Cherry Creek Trail Fall Colors Ride

This ride is similar to one I posted earlier in the summer but visits a new-ish outpost of Crazy Mountain in Glendale and drops one stop to account for the shorter days. You might not get much of the beautiful fall colors along the Cherry Creek Trail any more but the ride still offers pretty creek and mountain views.

We started at Crazy Mountain Brewery in Glendale, 20171022_120349_hdr.jpgwhich took over the former World of Beer location. They’ve slowly built up their taplist to about 35 beers including their own brews and guest taps. The vibe is seriously laid back, especially on a weekend afternoon, and if you can catch a nice day the patio offers some sunning opportunities. Although Crazy Mountain doesn’t have food there are numerous places nearby that deliver if you want to avoid drinking and biking on an empty stomach.

Leaving Crazy Mountain, we crossed over Cherry Creek Drive South to access the Cherry Creek Trail and headed south before cutting off to the left at Place Bridge Academy and catching a trail at the backside of their parking lot that leads to Quebec & Florida. Crossing Quebec we headed up Florida to Parker Road, crossed at the light, took a sharp left in front of Walmart, then rode briefly northbound along Parker before turning off at Valentia to reach Copper Kettle. This is by far the trickiest part of the ride because Florida has a rather steep hill and you pretty much need to ride on the street.

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Copper Kettle Brewing Co. was quite disappointing, with a very small selection of beers. We may have just caught them in between batches or something because normally they have a broad range of tasty beers. At any rate, the taproom offers a cozy place to hang out and sip one of their brews, or if it’s nice you can take your beer out on the deck. They typically have a food truck.

From Copper Kettle we reversed course 20171016_170145_HDRalong Parker, down Florida, and past Place Bridge to get back to the Cherry Creek Trail where we took a left to continue south. After a flat and easy ride we reached Iliff, where we exited the trail to the right and headed west a couple blocks to a strip mall with Comrade.

Comrade Brewing Co. continues its reputation for making solid beers and this visit did not disappoint. Although I’ve generally found their taproom to be a bit sterile, the service always impresses and the beers help compensate as well, particularly if you are a hop-lover. Comrade also consistently has a food truck.

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From Comrade it is an easy return to Crazy Mountain, heading east on Iliff to Cherry Creek and taking the trail all the way back. In the past we have done similar rides with a stop at Bull & Bush so if you want bonus beers that’s an easy detour on the way back to Crazy Mountain. Just exit the trail a little bit early at Cherry Street and cross over the bridge, then when are done you can just ride the few blocks on Cherry Creek South to Crazy Mountain.

Route: Fall Cherry Creek Trail 

 

Littleton – Highlands Ranch Loop

Another long ride similar to the Southeast Ride, this one cuts through a state park with a reservoir, features scenic trails and mountain views, and for better or worse takes on some big hills. A couple of differences include a much more rural setting, some on-road stretches along high-speed Santa Fe, sections of gravel trail, and a railroad crossing.

The ride starts at the Breckenridge Brewery Farmhouse, 20170301_174707_hdr1.jpgwhere you can get primed for the long ride with both tasty homestyle food and beer served either in the farmhouse building, on one of its screened patios, or in the expansive beer garden. The Farmhouse is extremely busy but if you start early parking shouldn’t be an issue and the service is always efficient. The beer selection can be hit or miss, so maybe just have one before grabbing your bike, riding out the main entrance, and heading left to launch southbound on the South Platte River Trail (Mary Carter Greenway on some signs). Continue reading “Littleton – Highlands Ranch Loop”

Hilly Southeast Ride

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. Continue reading “Hilly Southeast Ride”

Sunday Funday South Suburban Ride

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 20170315_185333_HDRwith 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.

Continue reading “Sunday Funday South Suburban Ride”

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.

Continue reading “Southwest Ride”

Platte River Ride

Fall Mountain Ride

Though not for the faint of heart, the ride from Dillon to Breckenridge is a beautiful one, especially in the fall, with changing aspens and most importantly breweries in both towns. The only drawback is that the breweries are clustered at the ends, leaving a 15-mile dry stretch in between (or you could stop in Frisco). On a recent Saturday ride I started in Dillon, found the trail along the inside of the dam, then rode mostly uphill to Broken Compass in Breckenridge. The ride skirts Lake Dillon and provides spectacular views of the water, the mountains, and the fall color.I had hoped to get the hard uphill work out of the way first and be rewarded with some beer and a downhill cruise – not so much.

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Starting out on Dillon Dam

Continue reading “Fall Mountain Ride”