One of our favorite combinations when traveling is mountain biking, followed by sipping a refreshing craft beer, the world's best recovery drink. Flagstaff, Arizona does this combo better than most. Our home base was Flagstaff for a week of trail riding. Thankfully, Historic Brewing, one of eight local breweries, also makes its home in this hip and adventurous college town. The downtown location, Historic Barrel + Bottle House, is conveniently connected to an upstairs loft rental perched above the walkable and historic downtown. We melted into the plush bedding and took full advantage of the short walk down a flight of stairs to a waiting pint. We also stashed a six-pack of our favorite in our refrigerator….the award-winning Salt River Lager. Super refreshing, they go down easy, and it really helps to dull the pain in your quads after long days in the saddle. Their Barrel House burger paired with the balsamic-glazed brussel sprouts is the perfect accompaniment. Adventures require plenty of fuel!
Arizona has serious mountain bike credentials, and now that we've added Flagstaff to our bike resume, the state's stock went up another notch! Northern Arizona leaves the desert and cactus behind in favor of giant Ponderosa pines and elevation above 8,000 feet. To warm up our legs, we drove to Campbell Mesa for a mostly-flat pedal paradise on the east side. Historic Brewing's main production center and tap room were close by. We met Zach, the head brewer, and some of his team were brewing a batch of Prickly Puss and Picnic Piehole. The flavor profile is just as fun and creative as the names. After sampling a flight that included a Dear Lord and Baby Bash, we concluded Historic had a solid variety that could keep us quenched for quite some time. Zach mentioned while pouring our beers, “If you come in and don't find a beer that you like, I'd be amazed….we make beer for everyone's palette.”
We found more outstanding trails in the area, including Fort Tuthill Bike Park, and also explored the Schultz Creek area and all its tributaries around Mount Elden. One word on the trails…..stunning! Bonus, the Grand Canyon is only an hour and a half drive from Flagstaff. You've heard of hiking the rim of the Grand Canyon, but have you biked the rim of the big ditch?! I can imagine what other visitors were thinking, watching us pedal around the paved trail near the edge, “Hey, watch out for the giant pothole on your left!” Every day featured an “elevated adventure,” but we thankfully returned each night to our historic getaway stocked with refreshing recovery drinks.
We learned that Historic also has restaurants and other brewery locations in nearby Williams, the gateway town and home of the train to the Grand Canyon. Perhaps you're not a beer drinker or in the mood for a cocktail; both Barrel + Bottle House locations in Flagstaff and Williams can create a craft cocktail behind their full bar just as efficiently as a pint pour. Or wine, perhaps? Grand Canyon Wine Company rounds out the liquid roster for its family of companies. For a complete list and stories on all the places, you can toast a good day's ride or fuel up and rest up for more; check out Kennelly Concepts.
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