Great rides near great breweries
Good news, riders: According to a recent by the Brewers Association, there are nearly 3,000 craft brewers in the U.S.—meaning the odds of finding a uniquely delicious brew near a tasty trail are better than ever. What’s here is far from a definitive list; instead, think of it as a variety pack meant to inspire wanderlust and encourage connections to local brewmasters. Cheers.
Ride: The Arizona Trail, Flagstaff; AZ
Brew: Mother Road Brewing Company
Flagstaff recently kicked off an in-town Ale Trail—not a bike trail, but a self-guided brewery tour—to highlight the variety of local beers and pubs (flagstaffaletrail.com), so you know you have options. (Mother Road, one of the breweries along the trail, is a local favorite.) And the trail? Lots of options here, too. Local riders make loops out to The Arizona Trail (AZT)—a highly praised long-distance trail that extends to Utah— from the many networks of trails in Flagstaff.
Trail info: absolutebikes.net/visitor-info/flagstaff/
Ride: Horsetooth Mountain Park; Fort Collins, CO
Brew: New Belgium Brewery
There’s lots of great riding in the Fort Collins area, but Horsetooth is only 4 miles from town and has 29 miles of trails covering a range of difficulties. And why New Belgium? It’s the home of Fat Tire Amber Ale, for starters. How could you go wrong?
Trail info: larimer.org/naturalresources/htmp.cfm
Ride: Dupont State Recreational Forest; Brevard, NC
Brew: Oskar Blues Brewery
Oskar Blues is big on bikes—and beer! In Brevard, you get easy access to the Dupont Forest, with 80 miles of multiuse trails. Create your own loop; for a good experience, be sure to hit the Reasonover Trail and Turkey Knob…and end with the excellent and fun downhill of the Ridgeline Trail.
Trail info: ncforestservice.gov/contacts/dsf.htm
Ride: Phil’s Trail System; Bend, OR
Brew: Deschutes Brewing Co.
With 16 craft breweries in city limits, it’s hard to pick just one’—but Deschutes sponsors local racing, hosts cyclocross races, and supports the Central Oregon Trail Alliance, so they deserve some props. And the riding? Phil’s is one of the most-popular riding spots in the area, with a variety of connecting trails built by locals and a trailhead that’s only 3 miles from town. Lots of singletrack, no super-steep climbs, and fast descents—not a bad choice.
Trail info: ormtb.com/Central_Oregon/CO_Trails/Phils.htm
Ride: Kingdom Trails; East Burke, VT
Brew: Trout River Brewing
More than 100 miles of trails from beginner to expert, options for lift-accessed riding, and more. The Darling Hill area trails are fast, usually non-technical singletrack for a variety of skill levels; options at Burke Mountain get rowdier, including the full-face-helmet-and-pads-recommended Free Ride trail. Beer? Trout River is seven miles away. Along with craft brews, they also make excellent pizza Thursday through Sunday during the summer.
Trail info: kingdomtrails.org
Ride: Nine Mile County Forest Recreation Area; Wausau, WI
Brew: Red Eye Brewing
There are more challenging rides in Wisconsin, but Nine Mile is just 5 miles from Wausau, has a fun mix of terrain, and is home to the Wausau 24, a 24-hour mountain bike race (wausau24.com). Along with offering a solid selection of American and Belgian-style beers, Red Eye Brewing makes a mean pizza, too.
Trail info: co.marathon.wi.us/Departments/ParksRecreationForestry/CountyForests/ForestUnits/NineMile.aspx