‘5 pints of your finest, thanks’
Sure drinking beer with a couple of mates at a bbq, watching football or at a bar can be fun.
Drinking beer with the same said mates after 4 hours of riding epic singletrack can taste like sweet, sweet nectar. So why not enhance that experience by sampling some of the finest independent and craft breweries that are located close by to some of the world’s greatest mountain biking destinations!
Mountain biking and breweries – seems like a no brainer really.
Inspired by a recent guide called the High Country Brewery Trail which highlights 5 microbreweries in North East Victoria and the local mountain bike trail networks including Bridge Road Brewers in Beechworth and Bright Brewery in Bright, I wanted to explore that concept by looking at a handful of some of the world’s best mountain bike destinations and the breweries that service the local and visiting riders.
Swapping stories at the end a ride is what makes mountain biking trips and holidays all that more memorable – you may as well be drinking great beer in the process.
This is by no means an exhaustive list, but gives you a starting point of where quality trails co-exist with quality breweries . Please find below some of the best mountain biking destinations from Australia, USA, Canada, UK and New Zealand – please feel free to comment or suggest other options.
Mountain Biking Breweries – Australia
Yarra Trails – Melbourne, Vic Australia
The Yarra Trails provide a good selected of singletrack following the Yarra River north. Convenient for those who live nearby who need a quick singletrack fix.
Mountain Goat Brewery is located in Richmond near the Yarra River and is within a short ride from the Yarra Trails, which feature flat, flowing singletrack for approx. 30 Km. The brewery is one of the first microbreweries from Melbourne with a great story starting from home brewing to successful commercial venture. Beers include Hightail Ale, Steam Ale and a number of seasonal releases.
Forrest MTB Trail Network – Forrest, Vic Australia
Forrest Brewing Company is a relatively new brewery located in the town of Forrest, which feature some of best singletrack trails in Australia. The brewery is established by a local brother and sister combination and has won over both locals and visitors alike with their excellent beer, food and coffee options for riders and locals.
Goat Farm Trails – Perth, WA Australia
The Principal Brewing Company is located nearby to the Goat Farm trails in Perth, a purpose built trail network in Perth’s eastern suburbs. The Principal is well appointed pub with local brews on tap, in addition to a wide variety of local and international beers.
Also located near the Goat Farm Trails is Feral Brewing Company – with up to 15 different beers on offer, there is bound to be a style to suit your tastes from witbeer to IPA and porter. Perth riders are spoilt for choice.
Manly Dam – Sydney, NSW Australia
One of the original mountain biking trails for Sydneysiders and visitors alike and one of the few locations where you can ride within the Sydney metro area. There are a couple of choices for independent brewers in Manly. Although you will need to drive from the trail head, they both provide good options for post riding refreshment.
The 4 Pines Brewing Company is in the thick of central Manly mixing the best of Sydney’s northern suburbs surf culture with tourist mayhem. A pleasant location to watch the passing parade between the ferry terminal and the corso, after a Mnaly dam hit out. 6 beers on tap plus a cider.
Another notable option for a world class brewery near the Manly Dam trails is Murray’s Brewery. Located on the beach (left at the end of the corso) with 18 beers on tap – offers an impressive line up to sample post ride.
Cudlee Creek – Adelaide, SA Australia
The Cudlee Creek trails are an ideal network 40kms from Adelaide’s city centre with purpose built trails similar to mountain bike centres in the UK and wales.
The Lobenthal Bier Haus provides the perfect end to a session on the trails with 7 award winning beers on tap, including IPA, Hefweizen and Pilsner beers.
Mountain Biking Breweries – USA
Hood River – Oregon, USA
With some 33 separate trails in one location and 3 breweries, Hood River is playground for mountain bikers who appreciate quality craft beer. With a dedicated group of trail advocates have ensured that the Hood River trails remain a must visit destination for riders when in the Pacific North West.
Full Sail Brewing Company is a standout brewery in the centre of town with an ideal selection of core beers in addition to seasonal and limited release beers.
Bend – Oregon, USA
With 0ver 270 miles of linked singletrack make Bend, Oregon a key place for riders to visit. Singletrack abounds approximately 20 miles west of the town with stand out trails to include Flagline, Whoops, McKenzie River or the IMBA epic appointed trail the North Umpqua trail. Consider a half or full day tour with Cogwild.
The Deschutes Brewery delivers world class beers including a number of world’s best beer awards. One of the finest microbreweries around. 7 year round beers and a wide variety of seasonal and limited editions. Great website design too!
See below riding in and around Bend.
Asheville – North Carolina, USA
An increasing and impressive array of riding in Western North Carolina utilising the Pisgah & Tsali National Forest and DuPont State Forest. Staying in Brevard will get you close to the singletrack.
Moab – Utah, USA
For many of you reading this, mountain biking in Moab needs little introduction. The trails here are well known and to some, described as the best trails on the planet. Now I am not sure about that, but variety and quantity of trails on offer and the opportunity to ride the slick rock trail is worth the trip some time in your life.
Moab fortunately also has a well functioning brewery that can attend to your drinking needs. The Moab Brewery have a variety of standard and seasonal beers on offer.
Fort Collins – Colorado, USA
While not as expansive as other destinations, there are a number of trails to choose from within the Fort Collins area. Trails such as Mill Creek, Lory-State Singletrack, Hewlett Gulch and Devils Backbone all provide good options.
The standout for mountain bike riders at Fort Collins is the New Belgium Brewery, one of the original microbreweries where it all started. An inspiring story of how 2 people took an idea and their passion and turned it into a highly successful brewery with as great philosophy.
Fruita – Colorado, USA
Fruita has emerged over the last 15 years as a mecca for mountain bikers with a number of trail networks to select from featuring singletrack that offers a variety of technical features and options for all abilities. Kokopelli and 18 Road are an example of some standout trails to select when visiting Fruita.
The Suds Brothers Brewing Company recently opened in Fruita in 2012 offering riders with a well earned thirst a selection of beers – fingers crossed that this venture works out for Fruita riders!
Mountain Biking Breweries – Canada
North Vancouver – BC, Canada
The home of the North Shore scene in one of the great cities of the world, the riding in the North Shore region has captured the attention of mountain bikers, bike and component companies and anyone else who wants to be associated with that Shore riding vibe. Get yourself some maps or a guide and go see what Mt Seymour and Grouse Mountain have to offer.
Being a contender for the most liveable city means great food, coffee and breweries. Red Truck Brewing company is located in North Vancouver with their tagline ‘The freshest beer on four wheels’ focusing on freshness and quality. As a result their product range is small, but well engineered – delivering quality brews in their North Vancouver setting.
Whistler – BC, Canada
Canada and BC in particular continues to deliver a sought after destination for mtb riders. The Whistler Mountain Bike Park has become a success story for ski resorts across the world in replicating the breadth of trails on offer, the high summer visitor numbers and year round income streams for local operators. Try your skills on some of the classic Whistler runs such as A-line or the newly introduced trail for 2012 – ‘Top of the World’.
With ski resorts often there is heavy drinking, whether it is summer or winter – you may as well be drinking quality beer while you there. The Whistler Brewing Company is a longstanding microbrewer who is very proud of their BC roots – with ales, lagers and seasonal beers on offer.
Nelson & Rossland – BC, Canada
British Columbia again delivers for mountain bikers with over 70 different trails in the West Kootenay region, centred around the towns of Nelson and Rossland. A local guiding operator such as Dirt Tours can sort you out with day tours of some of the best singletrack in the world. The Seven Summits trail is also listed as an IMBA epic – 35km of singletrack!
Thankfully Nelson Brewing Company will also be on hand to serve you up the finest organic ales on offer.
Revelstoke – BC, Canada
OK BC you win! – Another town, another awesome place to ride. Epic trails in pristine wilderness. While the window of opportunity to ride these trails may be limited due to the winter season, the quality on offer is worth the journey.
Mt Begbie Brewing Company is hand to service the need of quality beers for mountain town folk. A wide variety of ales on offer in addition to Kolsch and Dunkel brews.
Mountain Biking Breweries – UK
Brecon Beacons – Wales, UK
An array of long trails throughout the Brecon Beacons with a variety trails accessible from the 5 centres that service the Brecon Beacons National Park. The Gap trail (38km) is a classic trail that starts and ends at the mtb centre, near the town of Brecon.
Which is fortunate as there just happens to be Brecon Brewing nearby with a large range of core and seasonal beers to try, post ride.
Dalby Forest – Yorkshire, UK
An impressive range of singletrack that caters to all levels of riders, Dalby Forest is a great option for riders in the North East of England. Dalby Forest has also been home to a number of MTB UCI rounds and has the world cup trail available for riding – if its good enough for the pros, it must be worth a visit.
A large variety of ales, stouts, bitters and porter make Cropton Brewery a worthy stop after riding at Dalby Forest.
Glentress – Scotland, UK
Glentress has been described as the pick of locations within the 7 Stanes mtb riding areas. The V-Trail at Glentress has been voted the best trail in the UK – a 38Km, technically challenging route that combines the best of what Scotland mountain biking has to offer.
Traquair House offers a unique post ride experience – built in 1107 it offers history, a maze and importantly a brewery.
Mountain Biking Breweries – New Zealand
Nelson – South Island, New Zealand
Nelson NZ has a expansive selection of trails to ride catering for all riders and ability levels. Recent trail building includes the Dun Mountain Trail in addition to classic rides such as the Queen Charlotte track, Barons Flat or Coppermine to Matai.
It is fortunate that Nelson is also home to a range of craft breweries. Three breweries worth the visit include Bay’s Brewery, The Free House and Sprig & Fern although there are plenty here to keep you very busy.
Queenstown – South Island, New Zealand
New Zealand’s playground – Queenstown and surrounds has some impressive all mountain/trail riding serviced by a number of guiding companies. Here you can select from heli-biking, lift assisted or shuttle rides, giving you a true alpine mountain bike experience. Riding closer to town include the Moke Lake ride. Guiding companies such as Fat Tyre Adventures and Vertigo can steer you in the right direction.
Dux de Lux is an ideal watering hole in Queenstown. A brewery and restaurant with many award winning beers on tap including Dux Lager and Nor’wester Ale.
Rotorua – North Island, New Zealand
Described as the spiritual home of mountain biking in New Zealand the trails in the Whakarewarewa Forest near Rotorua are simply some of New Zealand’s best on offer. There are 25 trails listed in the core trail area and additional trails in the surrounding area. One of the classic trails ‘Be Rude Not To’ is short but a favourite amongst local riders. Further information can be found at Ride Rotorua.
Croucher Brewing Company captures the essence of the Kiwi lifestyle, producing great beer and having a shit load of fun in the process. As a result they have crafted 2 internationally awarded beers, a pale ale and pilsner.
There are many places to ride and get a great beer in the process. Feel free to add your thoughts to other mountain bike hubs or destinations that also feature well crafted beers.
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