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.

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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.

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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

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Highlands Ranch Ride

Perhaps a  C470 trail brewery bike tour on a 99-degree day wasn’t the wisest move. The trail is hot and exposed and has a couple of decent hills, although overall the ride isn’t that long – approx 7.5 miles. I’d recommend it as a good fall ride. Regardless, everyone survived and perhaps enjoyed the cold beers even more.

Our meeting point was Lone Tree Brewing across from Furniture Row right off C470 (exit Quebec and head east if driving). Their style is mostly what I’d call Colorado Brewery In A Box – taproom with lots of wood, exposed brew systems, patio. The key differences are the merch, which is definitely Highlands Ranch oriented (branded soaps and coasters), and the very-thoughtful “adults-only” section. I thought that was a nice and unique feature for people who may want a more peaceful drinking experience. As far as the beers, almost any beer-drinker, no matter how picky, will find something to his or her taste. Expect every major style to be represented along with more adventurous offerings like their Peach Pale Ale and a Dill Rye IPA. That’s not a typo Dill . . . Rye . . . IPA. Continue reading “Highlands Ranch Ride”