Southwest Ride

Now that summer is finally in full swing I’m inspired to get outdoors at do a little brewery-hopping! Last weekend we took a bike ride on the southwest side of town, starting and ending at St Patrick’s Brewing, with a few planned and unplanned stops in between. We stuck 99% to trails and avoided street riding.

outdoor-games-at-st-patricks.jpgSt Patrick’s has a great summer setup with a beautiful location in downtown Littleton right on the Platte River with a huge lawn for lounging or playing games. We enjoyed relaxing in the expansive outdoor area and fortifying ourselves for the ride with a few beers and food-truck eats.  The current taplist at the lager-focused brewery features summer-friendly beers including multiple blonde styles like Strawberry, Luminosity (lemon & honey), and Peach Mango along with an Irish Berry Wheat and Fire Melon. All that I sampled had refreshing lightness and fruitiness for a hot summer day. As a starting point for a ride, St Patrick’s has the distinct advantage of a large parking area and direct access to the Platte River Trail.

From St. Patrick’s we went out the back gate and took a right onto the trail to head north for several miles. Pay attention as you pass the Overland Park golf course on the right because the end of the golf course is Florida where you’ll turn left for half a block, then cross Florida at Lipan and burn off some beer calories chugging uphill to Chain Reaction.

After the big hill climb the Pink Peppercorn Saison at Chain Reaction Brewing was especially refreshing, and the big garage doors made the whole place feel like a patio. Chain Reaction also has a good-sized deck and super-friendly staff (often one of the owners) who will happily offer up beer samples and suggestions. Although they often have several beers with innovative flavor combinations, their current taplist consists of primarily their year-round brews. Hopefully they’ll bring more rotating beers online as the summer progresses, because the one summer-style beer that they brought back this year, the Cilantro Lime Serrano Wheat, was awfully tasty and better than I remember it – a blend of the pepper and lime with just a hint of cilantro layered on the refreshing wheat beer. Some of our party also hit up the food truck here for sustinance.

At this point things started to go sideways, with much confusion on our next destination. Finally a  few of us decided to go back south to Boggy Draw Brewery. The advantage of Chain Reaction’s hilltop location is the big downhill after downing a few beers. We took a left turn out of Chain Reaction and headed south on Lipan to retrace our steps to the South Platte Trail. After a southbound ride of a few miles we broke off to the right at the big Regal movie theater just after the Hampden underpass. It’s hard to describe how to get to Boggy Draw but basically go west across the theater parking lot to the light-industrial building facing Hampden. For first-timers, just use your map app.

20170609_080415_hdr.jpgBoggy Draw has a rustic/hunting theme and a lot of interesting beers (see Brewery Snapshot from my visit just a few days prior for full details). The staff is always super-helpful and the taplist generally features a mix of traditional styles and experimental combinations to keep things interesting. The whole feel is very comfortable and it seems like a bunch of regulars who are happy to hang out with each other as well as newcomers. The downsides: no patio and no food, although the River Point strip mall complex is just across the street.

Again we retraced our path back to the South Platte Trail and head south to The Pint Room, which is just past Bellview on the right and has direct paths up from the trail. Unless you’ve had far too much at the previous stops it’s pretty hard to miss.

As a taphouse, The Pint Room offers dozens of brews with numerous varieties of every style long with an expansive patio overlooking the river on which to enjoy them. It also has a full  kitchen so it’s easy to end here with a bit of food to stabilize all the beer as we did, or make this a mid-ride refuel.

Finally a very short ride further south on the trail to St Patrick’s to wind up the day. Realistically with all the breweries along or near the trail you could easily come up with dozens of creative sequences of beer stops. Aside from the first two stops our group kind of winged it since it was a beautiful day and we had no set agenda. Some possible options include Declaration Brewing, the Breckenridge Farmhouse, Brew on  Broadway (BOB), Locovore, or Dead Hippy.

Link to route:

https://goo.gl/maps/tBjkHEnGu4R2

 

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