Grand Junction/Fruita, CO
A major part of the thrill of mountain biking is getting away from “it all” and getting back to nature. It’s part of the allure that attracts mountain bikers to the Kokopelli Trail that carries riders 142 miles from Loma, CO, to Moab, UT (over the course of several days, mind you). But the Moab Brewery (www.TheMoabBrewery.com, 686 S. Main St.)is that town’s only brewery, so when your tires tire you out, park yourself in Grand Junction. It’s less than 20 miles from Loma, only 12 from Fruita along the way.
After silver and oil busts, the next wave for the local Fruita-Grand Junction economy wasn’t based on something found in the ground but the ground itself. A man named Troy Rarick scoped out the terrain and knew it was perfect for developing a mountain biking haven. He built a ton of trails and a bike shop called Over the Edge (www.OTEsports.com, 202 E. Aspen Ave.). The area attracts some 100,000 riders annually, and they all want beer at the end of the day. One of the people who can help with both is Over the Edge’s Max Snazzy, aka Pablo Snazzy. The best way to ask him in person is at the shop almost any given Friday around quitting time, 5 to 6, where people commonly show up with a sixer to socialize and maybe show off some new scabs.
The first brewpub he recommended was Kannah Creek (www.KannahCreekBrewingCo.com, 1960 N. 12 St, Grand Junction). In addition to their mainstays, there’s always a good selection of seasonals and cask ales, but Snazzy, being a dark beer fan, gravitates to the Black Ridge Stout on nitro or Pigasus, a particularly roasty porter. He said people come not just for the good food but the great patio as well, open from April to November because of a relatively mild winter. He said the local archaeologists keep the place rocking. If you’re traveling with your whole family, there’s the Dinosaur Journey at the Museum of Western Colorado (www.MuseumOfWesternCo.com, 550 Jurassic Ct, Fruita).
A few blocks from Kannah Creek is the Breckenridge Brewery’s Ale House (www.BreckBrew.com, 2531 N. 12th St., Grand Junction), one of the four locations of the Breckinridge, CO-based company. Snazzy said that it attracts mostly students from Colorado Mesa University, but who wouldn’t want to kick back in a brewpub with a verdant outdoor area? While hopheads gravitate to their Lucky U IPA, Snazzy opts for the Oatmeal Stout to go with the fish’n’chips (beer battered of course).