Thursday, October 31, 2013

Biking for Colorado Beer

I made a big move from Boston to Denver earlier this month and I've enjoyed familiarizing myself with all the local breweries. I moved out with three bikes and no car, so you can guess how I've been getting around. I've enjoyed figuring out a new set of bike paths and getting lost in unfamiliar neighborhoods. The Colorado drivers give bikers such an incredibly generous amount of room that on my first bike ride down a busy street I couldn't help but laugh out loud. I've never felt so safe on a bike (except for maybe in Montreal).

So far I've biked to:
Great Divide
Crooked Stave at the Source
Black Shirt Brewery
Epic Brewery
River North
Denver Beer Company
Cannonball Creek Brewery

I drove to:
Caution: Brewery 
Vine Street Pub
Oskar Blues
Left Hand

That means I've visited approximately 6.8% of Colorado's 189 breweries. Something about crossing those breweries off my list made me wonder, what if I biked to all of the breweries in Colorado? I might have been slightly inspired by the first hikers to hike to and up all 53 of the 14,000 foot mountains in Colorado. It's something I'd really like to do (the biking not all the hiking), even though my first climb on the way up to Golden left me breathless and looking for hill avoidance routes on the way home. But I'm acclimating both to the thinner air and the idea that if I'm going on a long term bike trek, I should probably try out some lengthier and more difficult trips. What better motivation is there than visiting a brewery for the first time?

I'll keep a running list of the breweries I've biked to, along with blog updates on the trips and distance traveled to get there. I'll start counting on my next trip because I don't mind revisiting the ones listed above. Here's to hoping I can see them all.
Sometimes the best beer is the one you climbed 1,000 feet over two miles for. 
Here are some Denver area breweries that I plan to bike to in the next month and then I'll start expanding my radius for as long as I can handle the cold.
Hogshead (which I always want to call Hogsmeade) 
Wits End
Brewery Rickoli
Copper Kettle Brewing
Bull & Bush

Suggestions and tips are always welcome. I'll be working on this section of Colorado first. Plenty of breweries to choose from.

View Denver Metro Breweries in a larger map

Friday, October 11, 2013

Great American Beer Fest bike trip part 1

It's my favorite time of the year, Great American Beer Fest time. The fest is in full swing and I conveniently moved from Boston to Denver yesterday. My bikes all made it in one piece and I'm ready to mingle with the thousands of other beer nerds that have descended upon the city. This will be seventh year attending GABF so I like to mix it up and try new things. Luckily, each year there seems to be a new neighborhood blowing up and usually about 5-10 new breweries to try out. My plans for today are simple, I'll be coming down from the Highlands fueled by Scratch Burrito and Happy Tap and hanging out in the River North and LoDo neighborhoods before heading to the What The Funk fest. I don't like to travel long distances by bike when there are this many people out drinking all day, and especially not when I plan to be sampling beer all day, so this map is also very walkable. Be safe out there and enjoy the ride.

View Larger Map

A. Starting point is at Union Station
B. Crooked Stave - The Source 3350 Brighton Boulevard
C. Black Shirt Brewing Co 3719 Walnut Street Hours: 5-10pm
D. Epic Brewery 3001 Walnut Street Hours: 12 - 9pm
E. Our Mutual Friend 2810 Larimer Street Hours: 2 - 10
F. River North 2401 Blake Street #1 Hours: 3 - 10 (1-10 on Saturday)
G. Great Divide  2201 Arapahoe Street, Obviously not a new one but it's here because this was the first brewery I went to on my 21st birthday and I've been going back as often as possible ever since. Hours: 12 - 10 

I'd tell you more about how great all these breweries are but I've got to get moving.