Harpoon PMC Beer? YES, you read that right!

Bill Alfano's picture
Bill Alfano

Harpoon PMC Beer? YES, you read that right!

Harpoon is the official beer of the Pan-Mass Challenge and has been for more than 10 years! Harpoon supplies beer for both the PMC Heavy Hitter event as well as the PMC Check Presentation. On top of that Harpoon supplies approximately 180 kegs for the Sturbridge Host Hotel, Mass Maritime Academy and Provincetown Inn during PMC weekend.

On July 7, 2014 PMC founder / executive director Billy Starr will head to the Harpoon brewery's brew deck and join Brewers & PMC riders Jaime Schier and Jamie Rudavsky to brew Harpoon PMC Beer.  This special brew will be sold by the pint from July 21st - Aug 1st in Harpoon's Beer Hall in Boston, with one dollar of every pint sold to support the PMC. Harppon PMC Beer will also be available to PMC riders at Mass Maritime Academy on Aug 2nd! For more information about Harpoon PMC Beer click here.

The following is a guest blog and Q&A session with Harpoon Brewers: Jaime Schier - Harpoon QC Manager/Brewer  (12 year PMC rider) & Jamie Rudavsky(JR) - Harpoon Inventory & Purchasing Manager/Brewer (4 year PMC rider) 

How many years have you been riding the PMC? 

Jaime S. - This will be my 12th year.

Jamie R. - I’ve been riding the PMC for 4 years now.  

What is your favorite beer?

Jaime S. - Harpoon IPA

Jamie R. - Harpoon IPA or Harpoon Rye IPA 

Why do you ride the PMC? 

Jaime S. - Two of my college roommates and a High School friend fought cancer in the years just after we graduated; the similarities between their lives and mine really brought home the fact that cancer can wreck anyone’s life at any moment. That was what originally got me motivated, but since then the thing that has kept me coming back year after year is the intense sense of purpose and community that the PMC fosters among riders and the sense that I am doing something (really the only thing someone like me can) to help others in the fight of their lives. 

Jamie R. - The main reason I ride the PMC is my father’s two time battle with prostate cancer.  I’ve also had other family and friends affected by the disease – they were either in a fight with cancer, or knew someone who was. Jaime and I were mountain biking friends and fellow BBQ buddies and he got me back into road biking in 2008.  I helped him with his PMC fundraising through lending a hand cooking and serving BBQ at New England Mountain Bike Association events around the Northeast.  What could be more fun than mountain biking, BBQing and helping a friend raise money for Dana Farber Cancer Institute?  Well, it didn’t take long:  Over time, our rides became “training rides”, although I wasn’t exactly training for anything at the time.   Some of our rides included some of his teammates from Team Forza-G.  Through encouragement and much thought, I decided I wanted to make the commitment and become part of the PMC.  I joined Team Forza-G. 

What do you look forward to most about PMC weekend? 

Jaime S. - I’m a cyclist by avocation; for me riding the 192 miles is easier than raising the funds required to participate. However, there are a lot of folks who ride the Pan-Mass Challenge each year who obviously aren’t cycling enthusiasts, people who you can tell at a glance are struggling and working really hard to finish that ride. I’ve come to learn that those people usually have the most compelling stories to tell, so I make a point each year to slow down as I ride along and ask a couple folks to tell me why they ride. I’ve heard some stories that left me smiling for the rest of the day and also some gut wrenching stories of loss and dedication. I like the happy ones better, but I look forward to both to reaffirm all the work we do each year to find a cure for cancer. 

Jamie R. - From the moment I left Sturbridge on my first PMC ride, I was amazed at all the people who had come out to cheer us on and thank us for raising funds to help find a cure for cancer.  Having a person on the side of the road thank you for saving their life is amazing and can bring you to tears once you realize what you are truly doing.  The most memorable moments of the PMC are turning onto Cherry Street, which I look forward to each year, the next is our team lunch stop and last but not least our team’s pie-stop.  Riding the PMC is very hard. Our loved ones offer amazing support each and every year and without them it would be very difficult to do this. Whether riding alone, with friends or teammates, I think about lots of things like why I ride the PMC, about the funds we raise for cancer research, my father and friends who battled with it.  I’m glad I got back into cycling and thankful for the people I know and don’t know that I can help.  

What is your favorite memory from PMC weekends in the past?

Jaime S. - I have been adopted by a family on Cherry St. in Wrentham as a kind of long-lost cousin; it all began in 2004 when I stopped along Cherry St. and asked to have my picture taken with the matriarch of the family, who was at the time a 25 year survivor. Each year the whole family is out on Saturday morning to cheer the riders, including my pal Margaret, and for 7 years we had a happy reunion in their driveway. On the 9th year she wasn’t there, having passed a few weeks before of congestive heart failure at almost 90 years of age. The family brought out a snapshot of she and I together on Cherry St from a previous year for me to carry along so that she would always be with me a little bit. I look forward to seeing the family every year, and bring that photo along on every Pan Mass Challenge. 

Jamie R. - I love being part of Team Forza-G!  What I find really exciting is getting together with my teammates for some training.  We have several planned rides each season, impromptu rides and sometimes we just get together for fun.  It’s funny but after each ride Harpoon IPA always seems to be involved.  There is nothing that tastes better after a couple hours in the saddle.  

Is there a comparison between brewing a beer and training and riding the PMC

Jaime S. - How about a comparison between science and cycling? I work in the brewery’s QA/QC Lab and am a science-y guy at heart: a favorite quote of mine is attributed to the cell biologist Harold Varmus, who was comparing cycling and scientific research: “Long flat intervals. Steep, sweaty, even competitive climbs. An occasional cresting of a mountain pass, with the triumphal downhill coast. Always work, sometimes pain. Rare exhilaration.” 

Jamie R. - I am the inventory and purchasing manager at Harpoon Brewery and believe my position and training for the PMC are very similar.  For example you cannot just brew a beer and package it.  You need to make sure you have all your approvals in place, packaging ordered, ingredients to brew and schedule to brew and package.  When you commit to the PMC you need to have a fundraising plan in place and log many training miles.  

What do you see the tie-in between riding and beer

Jaime S. - There’s a huge correlation between cycling and beer, and the people who like them; both are fun and social endeavors that are made better by sharing them with friends. Both can be enjoyed by almost anyone and bring a sense of happiness and well-being, and both have been demonstrated to have some positive health effects!  

Jamie R. - Riding and drinking beer go hand in hand.  When you finish a really tough ride you want to reward yourself with a great tasting beer.  

UPDATE - June 27, 2014: "Harpoon Creating New Beer To Benefit The Pan-Mass Challenge" - BostonMagazing.com


Harpoon Brewers: Jaime Schier (left) & Jamie Rudavsky (right)

Special thanks to Jessica Cox, Liz Melby & Merrill Allen from Harpoon for their contributions ot this post.