at Junction Craft Brewing (@junctioncraft), which is where RunTOBeer is headed, Sunday.

Junction Craft Brewing
We’re going to Junction Craft Brewing

If you’ve never been, Junction has a bunch of great taps serving up a wide variety of styles. You’re going to love it.

So far we have nearly 90 people indicating they’re joining us (and a couple dozen maybes). There’s still plenty of room on the sidewalks for more!

Visit our Facebook page for more details

Mikkeller Running Club

Mikkeller Running Club
Mikkeller Running Club
What: Mikkeller Running Club Toronto
Who: Mikkel Borg Bjergsø, Søren Runge, Tej Sandhu, Dan Grant
Where: Bier Markt King West
When: Every 1st Saturday, 12:00pm – Starting June 6
Why: Because who doesn’t like drinking beer after a run?
Toronto now on the Mikkeller Running Club destination list
Look! Toronto’s there!

Mikkeller Running Club (MRC) is coming to Toronto! MRC was established in 2014 by legendary brewer Mikkel Borg Bjergsø and MRC President Søren Runge. The club has taken off around the world with chapters in Copenhagen, Paris, London, Chicago, Philadelphia, Brooklyn, Boston, Norfolk, San Francisco, Montreal, Barcelona, Sao Paolo, Aarhus, and Reykjavik with new clubs opening every month.

MRC’s newest chapter in Toronto will be spearheaded by Tej Sandhu and Dan Grant; the same two behind Toronto’s RunTOBeer crew. The opportunity to bring MRC to Toronto came while Tej was travelling to London, UK in January where he ran with the local MRC chapter on their inaugural run.

The RunTOBeer crew
RunTOBeer at the Brewer’s Backyard (May, 2015)

MRC Toronto will be based out of Bier Markt King West. After the initial runs, Bier Markt King West will be offering Mikkeller products currently available in the LCBO, and discussions have been started to bring exclusive Mikkeller product in for club members only.

Speed is not the main goal for Mikkeller Running Club. Having fun in a great social environment is our top priority. Every first Saturday of the month MRC will meet for a training session starting and ending at our clubhouse. After running we share a couple of beers, with the first round on the house for members only!

To join MRC Toronto, members must purchase the Mikkeller Running Club T-Shirt (~$15 CAD + shipping), available here:

The inaugural run takes place at 12:00pm on June 6 at Bier Markt King West!

For additional information, please contact Tej Sandhu (

3 Bean Salad & Goose IPA

People who know things recommend you get protein in your system shortly after finishing a long run. They say it helps rebuild the muscles you’ve just torn down, which speeds up your recovery.

Beer not only has protein, but also chromium (important for distance runners and hard to come by in a non-supplement form), sodium, magnesium, calcium and carbs. This makes it a far better post-workout drink than water.

The nice thing about Goose Island’s Goose IPA is it also pairs brilliantly with this protein-, iron- and fibre-rich, three bean salad. Each has citrus, pepper and fresh, earthy characteristics. Together, it’s an easy, delicious combo that just feels right after a satisfying workout.

Bean salad stays good in the fridge for a few days, so make it in advance. After toweling the sweat out of your eyes and uploading your run stats, fill a bowl, crack open the beer and just feel great for a while.

My version is ever-so-slightly adapted from OhSheGlows’ Speedy Three Bean Salad.

Three Bean Salad with Goose IPA
Three Bean Salad with Goose IPA


About 15 minutes prep.

About 4 hours before eating.


Stage 1

handful of green beans, chopped, with the ends removed

19oz can of chickpeas, strained

19oz can of red kidney beans, strained

Stage 2 (The Dressing)

8 tablespoons lemon juice

1.5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar

1 tablespoon maple syrup

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

generous amounts of black pepper

Stage 3

1 red or orange bell pepper, chopped

1 jalapeño, chopped fine

2 green onions, chopped coarse

Stage 4

fresh parsley, chopped fine


1 stalk of celery, chopped

2 radishes, sliced thin

Three kinds of beans
Stage 1 – Three kinds of beans
  1. Add green beans to a pot of simmering water and leave them until they’re no longer crisp — likely about 10 minutes (if you like your chickpeas and kidney beans a bit mushy, you can do the same for them).
  2. Mix all the Stage 2 ingredients (lemon juice, olive oil, vinegar, maple syrup, mustard, pepper) in a bowl until it has a vinegrette-like consistency.
  3. When the beans are to your liking, strain and put them in a big bowl.
  4. Add Stage 3 ingredients (bell pepper, jalapeño, green onion) – and optional ingredients, if you so desire – to the beans.
  5. Add dressing, and stir.
  6. Cover, and let sit a couple hours in the fridge.
  7. Stir again and throw the covered salad back in the fridge for a couple more hours.
  8. Add parsley.
The Dressing
Stage 2 – The Dressing
Red Bell Pepper, Green Onion, Jalapeño
Stage 3 – Red Bell Pepper, Green Onion, Jalapeño

HINT: It’s best (but not necessary) to leave the parsley until you’re ready to eat. I just chop as much as I need when I dish out my individual servings.


Goose Island Goose IPA
Goose Island Goose IPA

Availability: LCBO, The Beer Store and pubs where Labatt has some influence

Special Notes: This beer uses 2- and 6-row malt, and has won a tonne of awards in the English style IPA category, in major competitions.

Stats: 5.9% ABV, 55 IBUs

The Biggest #RunTOBeer Yet!

A few weeks ago I was asked to host the introduction of three breweries (Liberty Village, Great Lakes and Nickel Brook) to the membership of Toronto’s SOHO House. That’s where I got into a beer-fueled brainstorming session with Tej Sandhu – who coordinates the SOHO House craft beer launches – and his very astute wife, Andrea.

Tej, you should know, is the co-founder of #RunTOBeer. When I put out a series of tweets last March for others to join me in a jog to Mill Street, he was the only one to show up on a punishingly cold Sunday morning, to putter along over 5km of ice and misery. Since then, he and I have been working together to build a running club that’s both enjoyable and rewarding (we have a few big announcements to make in the next couple of months).

Tej & me, following our February run to BarHop
Tej & me, following our February run to BarHop

But Andrea suggested we could grow the club even more if we added a shorter route, for those that aren’t quite ready to do 5km.

And yeah, she nailed it. I think it’s pretty safe to say ours is now the fastest growing running club in Toronto, if not Canada.

For our May 18th run to the Brewer’s Backyard, for the first time we have three (3) distance options. As soon as we announced that, the numbers began to swell.

Then blogTO caught wind of it and suddenly everything blew up. We went from expecting 30 Victoria Day runners, to possibly north of 200!

Brewer's Backyard, Queen Victoria's Secret
Brewer’s Backyard, Queen Victoria’s Secret

We’ve had to make a few adjustments, like shifting the start times earlier so we arrive as the event opens. I’m already dreading the ticket lines, but I’ve been in touch with the event organizer and we’ll do what we can to make things move a bit more smoothly. As for the brewery reps — I can’t even imagine how they’ll be able to pour fast enough, with everyone arriving at once.

But as far as we’re concerned, the more runners the better.  If you’re interested in joining what will likely be Toronto’s biggest free run this year, the details are on our Facebook event page.

Vegan Mac’n’Cheese with Niagara Oast House Saison

If you live in Southern Ontario, you’ve probably noticed Mother Nature has taken a cue from the Toronto Maple Leafs and stopped caring. February and March were miserable. Spring looks bleak…

Times like these require comfort food and beer!

A big ol’ casserole dish of vegan mac’n’cheese is ideal, because it’s great out of the oven and just as tasty reheated. It’s as satisfying at lunch as at the end of a night out.

Like many of my recipes, I make mine spicier than others might enjoy. If you want a bit less heat, try subbing out the cayenne and chopped serrano pepper for cracked black pepper and green onion.

I’m enjoying mine with a Niagara Oast House Saison (7.0%). This beautiful beer’s earthiness and peppery bite are a stellar complement to the cheddar-like flavour of the mac’n’cheese.

Did I mention how great this is reheated?
Did I mention how great this is reheated?

About 30 minutes, start to finish


Stage 1

1/2 bag (450 grams) of macaroni

Stage 2

1/3 package (about 125 grams) of firm or extra firm tofu, cut into cubes

3/4 cup nutritional yeast

1/2 tablespoon paprika

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

1/2 teaspoon turmeric

1 teaspoon of miso paste

1 teaspoon of dijon mustard

Stage 3

1/2 cup olive oil

3/4 cup of plain, unsweetened cashew milk

1/2 cup of water

1/6 cup soya sauce



serrano or jalapeño pepper, chopped

cayenne pepper


green onion, chopped

black pepper

Nutritional Yeast, tastes like nutty cheddar flakes
Nutritional Yeast, tastes like nutty cheddar flakes
  1. Preheat oven to 375°F
  2. Boil pasta until soft. While that’s happening you should have time to prepare the rest.
  3. Throw all the ingredients from Stage 2 in a blender. Don’t start it yet.
  4. Combine all the Stage 3 ingredients (the liquids) in a large measuring cup. It should come to just under 2 cups.
  5. When the pasta is done, strain it.
  6. Pour the Stage 3 (liquid) ingredients in with the Stage 2 (non-liquid) stuff and blend it up! Let it go for a while, so the contents become really creamy.
  7. While the blender’s doing its thing, move the pasta into a casserole dish and spread it around evenly.
  8. Cover the pasta with the sauce you’ve just made.
  9. Add optional ingredients to suit your taste.
  10. Bake for about 10-15 minutes (no lid required), stirring once.  I generally put it back in the oven for a few minutes on the “broil” setting to brown the top.
  11. It’s ready.
Macaroni in a strainer
Straining the macaroni
Macaroni about to go into the oven
Macaroni covered in vegan cheese sauce
Chopped serrano pepper
Chopped serrano pepper
Vegan Mac'n'Cheese, spiced up and ready to go in the oven
Vegan Mac’n’Cheese, spiced up and ready to go in the oven
Vegan Mac'n'Cheese, right out of the oven
Vegan Mac’n’Cheese, right out of the oven


Niagara Oast House Saison
Niagara Oast House Saison

Availability: LCBO (750 ml bottles) and at the brewery.

Notes: This farmhouse style is bottle conditioned (the aging date is stamped on the back) and pours beautifully, with a solid, generous head that disappears slowly and leaves a cloud of lacing as you drink.

ABV: 7.0% according to the bottle, but 6.5% if you trust the LCBO’s website.

  • I picked up some spicy sesame seeds (pictured below) at a Day Of The Dead festival. They’re sooooo good sprinkled over mac’n’cheese!
Spicy Sesame Seeds
If you can find ’em, grab ’em!