Tag Archives: Wild Mountain Brewery and Smokehouse

50 Breweries in 9 Months – Our Favorites

Sharon sampling beer

the author samping beer

Well we have fallen behind in writing about breweries, but we have been visiting more than ever since we entered Colorado.  This week we hit the milestone of visiting 50 different breweries in the past 9 months on this trip.  Here are our picks for the top 3 in several categories.  We’d love to hear your opinion and recommendations for the best breweries to visit in the United States and Canada.  We are headed to Arizona and California next, so we are particularly interested in breweries in those states.

 

Best Brewpub (good food and good beer)

  1. Mad Fox Brewery, Falls Church, VA – Order a bacon cheeseburger or duck pizza, they make their own mustard, bake their own bread, and cure their own meats
  2. Fort Collins, Fort Collins, CO – The bacon wrapped pretzel is an amazing starter!  Fort Collins hosts beer and food pairing dinners which are worth the splurge.
  3. Trinity Brewing, Colorado Springs, CO – This is the only sampler I’ve ever had that comes with cheese to eat in between each brew.  They are serious about their food here and even grow their own herbs to flavor with.
Sampler at Trinity Brewing

Sampler at Trinity Brewing


Best Happy Hour

  1. Barrio Brewery, Tucson, AZ – $3 pints with at least 10 beers on tap and great affordable food, how can you ask for more?
  2. Left Hand, Longmont, CO – Left Hand is clearly a locals hangout and they are always hosting an event for the community, everything from art openings to concerts to political information nights.
  3. Yazoo Brewery, Nashville, TN – Unfortunately the taproom is only open on weekends, they are packed on Saturdays and deservedly so with great specials and a fun vibe.
Yazoo Tasting Room

Yazoo Tasting Room

  1. Odell, Fort Collins, CO – Odell is special because of its pilot system.  While you may be familiar with the 90 Shilling or Cutthroat Porter I can guarantee you have not heard of half of the brew line up available at the tasting room.  They are always experimenting with new styles and you can design your own flight to suit your interests.  Be aware, they close early so get there for happy hour!
  2. Great Divide, Denver, CO – Best advice for this tasting room is to get a cab or come on your bike.  Great Divide specializes in high gravity beers that are seriously drinkable and a basic sampler will put you down for the count (especially if you come in from sea level and are new to mile high elevation).
  3. Starr Hill, Charlottesville, VA – Dress for the weather – this tasting room is right next to their bottling line and it is not insulated.  However, the beer and good company will keep you warm.  This is a really fun place to hang out with a great staff.
flight at Great Divide Brewery

flight at Great Divide Brewery


Most Scenic

  1. Blue Mountain Brewery and Restaurant, Afton, VA – Blue Mountain has just expanded an opened up an event space that is available for weddings.  It is that pretty.  Come in the fall for beautiful color, tasty pizza and delicious beers like the Dark and Evil.
  2. Jasper Brewery, Jasper, Alberta – Jasper and Banff Ave Breweries are owned by the same guy and are really unique that they are actually within National Parks.  As such, they can not distribute their beer, so you will have to stop in during a vacation to the Canadian Rockies.  I know you needed another excuse to go see one of the most beautiful places in North America.  Highly recommend the porter.
  3. Wild Mountain Brewery and Smokehouse, Nederland, CO – Located along the famous Peak to Peak highway in Colorado (south of Rocky Mountain National Park), this is a perfect lunch stop.  The smoked meats are excellent and the beer is great too.  I also particularly love their logo.
blue mountain brewery

Rows of hops on the front lawn of Blue Mountain Brewery with a beautiful view of the Blue Ridge mountains

Best Spot for a Growler Fill

  1. Kettlehouse Brewery, Missoula, MT – Kettlehouse has a lane at the bar designated for growler fills.  They also are the only brewery we’ve been to that sold Nalgene growlers made to withstand a river trip.  In addition to growlers they fill party pigs and kegs.
  2. Fort Collins Brewery, Fort Collins, CO – Fort Collins is a small young brewery, but they have a nifty piece of equipment that makes them stand out for brewery fills.  This automated filling machine is supposed to keep the beer fresher.
  3. Mad Fox, Falls Church, VA – Mad Fox is a fun place to bring your growler because they take a picture and often tweet those pictures on their twitter account, @MadFoxBrewing
growler machine

growler machine

Top 3 Brewery Tours

  1. New Belgium Brewing, Fort Collins, CO – New Belgium is the ultimate in brewery tours.  They have a 90 minutes tour that requires reservations and includes 5 tasting samples.  The entire brewery route is designed for tours with art and restrooms along the way!
  2. Yeungling Brewery, Pottsville, PA – Anyone that is interested in American craft beer needs to take a trip to Pottsville.  Yeungling is oldest brewery in the United States and the tour takes you through history, seeing how Yeungling survived prohibition and how they have remained a family business and an institution in Pennsylvania.
  3. Franconia Brewery, McKinney, TX – If you’ve got questions about the science behind brewing, I encourage you to take a trip to McKinney and meet Dennis Wehrmann.  He is the most knowledgeable brewmaster that we have met and he gives the tours himself on Saturdays.
tour at New Belgium

tour at New Belgium

Top 3 Towns for Breweries

  1. Fort Collins, Colorado – With 7 breweries in a town of 144,000, this is a city that requires more than one day to explore.  Luckily, Fort Collins is also very bikeable, they even have a bicycle library that allows you to check out a bike and return it with a basic deposit.
  2. Flagstaff, Arizona – Flag (as locals refer to it) is really just a large town and it is home to 5 breweries.  The newest addition, Mother Road is home to the Alpine Pedaler, a human powered bicycle tram that is available for rent for brewery crawls (particularly easy in Flag since all of the breweries are downtown near each other).
  3. Durango, Colorado – Durango has fewer breweries, only 4, but they have a longer history of brewing.  Durango is also small enough that you can get around to all of the breweries  without too much trouble.
Mother Road Brewing Company

Mother Road just opened in Flagstaff, bringing the total number of breweries to 5 in a town of 60,000

Nederland, Colorado: Magnolia trails

We were passing through Nederland on the Peak to Peak highway and wow, they had a resturant with a big sign reading brewery and smokehouse. Naturally, we stopped. Yep, the Wild Mountain Brewery and Smokehouse was good. Then we stopped in at the local bike and coffee shop and talked with the friendly local wrench about trails in the area. This led us to the Magnolia trail system which also had free camping.

brewery and smokehouse

Wild Mountain Brewery and Smokehouse

The trails here had a good bit of variety. Over one afternoon and one morning I rode most of them. It would be great for us non locals to have an up-to-date map.  There is quite a bit more trail than the maps show.  This is really not a problem as it shows some good folks have been busy building new trail.

view from one of the Magnolia trails

I have two favorites again. The Sugar Magnolia trail that leads down to the high school is great. It’s well built with a few technical challenges and some good flow. It put a grin on my face for sure. It seems like this one was built recently and really shows how far the area trail builders have progressed. This thing is well laid out and should be quite sustainable.  I noticed a lot of blow downs that had already been cleared. Now that’s what I like to see!  These guys are on top of their trail system.  I picked up my other favorite trail segment near the camping area under a wooden sign nailed to a Ponderosa reading Re-Root. This trail twists and turns its way through a field of abandoned collapsed mining test holes. Lots of banked turns and rollers.  Then I came to a bit of a clearing and there was a little sign somewhat high up nailed to another Ponderosa pine that said Sams Club. Near here are the super fun optional rock lines. There were a few other optional lines around in the area that were all very rollable and added value for the experienced rider.

one of the trails north of the main road

This trail system seems to be a somewhat overlooked hidden gem.  It was a very nice sunny afternoon and yet there was hardly anyone there. I would certainly recommend riding here.