August 2, 2017

Biking to Beer

Using Boulder’s famed bike paths for a scenic brewery tour

It was a typically hot and dry summer afternoon in Colorado and my coworkers and I were off to an award-winning craft brewery, a locals favorite. By design, our offices are within a five-mile radius of five breweries, a handful of coffee shops, a multitude of restaurants and eateries, a natural food market and even a hand-crafted donut shop. (Can you tell our crew is fairly food-focused?) But even more important are the endless bike trails and breathtaking, expansive views of the foothills to the Rockies. So naturally we take the human-powered route to nearby said eateries and breweries whenever possible.

On this day, our calendared team outing took to a trail that vacillates between neighborhoods and open space filled with rolling green hills (unusual for Colorado this time of year), mature trees, and a running river. The scenery takes my mind off the fact that I’m riding with four professional cycling athletes. I am not a pro athlete. But I like riding, being outside and heading out on a social adventure with my coworkers. If we didn’t enjoy it so much you might have to give it a formal, corporate (wince) name like team development. Today, training or racing for a podium spot was not the point. The chatter, laughter and spontaneous spurts of glee (even bell-dinging!) and riding all together for the shared love of bikes and beer, was precisely the point.

When we rolled up to the brewery, I was giddy waiting for my hoppy reward. I’m partial to the big, some might say dank, hop beers popular in Colorado and it’s ever-growing microbrew scene. This brewery is known for their unique flavor combinations and high ABV percentage beers. The brewery and tap room are always overflowing with locals and tourists alike appreciative of the outdoor space, proper kitchen and welcoming energy.

I was pleasantly surprised when our group didn’t throw back their beers only to jump back on their bikes to continue the ride again, but instead settled in for a more leisure-styled afternoon session. They even ordered ribs and parmesan artichoke dip and garlic hummus, and and and…. I should have known better. Providing further comfort, we were all dressed for sun exposure, temperature, acceptable Boulder-area brewery-attire, which means pretty much anything goes.

After we slaked our thirst and sated our gastro cravings, told laughable stories, shared must-follow Instagram pages (as is a normal custom even if you’re not a Millennial), and took the obligatory selfie we were off. Back to the trails. I was surprised at how the ride back seemed to go much more quickly and how the new direction offered a wholly different set of sights. The mountain bikers in our group spotted a water drainage tunnel for some good potential trickery. Another rider pointed out a peculiar statue of a goat in a flourishing vegetable garden. Not surprisingly, the horizon and it’s lighting changed due to the sinking sun and afternoon rain clouds rolling in.

A simple trail ride on our bikes created this memorable outing with vacation-like vistas and scenery with tantalizing treats for beer-lovers and foodies. Summer at its best.

/Liz Verhoeven

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