This ride packs in a lot of beers and a fair amount of riding, taking you from Glendale to Aurora via Cherry Creek State park using mostly paved trails. There are several big hills and it is exposed so riders need to be in decent shape and keep an eye on the weather.
The ride starts in Glendale at Bull & Bush Brewery , a British-style venue that offers good parking, nice outdoor seating, food, and of course beer! Bull & Bush has been making beer for 20 years and offers a broad range of house-brewed styles along with bottles and drafts from domestic and British brewers. We visited with a large group and the servers were extremely accommodating and efficient, juggling beer and food orders and getting everything right.
From there we crossed the street and headed south on the Cherry Creek Trail til we turned left at Place Bridge Academy, then right onto a trail that aligned us with E Florida Ave and our first big hill of the day. This portion requires the only (brief) street-riding of the day and after crossing Parker Road and turning left on the sidewalk we quickly arrived at Copper Kettle Brewing Co. In comparison with Bull and Bush, Copper Kettle is a stripped-down craft brewery. The taproom and patio are smaller and food comes from takeout or food trucks. However the focus on beer remains and Copper Kettle keeps crowd-pleasers on tap like the light Helles, an IPA or two, and of course their Mexican Chocolate Stout. They also roll out seasonal and experimental beers so you may luck into something adventurous.
After resting on the patio with a few beers it was time to make a beeline for Dry Dock Brewing Co. and the longest stretch of the ride. We backtracked to Florida Ave but turned left on the Highline Canal Trail just before the big downhill. The ride to Dry Dock is straightforward but grueling: Highline Trail to Cherry Creek Trail, south into Cherry Creek State Park, stay left along Parker Rd, turn left at the somewhat hidden exit for Hampden, then straight east to the brewery at Chambers. With full sun exposure for much of the ride, you’ll encounter two big hills followed by a steady uphill that will get you to Dry Dock in a thirsty mood. Dry Dock offers a wide range of beer styles in their large indoor & outdoor seating areas along with friendly and fast service, both bar and table. They have menus for a variety of takeout places, though no food of their own except the popcorn machine. To help stave off dehydration, the water machine is to the right of the bar and restrooms.
Fully recovered and rehydrated we reversed course down Hampden back onto the northbound Cherry Creek Trail and followed it all the way to Iliff. Once we passed under the bridge we followed Iliff west for a block until we reached Comrade Brewing Co. The industrial taproom sits in an auto-repair strip mallwith big garage doors opening to the parking lot where there’s generally a food truck parked. Comrade has a serious IPA focus, so if IPAs are your thing you’ll find plenty to drink. If not, they generally have a couple of other decent options on both the light and dark side. Either way, to get beer or water make your way to the service counter where you’ll receive friendly and well-informed service (the water is self-serve).
Finally, just a short northerly ride on the Cherry Creek Trail will bring you back to Bull and Bush. With four breweries and significant riding this will make for a long day. If the first hill is too taxing you can skip Dry Dock and head straight to Comrade, or mix it up a variety of ways since it’s a loop.