10 Beer Towns with Excellent Mountain Biking Trails
Beer–more specifically, craft beer and mountain biking trails are almost synonymous today. It’s quite common to see spandex-clad, sweat-soaked, smiling bikers sipping a cold brew as a post ride “recovery drink.” Well, “recovery drink” may be a bit of a stretch, but there’s nothing more rewarding after a hard, punishing ride than a good, cold beer. Besides, you have to rehydrate somehow, and beer wins over gatorade every time. There are so many people who drink beer, but do you know the different types that you may be consuming. From Chinese beer to Australian beer, the taste varies. You may find that you like one type better than the other. It’s all about personal preference.
Bikes and brews, they go hand in hand. So much so that numerous mainstream craft brewers have named their creations after trails and bikes… as if we needed more motivation to drink beer. There’s nothing like shredding some singletrack, and then knocking back a “Singletrack.” They seem to go together hand in hand. It really does make for the perfect day and so many fantastic memories. One of these fond memories is of when a friend brought his dog along for the ride in one of those dog bike trailers. Don’t worry the dog took part in the biking, not the beer drinking!
But bikers drinking beer isn’t a one-way street. It turns out that many in the beer business actually do enjoy biking as well. In fact, back in 2012 the craft brewery Oskar Blues from Lyons, CO opened up a second brewery in Brevard, NC, just outside of Asheville. One of the main reasons for choosing the Brevard/Asheville region was that they wanted a location that could provide great mountain biking for their employees (from a recent NPR article). A brewery after my own heart!
On a mountain biking road trip with my husband a couple of years ago, our favorite stops were towns where we spent the entire day shredding singletrack and the evening grabbing grub and beer at local breweries. I had a chat with some others at the local breweries who were using Whistler Mountain Bike rentals and it got me thinking: beer and mountain biking are incredibly intertwined, so what would be some of the best locations for partaking in both? I have compiled a list that, at least for me, offers the best of both worlds.
My criteria for this list is that each town/city must have 10 breweries listed in thecraftbeer.com database and 10 recognized, listed trails here in the Singletracks.com database. To make it even more prestigious, there must be at least one winner from the World Beer Cup (the Olympics of the beer industry that has entries from across the world, not just the US) and one trail that makes the top ten list for the entire state.
As a caveat, I am not a huge fan of major metropolis regions. There’s nothing worse than hanging up the bike in the afternoon, fully exhausted, only to sit in gridlock en route to dinner and beer. As such, major areas that may offer both (ahem, most of California) have been left off the list. If swarms of people are your thing, then feel free to list your favorite population-suffocating destinations in the comments below.
In no specific order:
12 breweries with over 40 listed mountain biking trails.
Bend offers a wide range of trails with gorgeous views in a quaint mountain town. If its winter wasn’t, well, winter-ish, I would definitely consider Bend as a potential town to live in. It is an extremely cute town, with great charm, and great biking and beer. Overall, the town is fun, and offers some rather unique opportunities like the Cycle Pub, where you can legally bike and drink with a dozen of your friends while getting a tour of the town.
And if you make it to Bend, be sure to check out some of the 2014 World Beer Cup Winners:
- Gold: 10 Barrel Brewing Co. – “Cucumber Crush”
- Bronze: Bend Brewing Co. – “Ching Ching”
10 Breweries, over 20 trails.
The majority of the trails I have ridden in Boise were more of the intermediate level, but quite fun. The Shafer Butte Trails at Bogus Basin offered spectacular views of the landscape. The city even has the Boise Ale Trail, featuring some of their best breweries: Tablerock brewery and Sockeye brewery.
2014 World Beer Cup Winner:
- Bronze: 10 Barrel Brewing Co. (satellite brewery from Bend in Boise) – “Power to the People”
Idaho’s top ten trail located in Boise: Shane’s Loop.
24 breweries, but almost 40 within a short driving distance, and almost 20 listed trails in town.
Asheville has an up-and-coming craft brewery scene. As if two dozen breweries doesn’t quite garner the status of legitimate yet, expect even more breweries to be popping up in this town. If almost 20 trails in town doesn’t quite satisfy your thirst for singletrack, Brevard (a top 10 mountain bike destination) is a short drive away with even more trails and a couple more breweries.
2014 World Beer Cup winners:
- Gold: Asheville Brewing Co. – “Ninja”
- Bronze: Wicked Weed Brewing – “Tyrant Double Red”
Top ten rated trail for North Carolina located in Asheville: Bent Creek.
Park City / Salt Lake City, Utah
Bike in Park City and drink in Salt Lake City. 10 breweries in Salt Lake and well over 50 trails in Park City.
While I haven’t personally travelled to Park City, this is at the top of my list of places I want to visit. I am beginning to believe that Park City was built solely for the purpose of providing mountain bikers with a playground! There is no shortage of singletrack to tackle, and just enough breweries in Salt Lake to make the trip worthwhile. Also rated as a top 10 mountain bike destination in North America, you can get more information on Park City here.
2014 World Beer Cup winners:
- Gold: Redrock Brewery – “Redrock Paardebloem”
- Bronze: Uinta Brewing Co. – “Bristlecone”
8 breweries in the city limits with 2 more just a couple of miles north of town, along with 10 trails.
Charlotte, NC may be a little bit of a stretch in this list, as there are only 8 breweries in the city limits and this is one of the largest population centers featured, but I would be remiss not to include it. Though a bit large, this city still offers a lot of southern hospitality, great singletrack, and awesome brews. If you are looking for an alternative as this one doesn’t really catch your fancy, you may want to try the other Carolina (South that is) and check out their biking trails over at https://pelicancruiser.com/trail-maps/ and see if they sync up better with your bike riding and beer drinking time.
2014 World Beer Cup Winner:
- Gold: Hop, Drop ‘N Roll, NoDa Brewing Co.
There aren’t many towns with dense population in New Mexico, which is why I was tempted to lump these two together. However, they each have enough merit to stand on their own. Though if you’re in the area for either one, you might as well drive 45 minutes to check out the other and double your fun. Both offer fantastic high desert terrain with a plethora of technical trails to ride. They offer everything from super rocky trails to sweet, smooth downhill. Albuquerque and Santa Fe also have a lot of Southwest charm that is hard to find elsewhere. Play your cards right, and you might even stumble across the elusive green chili beer on tap.
13 breweries and about 15 trails in town.
Albuquerque just recently made the list as a top 10 mountain bike city in North America. Albuquerque offers a great deal of intermediate to expert-level trails, so if rocky terrain and cacti are your forte, then make sure to check out the Manzanita mountains. Additionally, breweries are continuously popping up in Albuquerque, making this a must on a beer/bike tour.
2014 World Beer Cup winners:
- Gold: Marble Brewery – “Pilsner”
- Silver: Il Vicino Brewing Co. – “Panama Joe’s Coffee Stout”
- Silver: Cazuelas Mexican Grill and Brewpub – “Beer for my Horses”
10 breweries and at least 10 trails.
Santa Fe is on the list as a top 10 mountain bike destination in North America, and for good reason. This sleepy art town offers a great deal on top of fantastic singletrack with spectacular views. It’s considered a bit of a foodie scene, has a great deal of history (the oldest capital city in the U.S.), with a fusion of Native American and cowboy southwest flare. Enjoy a carne asada burrito with a fresh green chili brew after shuttling Winsor. When asked if you want your burrito smothered, opt for “Christmas,” the red and green chili combo will not disappoint.
Though Santa Fe hasn’t brought home any medals from the 2012 or 2014 World Beer Cup, there was a good showing at the 2010 World Beer Cup by Santa Fe Brewing Co.
- Bronze: Santa Fe Brewing Co. – “State Pen Porter”
- Bronze: Santa Fe Brewing Co. – “Wild Ale #4?
Trails rated in the top ten for New Mexico located in Santa Fe: Winsor.
Beer and Colorado go hand in hand. Heck, they even host the Great American Beer Festival every year. Since it’s pretty difficult to tell where most of the towns outside of Denver stop and Denver city limits begin due to urban sprawl, I almost considered putting these into one listing, but technically they are separate towns. Additionally, these three break one of my rules, in that none of them have trails with a top ten designation. However, it’s Colorado, and there are a million trails, so even making the top 50 is pretty respectable.
31 breweries, and almost 30 listed trails.
There are no shortage of trails or breweries in Fort Collins. In fact, you could almost hit a brewery for every trail you ride in the town (anyone care to take on this epic challenge?).
2014 World Beer Cup Winners:
- Gold: Odell Brewing Co. – “Runoff”
- Silver: Funkwerks – “Deceit”
26 breweries, over a dozen listed trails, but dozens more within a short driving distance.
Boulder is only about an hour from Fort Collins, but it offers almost as many breweries with just as gorgeous scenery. There aren’t quite as many trails listed within city limits, but there are several more within a short drive from Boulder, though a two-to-one ratio of breweries to trails is not necessarily a negative mark.
2014 World Beer Cup Winners:
- Gold: Boulder Beer Co. – “Shake Chocolate Porter”
- Gold: Twisted Pine Brewing Co. – “Big Shot Espresso Stout”
15 breweries, over 30 listed trails.
Home of the Air Force Academy and Garden of the Gods, this gorgeous town (a top 10 mountain bike city) is nestled against the mountains. There is a vast range of trails, both for terrain and technical level. Most of the breweries are small craft brewers, but that’s even more of a reason to check them all out!
2014 World Beer Cup winner:
- Bronze: Red Leg Brewing Co. – “Devil Dog Stout”
Runner-Up: Portland, Maine
No, not the hip, fixie-infested Portland, Oregon. The quiant little town of Portland, Maine just barely fell short of making the top ten, as it only has 9 breweries and 6 trails within city limits. Though if you are willing to “suffer” through a very short drive for beer and mountain biking trails, it easily makes the list.
2012 World Beer Cup Winners:
- Gold: Allagash Brewing Co. – “Allagash White”
- Silver: Allagash Brewing Co. – “Mattina Rossa”
Your turn: What cities/towns would you suggest as a destination trip that offer great singletrackand breweries?
Originally appeared on: http://www.singletracks.com/blog/mtb-trails/10-beer-towns-with-a-mountain-biking-problem/