If Tour de Fat and Ragbrai have taught us anything, it’s that bikes and beer go hand-in-hand. My perfect day is a easy-paced bike ride bookended with espresso and beer. In part one of this new series – and soon to be Wagon-sponsored event – we’ll be mapping out rides from Denver to some of our local bars and breweries.
This past Friday I took advantage of the break in rainy weather to get back in the saddle and take a ride somewhere I hadn’t visited since they opened their doors: Copper Kettle Brewing.
7 miles, 250 ft. elevation gain
The ride to Copper Kettle from downtown Denver is mostly a breeze. Get on the Cherry Creek path and follow it southbound. You’ll pass through the Cherry Creek Mall, Four Mile Historic Park, Garland Park and finally through Cook Memorial Park. This’ll put you at the intersection of South Quebec and Cherry Creek South Drive. Don’t do what I did and keep going on the path past Quebec unless you want to add a couple of miles to your trip.
At this point the ride gets a little crappy and you start to realize that for all intents and purposes, you’re basically in Aurora. You’ll have to go two blocks north on Quebec and then east on East Florida Ave until you hit South Parker Road. Head north-west on South Parker road for 1 block and take a right to head north on Valentia. The first industrial complex on your right is the home of Copper Kettle.
One unfortunate aspect of riding down to Copper Kettle is the lack of bike parking – a problem the owners are trying to fix as soon as they can. They’re on their landlord about it so let’s hope he comes around soon. In the meantime there are a couple of street signs nearby you can lock up to.
Copper Kettle focuses a lot on classic styles, especially of German origin. Expect to see a lot of malt-forward ales and lagers – when I showed up they were brewing a schwarzbier and it smelled delicious as hell!
Oh man, what a fantastic post-ride beer. A great malt backbone with just enough hops to make this beer deliciously crisp and thirst quenching. Subtly spiced with orange peel and coriander to evoke the brightness of summer days.
Bavarian Hells Helles
A little citrus up front with more of a smooth mouthfeel than the crispness of the Summer Ale. Characteristic light sulfurous bite from the lager yeast. Another great summer thirst-quencher.
I was also lucky enough to get a preview of their almost ready Mexican Chocolate Stout, brewed with cinnamon and an array of chili peppers. They’ll be releasing the beer Saturday, May 21st at 4 PM. Alvie’s Eats will be there serving up a couple of dishes designed specifically around this beer.
We here at the Wagon are opening the next rides up to the public to make it a big ol’ event. We’re working with Salvagetti Bicycle Workshop – one of our favorite bike shops in town – to help get the word out and to have an official start point set up. The next ride’s gonna be on June 18th out to Golden City Brewing – closer to a 15 mile ride with a little more elevation gain. Keep an eye on the events calendar for a start time!