Brewery Snapshot: Bootstrap Brewing Company

Located in sleepy Niwot, Bootstrap Brewing Company embraces the friendly and slow-paced small-town feel. With a fittingly rustic taproom and a large patio with a grass game area this  brewery seems designed for families and locals stopping in for a pint and friendly chat.  The taplist is sufficiently broad to offer at least one option for any beer drinker and the bartender wasn’t shy about playing mix & match to create even more tasty concoctions.

BEER LINEUP: Bootstrap serves up a moderate number and variety of beers, consisting solely of light-to-medium beers. All the beers I sampled were good, but dark beer lovers be warned that the darkest on the menu was a red. The menu contained mostly traditional styles with a few experimentals like pineapple and chili. In all fairness I believe they rotate in a couple of darker styles seasonally.20180729_144122_HDR

ATMOSPHERE: The taproom echoed the feeling of the small town of Niwot, with friendly regulars hanging out and chatting with each other, the bartender, and newcomers like us to create a truly welcoming feel. The wood and metal taproom can get cramped during busy times but creates a cozy feel even when not full. Additionally, Bootstrap has a large patio for games and families.

20180729_144234_HDRSERVICE: The bartender was super-friendly and helpful in making beer recommendations and suggestions including a special combination of two beers (see below).

NEIGHBORHOOD: You definitely feel small-town Colorado in Niwot and the relaxed pace encompasses both the old-fashioned downtown and the brewery. Everything is nearby so you can easily stroll around and grab food or do some shopping combined with a Bootstrap visit. Needless to say, parking is plentiful and free.

STANDOUT BEER: Per the bartender’s suggestion, I tried a half & 20180729_144945_HDRhalf of Backfire Chili and Chillax Pineapple Gold. Both beers were awesome in their own right, with the Backfire bringing on intense heat and Chillax serving up light pineapple sweetness blended perfectly into the base beer without off-flavors or weirdness that I’ve found with most pineapple beers. Together they make something truly amazing. Each sip starts sweet and gives almost the full pineapple flavor and then after a few seconds the pepper catches up for a spicy finish without being as intense as straight Backfire. It may be the best beer mix I’ve ever had.

 

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. Continue reading “Short Boulder Area Ride”