Brewery Snapshot: Gunbarrel Brewing Company

Driving through the farms and fields on the approach to Gunbarrel Brewing Company it seems impossible that you will find anything remotely resembling a brewery, but if you look carefully for an industrial park on the west side of 71st Avenue you’ll get your reward. The day we visited, the cavernous taproom felt very empty and low-energy but the patio was pleasant-enough and the extensive beer list of all styles, combined with great service, encouraged us to linger for just one more.

BEER LINEUP: For a small brewery, Gunbarrel delivers a huge taplist of about 20 beers that cover the spectrum from wheat to stout with a lot of pleasant surprises in between including a saison, several fruit beers, a gose, some IPAs. They also offer several barrel-aged options.20180729_135304_hdr.jpg

ATMOSPHERE: We visited mid-day on a Sunday, which arguably is not the busiest time for any brewery, so we were the only patrons for a while. As such, it’s hard to guess at the normal energy of the place, but for us the huge building was very quiet. The large industrial-looking front room gives way to a gameroom on the back with pinball and pool, and there’s a huge bar for easy access during busy periods. Additionally, they offer a shady patio and seem to have regular food trucks. Naturally everything seemed very laid-back on our visit.

SERVICE: Despite the emptiness of the place, Gunbarrel had several servers working, which probably contributed to the excellent service we received. They were attentive, 20180729_142040_HDRfriendly, and knowledgeable about their beers.

NEIGHBORHOOD: Really none to speak of. Situated in an industrial park surrounded by farms, Gunbarrel appears to be the only retail-oriented business for miles and thus is definitely a destination. The remote location comes with the 20180729_135800_HDRbenefit of ample parking, and the LOBO trail lies about 1/4 mile to the south and offers bikers convenient access.

STANDOUT BEER: Memberberry is a New England IPA heavily infused with berries. The cloudy, reddish-copper color provides a tipoff that this is more than your normal NEIPA, and the berry sweetness provides an interesting contrast to the hoppiness. Raspberry and blueberry predominate. Overall, the light body and fruitiness make for a refreshing summer sip.

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”