Chasing the Beer Scene in Colorado

Tommyknocker Butt Head Bock // Snowkiting at Lake Dillon

Summit County is known for its accessible ski resorts and the weekend warriors who flock to its mountains in droves. If you’re interested in avoiding the crowds, ditch your skis and grab a kite. A combination of parasailing, skiing, and snowboarding, the hybrid sport has found a home on Lake Dillon. Colorado Kite Force offers a four-hour beginner class that includes two hours of ground school and two hours of ski-and-ride plus gear.

Named after the fabled elves that guided miners in their pursuit of gold in the nearby hills, Tommyknocker Brewery’s Butt Head Bock is a rich and malty doppelbock with notes of toffee and caramel and a slight hop kick. At 8.2% ABV, this strong lager will certainly warm you up after your snow-kiting excursion. The brewery makes for an excellent detour when traffic on I-70 gets congested, and the menu offers many beer-inspired dishes. Try the beer battered mushrooms with their homemade balsamic wort glaze.

Great Divide Brewing Yeti Imperial Stout // Denver B-cycle, Denver

Since 2010, Denver B-cycle has provided both residents and visitors alike a green alternative to getting around town. The bike-sharing program now includes 82 bike stations with over 700 bikes and is available year-round. With hundreds of miles of multi-use trails, bike lanes, sharrows, and signed bike routes, you won’t have to worry about motorized road hogs. And, with 30 odd breweries in Denver proper and counting, you’ll have plenty of places to visit.

It seems like there is a new brewery opening every week in Denver. With the influx of quality upstarts, it would be easy to bypass stalwarts such as Great Divide Brewing Company, which celebrated its 19th anniversary in 2013, in favor of the latest opening. But you’d be remiss if you did. One beer that continues to dominate and reinvent itself is Yeti, an imperial stout with boatloads of American hops. Weighing in at 9.5% ABV and 75 IBUs, Yeti is as powerful as its mythical namesake. Swing by the brewery to sample one of the many faces of Yeti, including oatmeal, oak-aged espresso, or oak-aged chocolate.

Glenwood Canyon Hanging Lake Honey Ale // Grand Traverse Mountain Run & Bike

Fancy more than a walk in the woods? Try the Grand Traverse Mountain Run & Bike. The 40-mile route—the same one used during the annual winter traverse—takes you from Crested Butte to Aspen, a 200+ mile trip by car. While the car option might still take less time, you’ll miss the self-satisfaction that comes with traversing the Rockies in the style of our pioneer forefathers. Looking for something a little more forgiving? There are plenty of day hikes starting in either Crested Butte or Aspen, including trails that crisscross the Maroon Bells-Snowmass Wilderness Area offering breath-taking views of Crater Lake and the Elk Mountains.

After your hike, head northwest on Colorado State Highway 82 to Glenwood Canyon Brewpub, located in the historic Hotel Denver in downtown Glenwood Springs. Slake your thirst with their Hanging Lake Honey Ale, silver medalist in the English-Style Summer Ale category at the 2013 GABF. Brewed with wheat and local honey, this light golden ale is crisp, clean and supremely sessionable.

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