This past August marked the Big Creek Bikes and Brews Polk City annual event. This event, whose proceeds support a different cause each year, featured both a 12-mile and 25-mile bike ride throughout the Big Creek State Park.
“The ride is mostly trails showing off the most beautiful parts of Polk City and beyond,” Big Creek Bikes and Brews organizer Megan Griffith of P&M Apparel said.
In addition to highlighting a variety of local businesses and breweries, this year’s chosen cause paid special tribute to a new member of the community. In fact, what started as home brewers who met through church, Fenders Brewing is now a licensed brewery that will be coming to the Polk City Square this fall.
“My business partner and I were in P&M Apparel talking about ordering T-shirts for sale. They were the ones throwing Bikes and Brews. Megan Griffith’s husband worked with my dad and Megan grew up with my older sister,” Fenders Brewing co-owner Steve Crann said. “My dad passed away in May this last year and all of his treatments and surgery were at John Stoddard Cancer Center.”
In honor of Crann’s father, the proceeds from the event were donated to the John Stoddard Cancer Center.
“One thing he noticed while having treatment was all the patients that would come in that could not afford it. He would want you to give to them,” Crann said, “My dad did not have any connection to Polk City, the town, but rather connections to so many people all around. And, that is really how these donations came to be.”
This year’s event also showcased two other main breweries on the town square.
Based out of Des Moines, Confluence Brewing started with a failed attempt at making “raisin almond beer.” Today, this brewery specializes in a wide range of beers that play tribute to the state of Iowa (Beaverdale Brick Amber Ale, Des Moines IPA and Capital Gold Golden Lager, to name a few).
Mistress Brewing Company, on the other hand, is a brewery based out of Ankeny and is no stranger to the Polk City area. Throughout the years they have showcased a variety of beers, including their Mistress Blonde Ale, Mistress Red IPA, Mistress English Brown Ale and Mistress Amber Ale.
In addition to showcasing these local breweries, the event also played host to food trucks, post-ride massages courtesy of Sands Chiropractic, a performance by Dick Danger Band and yard games provided by newly formed Riverbend Sport and Social Club.
There to represent the Riverbed Sport and Social Club’s Polk City debut, Katy Doughty utilized her love and experience in athletics to help create a social sports atmosphere that connects young adults to the city in which they live.
“We saw a need to bring an adult sport and social atmosphere to Des Moines. There are a lot of city leagues, but nothing that brought the sports and social pieces together,” Riverbend Sport and Social Club co-owner Doughty said.
A sport management major in school, Doughty has traveled to various states, including Colorado and Washington, before opening Riverbend Sport and Social Club in January of 2017.
“We are always looking for ways to expand, including small communities,” Doughty said.
All in all, the good weather played a major factor in the success of the event, making it a perfect day for bikers to get out and about to enjoy a good ride for a good cause.
“We had over 100 riders — making this a record-breaking year for us. This will actually be my last year doing it before passing the baton. So, I’m excited it will go out with such a bang,” Griffith said.