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”
While I’ve been to Dry Dock Brewing Co.’s South Dock in Aurora dozens of times over the years, this past weekend I finally made it to the Canoe Room at the North Dock, partly to check out their taproom and partly to try their disc golf course. The taproom side was much less busy and and more laid back than South Dock but the beer selection didn’t seem to be much different, despite what I had previously heard. The disc golf course was fun but a little rough, located on an old industrial site filled with prairie dogs. If you golf, grab a map from the taproom before starting, since some of the hole alignments are hard to decipher. We didn’t fully realize that until we got back to the taproom and realized we missed an entire hole. There are some challenging placements right on the edge of a ditch that runs through the site, but overall the course is on the short side.
BEER LINEUP: From what I could tell the lineup looked much like South Dock, ranging from light Pilsners through the IPA and Amber range up to a couple stouts and their famous Vanilla Porter. Basically they offer something for about every taste, generally solidly-made.
ATMOSPHERE: The taproom had a chill, fun vibe going on in with a graduation party happening as well. Aside from the wood-paneled taproom, the Canoe Room has an industrial back room in the production area featuring couches and games like air hockey. People kept drifting in and out of the different spaces and the brewery so the whole thing seemed a little more like a college party than people trying to make a scene, as in some breweries in town.
SERVICE: Reasonable. We asked for beer; the server delivered. Not much chitchat but after a hot day of disc golf we happily settled for an efficient beer-delivery mechanism.
NEIGHBORHOOD: Kansas, basically. Clearly a production facility vs. retail, the industrial location east of the airport puts function over form. Don’t count on any food or other local businesses to visit. However it is easy to find on Tower Road just south of I70, with clear signage and ample parking. The truly cool thing about the remote location is that it leaves room for the disc golf course, which is a pretty unique amenity for a brewery.
STANDOUT BEER: Maybe it was disc golfing in 90-degree weather but the Wheat offered a refreshing and satisfying experience. Normally I wouldn’t get too excited about a wheat but this packed more complexity than your stereotypical light-yellow beer. The maltiness on the front provided a unique surprise for such a light beer, but then some hefeweizen-like banana esters kicked and pulled it back in the wheat direction. The end result was a beer with a lot going on but ultimately a refreshingly balanced and satisfying beverage.
Yesterday Wynkoop Brewing Co. sponsored their annual Day of the Darks in support of Movember and for dark-beer lovers it was Thanksgiving come early! About 30 breweries poured some of their finest in support of men’s health charities, while Wynkoop provided snacks and cholcolate for pairing. If you’re into darks, some of the highlights I’d recommend checking out if you find yourself by the brewery or at a liquor store are:
- Boggy Draw Groundhog Mountain Milk Stout – Not overly sweet like some at the Fest. The light sweetness provides balance to the slight bitterness of the roast malt
- Boggy Draw Wee Stout – Combines English hops flavors (primaly tea) with roast malt
- Strange & Epic Strangely Epic Imperial Cherry Stout – Collaboration using Strange’s Cherry Kriek and Epic’s Big Bad Baptist. The Baptist definitely won out with the rich malty flavors taking center stage and only a hint of cherry
- Strange Pumpkin Porter – Strange used 25 lb of pumpkin per barrel to make a beer that’s not overwhelming on the pumkin spice and carries notes of vanilla and honey too
- Dry Dock Peaunut Butter Porter – Crazy-good beer that tasted like a Reeses Peanut Butter Cup
- Dry Dock Quad – Also a crazy-good beer with complex flavors of raisin, malt, carmel, and vanilla. Unlike lots of quads it doesn’t have the sharp alcohol flavor
- Left Hand Smoke Jumper – A nice dark beer with a hickory BBQ type of smokiness that almost makes the beer savory.It reminded me of a good smoked cheddar
- Liquid Mechanics Cascadian Dark – An unusual black IPA that does a great balancing act between the up-front floral/citrus hops and the subtle dark-roast malt flavors
- Briar Common American Porter – Dark-roast malt combined with robust coffee flavors
For the fifth annual A Night to Remember fundraiser, seven Aurora breweries each brewed their own unique version of a Belgian Strong Ale. So far I’ve only tried the Copper Kettle and Two22 versions but the tastiness of those makes me want to track down the other five. Continue reading “Aurora Strong – Same Idea, Seven Interpretations”