Last year I did a 50 mile solo bike ride around a bunch of breweries near the SW metro area. This year I turned it into a bit of an event, and was joined by 4 friends. We started the morning around 9:30am at Lake Calhoun, and from there jumped onto the Cedar Lake Trail. This is a beautiful trail that heads down to Hopkins, MN before merging with some other trails.
We made our first pit stop at The Depot, a trailside coffee shop right outside Hopkins. Because the breweries that we wanted to hit don’t open until noon, we had a little time to kill, and we used it to fuel up with some yummy old fashioned donuts. From there we jumped onto the Lake Minnetonka Regional Trail which is a crushed limestone trail that heads into the cities south of Lake Minnetonka.
After 20 miles we ended up at our first brewery of the day, Enki Brewing in Victoria, MN. We arrived right at noon, and settled in for our first beer of the day. One of our group had developed a slow leak in his rear tire, so we made sure to take care of that before we headed back out again. The ride back would include stops at a total of 5 different breweries, so we needed to get a move on.
As we headed back down the trail we were enjoying a nice tailwind and a beautiful morning of cool temps. From a weather perspective the ride was perfect. By mid-afternoon the long sleeves had all been put away and we got to enjoy wonderful fall day. There was a fair amount of traffic on the trail, but thankfully it never impeded us too badly.
Eventually we made it to our second stop, Excelsior Brewing in Excelsior, MN. By now we were enjoying our beers outside if possible, and Excelsior has these cute boat-dock style tables on their patio. We noticed that they also have created a beer that was made with Eurasian Milfoil, but none of us decided to give it a try. We had already picked our beers before we noticed it, and frankly I’m not sure any of us were brave enough to see what it really was like.
Our next stop ended up being much longer than we had intended. When we arrived in downtown Hopkins we decided to hit the local Erberts and Gerberts sandwich shop. However, there was a crowd, and they were severely understaffed. It took almost a half an hour to get our food. By the time we walked back over to LTD Brewing and had a beer we had been stopped for nearly an hour.
Our fourth stop was at Steel Toe Brewing. By this point we were all getting a bit tired, and our conversations were minimal. We were at 40 miles and many of us were feeling the burn in our quads. We downed our beer at Steel Toe pretty quickly and made our way to our final stop.
The trip to Eastlake Craft Brewing is fun because you get to ride down the Midtown Greenway. The Greenway is a beautiful bike and pedestrian route through southern Minneapolis that has overpasses. This means it’s almost like an expressway for bikes. We eventually found our exit at the Midtown Global Market and went in to get our final beer of the day. I ended my day with a lovely sour beer that was made with grilled peaches.
Once we finished with this final, fifth beer, we headed back to our cars, and the conclusion of fifty miles. The fact that I ran 11 miles yesterday meant that I was hurting more today than I had planned on. As I relaxed on Sunday evening, I slowly rolled out my quads on the foam roller, grimacing as I did. I know I’ll have a couple days of recovery ahead of me, but I’m very happy that I got another half-century ride in. It was a fun bonus to get to share it with some friends as well.