Short Boulder Area Ride

This ride visits three breweries east of Boulder, mostly using the LOBO Trail, with the option to add more breweries as needed. About 75% of the ride is on gravel trails through pleasant greenways, with the remainder on paved trails and little bit of street riding. Due to the condition of a few trails this might not be appropriate for road bikes. My hybrid handled it easily. Normally the trails offer spectacular front-range views but the day we rode the weather/fires did not cooperate, making for murky views.20180729_131203_hdr.jpg

The ride starts at Gunbarrel Brewing Company, which takes a bit of effort to locate. Driving through fields and farms it seems like there could in no way be a brewery in the area, but you’ll encounter a lone industrial park and that’s your target. If driving, you need to loop way behind the brewery and back to the front to find ample parking. We arrived as the brewery opened and had the cavernous industrial space all to ourselves so  we received fantastic service, although the overall vibe was pretty subdued. Gunbarrel offers a very long list of beers as well as pool and pinball in the back room so if you come with friends you can certainly entertain yourself. The taproom also offers a shady patio for relaxing and it appeared like a food truck was firing up as we headed out.

From the taproom we cut across the grass to the road and headed 20180729_131121_hdr.jpgsouth on 71st Street for a couple minutes to the LOBO Trail crossing, then took a left onto the gravel trail. The trail offers a pleasant ride along a stream with rural views including farms, barns, and even cows. On nicer days, you also get pretty mountain views. The trail has sustained a bit of water damage in some areas so be careful. In Monarch Park pay attention to split left onto the Dry Creek trail to minimize road riding. Regardless of which fork you choose you will reach 79th Street, where you take a left and head down the road to Niwot and Boostrap Brewing on your right.

Bootstrap Brewing Company has a reasonably diverse 20180729_144122_HDRtaplist and a pleasant patio for relaxing after the ride. Alternately, you can retreat to the dark and rustic taproom and chat with the friendly customers and servers. Both the brewery and town have a slow-paced, small-town feel and offer a pleasant way to spend part of the afternoon.

20180729_161040_hdr.jpgTo reach our final brewery, we reversed course but instead of exiting the LOBO Trail on 71st Avenue near Gunbarrel we continued on the winding trail until the paved portion, eventually ending up at Lookout Road. Turning right past some new condos, then another quick right on Spine Road we reached Finkel & Garf on the left.

The first thing you’ll see at Finkel & Garf Craft Beer is the well-maintained grassy patio with lawn furniture and games, and this is echoed inside by a carefully-decorated taproom that also contains a wide variety of skill and board 20180729_163340_hdr.jpggames. Finkel & Garf serves a moderate spectrum of beers, with basic styles as well as some experimental brews. The bourbon-barrel-aged stout was exceptional. The younger crowd in the taproom included some families, which made for an active, energetic feel. The only downside was the somewhat indifferent service.

This is the part of the tour when you can mix & match and add other breweries for bonus points. You can easily reach Asher and Avery  by heading south on Spine Road across Lookout Road and connecting onto a trail that pops you out on Nautilus Drive to approach both breweries from the back.

Returning to Gunbarrel,  reverse the route on the LOBO Trail and and exit left on 71st Avenue.  Ride for about two minutes back to the starting point at Gunbarrel.

Given the relative proximity of the breweries and the ease of the ride this route allows for a leisurely afternoon of beer-sampling, food-truck munching, and pretty views along the way.

Click HERE for the route.



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