There are few things better in life than a delicious craft beer after a challenging bike ride. Over the last decade, pedals and pints have increasingly crossed paths. In Cooperstown, New York, Brewery Ommegang hosts the Drops to Hops Bike Race; Pennsylvania’s Victory Brewing sponsors bicycle teams; and let us not forget cycling is the reason for New Belgium Brewery’s existence.
I’ve compiled some of the best cities for this beautiful marriage made in two-wheeled hoppy heaven.
San Diego, California
Come on, you know this was going to be on the list. The “Craft Beer Capital of America” is home to more than 100 breweries, microbreweries, and brewpubs, and the weather makes it America’s Finest City. Plus, there’s an organization specifically dedicated to biking and beer sampling: Bikes and Beers is a three-year-old organization that takes seasoned and casual cyclists on either a 15- or 30-mile route. The organization is based on the idea that beer and biking really go hand in hand.
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“The cycling community really revolves around craft beer,” says Sam Accardi, who heads Bikes and Beers. “I think they are somewhat one and the same, where most cyclists enjoy getting a beer with their friends after a ride. It definitely helps to bring people together.”
Fort Collins, Colorado
Recognized as a Platinum Bicycle-Friendly Community by the League of American Bicyclists, this college town is home to Funkwerks, Equinox Brewing, Odell Brewing Co., Zwei Brewing, New Belgium Brewing, and, of course, The Fort Collins Brewery. The New Belgium Brewery is infamous for bikes, beer, and bemusement, thanks to the Tour De Fat, a celebration of all things biking. The Tour De Fat features musical acts, yo-yo performers, bike contests, and even a vaudeville act or two. And if that’s too out there, Beer & Bike Tours can guide you on a “Brew Cruise” for biking that stops at three local breweries. Or, simply enjoy the sights of the Colorado Mountains on their mountain bike adventure. End your hilly accomplishment with a refreshing brew at the local brewery.
The Bay area is not just known for its technology, coffee shops, and sourdough bread, but for its awesome al fresco beer gardens. The Rare Barrel, Fieldwork Brewing, Triple Rock Brewery, Trumer Brauerei, and the Sierra Nevada Torpedo Room all call Berkeley home. California beer fanatics rejoice: Westbrae Biergarten serves a variety of hand-selected California craft ales and lagers with a series of eight rotating beer taps. Moxy Beer Garden offers plenty of outdoor seating, a fire pit, Knee Deep Citra Extra Pale, and Moroccan lamb burgers. Couple that with the gorgeous biking on offer all around Berkeley, from the Marina up to the Hills. ‘Nuf said.
Keeping Portland weird, fun, AND delicious are abundant bike-friendly streets and a whopping 70 breweries (as of Feb. 1, 2017). You don’t need a tour, but if you want a beer cycling vacation, check out the five-day Oregon Beerway with beer, beer, waterfalls, and more beer! This tour starts in Portland before heading east along the Columbia River. Choose from two-wheel trips in May, June, or September. And Hopworks Urban Brewery orchestrates the Handmade Bike & Beer Festival, which brings together custom handmade bicycles, bike performances, and hand-crafted beer.
Did you know Philly was the first city to start the Beer Week trend? Philadelphia has always been a beer city. It’s won a slew of beer-related accolades; it was voted one of 5 Best Beer Cities in America by GQ and named one of the 14 best beer cities in the world by Frommer’s. Bikes and Beers has organized awesome rides, giving the cyclist a chance to see a lot of Philly. They even have held brewery tour rides during Beer Week, held every June.
Boise, Idaho – Boise is home to Pedals & Pints, a 15-passenger bike bar used to tour downtown Boise. Ride the bar around town and stop at various pubs and breweries to sample local suds.
Denver, Colorado – Coloradans love their bikes, whether it’s mountain biking or cycling around town. Colorado is home to four of the top 50 brewing companies in the nation. Denver has been nicknamed “the Napa valley of beer” and, of course, is home to the Great American Beer Festival, one of the largest beer festivals in the nation.
Baltimore, Maryland – Bikes and Beers does a great tour in this city through many famous sites, including Penn Station, City Hall, Inner Harbor, Little Italy and the Maryland Zoo. The city has its own bicycling club, appropriately named the Baltimore Bicycling Club, with routes that range from 35 to 77 miles.