On a sleepy summer Sunday we ventured out on bikes along the wooded Highline Canal to visit three great south suburban breweries. The ride was slightly longer than usual and we had to tackle a few big hills but the tasty beers made it all worthwhile! Most of the ride is on-trail, with much of it on the scenic canal, although part of the route uses the C470 trail, which currently has major construction. The trails switch between packed gravel and concrete so road bikes may find it challenging. A good map app is essential, as the route features loads of twists and turns.
Starting at Halfpenny Brewing Company near Arapahoe & Holly, we enjoyed the mostly American- and German-style beers in the new biergarden (out back past the brewing equipment). The patio can get hot since it’s really just a fenced-off section of parking lot with a partial sun shade, but hopefully when the hops grow up it’ll have more atmosphere. For beer, you’ll mostly find comfortable, traditional beers with a sprinkling of experimental stuff like Lichtenhainer smoked-sour (Seedstock collaboration) and a Cherry Cardamom Wheat. The staff was all super-friendly and helpful and our big group had no problem finding space in the large taproom amongst the regulars. If you get hungry, there are several food places in the strip mall, including a pizza joint.
Next we headed off to Three Freaks Brewing near Park Meadows. The ride was absolutely beautiful and very peaceful along the Highline Canal and local streams, with amazing voyeuristic views of swanky Cherry Hills Village mansions. The end turned somewhat less peaceful, as we navigated the sun-baked C470 trail with traffic whizzing by. Just past Quebec look for the strip mall on your right with Le Peep and Egg Roll King. Go past the building and you’ll find a trail into their parking lot.
Three Freaks Brewery has a small brewing system so beers cycle through quickly. The brewers usually get a little experimental so go in with an expectation of “anything goes” and don’t be afraid to try some of the unusual-seeming combinations – you’re unlikely to be disappointed! This is actually one of my favorite stops on any south suburban beer crawls because it’s always a surprise. The small taproom has a very laid-back vibe, and you can also sit out front on the shaded patio. Despite the big third anniversary celebration on Saturday, the staff was energetic and amazingly friendly and helpful, as usual. Seriously, talk to the staff – there’s always something interesting going on. There’s not much for food in the area, although rumor had it that the Egg Roll King is worth a visit. Sadly they hadn’t opened yet.
From there it was off down the wide-open C470 trail through construction and some good-sized hills. A right turn at Colorado took us one block to the corner of County Line where the dead-looking strip mall contains Blue Spruce Brewing Company. For some reason the space has always seemed a little chain-restaurant-like but the beers are most definitely original. Blue Spruce has a huge taplist with virtually every style so this might be a good place for a flight. They also have a kitchen so if you haven’t already eaten it’s probably advisable after all the beers! Sundays feature all-day Happy Hour which involves $1 off beers and a food-special menu. The large taproom opens onto an enclosed deck on one side and a small sunny patio on the other. After the hot ride along C470 our group opted for the blissfully air-conditioned indoors. Service was kind of random but friendly, although we might have been a little disorganized ourselves by that point.
Finally, back to Halfpenny following the sidewalks on Colorado Boulevard for a bit and then cutting through neighborhood streets and a bit of trail. Overall this ride provides a decent balance between chugging down the calories and working them off, and will become somewhat easier once the C470 construction wraps up. It can be done in any sequence, as all three breweries have ample parking.