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Trip Report (of sorts): Boulder Beer Hike Fall 2014

The Boulder Beer Hike crew at Upslope Brewery
The Boulder Beer Hike crew at Upslope Brewery

Each Spring and Fall, the Trail Show podcast sponsors a beer hike across Boulder, Colorado. If you’ve had the joy of listening to TTS, you can imagine how that crew’s idea of a beer hike is far better than a traditional pub crawl—think: ambitious mileage, a little cross country, and high quality beers. For the last few Boulder beer hikes, I‘ve been on trail and missed out on the shenanigans, so was stoked when I found out that I’d actually be in Colorado for the fall 2014 hike. This fall’s Boulder Beer Hike covered seven miles and eight breweries (one brewery twice) and one distillery, integrating roads, trails, and secret byways.

Boulder Beer Hike Map. For more detail, check out: the <a href="">official map</a>
Boulder Beer Hike Map. For more detail, check out: the official map

The 2014 Boulder Beer Hike “trailhead” was Avery Brewery, one of Boulder’s most well-known breweries and biggest beer exporters these days. From there, the troupe of almost 20 hikers–led by Disco, POD, Mags, and D-Low from the Trail Show* continued onto Wildwood Brewery and its close neighbor, BRU. After a mile along the bike trail to walk the beer off (an off-road route suggested by the locals), the crew hit Twisted Pine brewery, a TTS favorite, where the parade of hikers was informed of a “blue blaze,” an off-route side trip.

I’m not sure how the crew got off-trail and to Sanitas Brewery, but that’s where Teresa Martinez, Director of the Continental Divide Trail Coalition, Mr. Gorbachev, and I joined the party. The three of us were immediately outfitted with the official Beer Hike gear—a TTS sticker—which intrigued bartenders, beermongers, and dayhikers alike.

POD and I show off our <a href="">Purple Rain Adventure Skirts</a> at Boulder Beer
POD and I show off our Purple Rain Adventure Skirts at Boulder Beer

We joyfully continued onto Boulder Beer (our bartender even decorated her outfit with a TTS sticker), but sadly, we reached Redstone Meadery after its closing hours. Not deterred, we were determined to add a purveyor of non-beer palate cleansers to the hike. Mags recommended J&L distillery, which specializes in a spiced liquor that tasted like Christmas. Here, we enjoyed some of the best cocktails I’ve ever had in Colorado. We hopped back on the bike trail to our next destinations: J Wells Brewery and Upslope Brewery.

POD found a POD!
POD found a POD!

Now, it’s important to note that this urban beer hike had similar elements of hiking to traditional trails. At the end of the night, we’d seen owls, deer, rabbits, and a buck with a surprisingly huge rack. The route also required some nighthiking. Lastly, as the Boulder Beer Trail was developed by the TTS, unlike the AT or PCT, it lacked signage, so navigators had to pay careful attention to their maps.

@trailshow Not lost. It’s just more of a route than a trail. #FutureOfThruHiking

— Greg Dennis (@Citizen_GDD) October 26, 2014


The Boulder Beer Hike was a great way to meet the much-larger-than-I-realized Colorado long distance hiking community. I’ll take any excuse to see my good friend and Oregon PCT hiking partner, Pi, developer of the free Don’t Shake the Cat phone app. I even re-connected with Washpot, who I met on the PCT and at PCT Days earlier this year. Lastly, the BBH was also a great way to meet other hikers who have internet presences, such as Crusher, who put together this amazing video about thru-hiking the PCT with Cerebral Palsy:

CP and the PCT from Wesley Trimble on Vimeo.


Here’s to a great Boulder Beer Hike Fall 2014. I’ll be looking forward to the next adventure this Spring!



*TTS is an organization not officially related to the Boulder Beer Hike in any way and not liable for any mishaps that may happen on or off the BBH

Liz "Snorkel" Thomas

Liz Thomas is a well-traveled adventure athlete most known for breaking the women’s unsupported speed record on the Appalachian Trail in 2011. She has completed the Triple Crown of Hiking–the Appalachian Trail, the 2,650 mile Pacific Crest Trail, and 3,100 mile Continental Divide Trail–and has backpacked over 15,000 miles across the United States. While not on trail, Liz lives in Denver, Colorado.