The criteria for “Brew With a View” is simple: the hike has to be close(ish) to Denver, beautiful, and mellow enough to either drink a beer while walking and/or for us to be able to make our way out of the hike after finishing the six pack. The brewery would supply us with a six pack of its beer to be shared with friends and directions towards the best hiking location. Read below to see what this week’s brewery suggested and see if this brew and the view fit this criteria.
303 Magazine met with Upslope Brewing Company last week, seeking advice on the best place to drink its beer in the mountains. Upslope Brewing’s logo is a mountain, and its name refers to mountain weather — so naturally we were nervous. Where would these mountain-loving brewers send 303 Magazine‘s off balanced beer writer? Let’s find out.
Beer: Upslope Brewing’s Craft Lager
ABV: 4.8 percent
The can for Upslope’s Craft Lager is simple. A block of orange with the outline of a mountain inside of it is set over a white background. The sweet, slightly bread flavored pilsner with a malt base is accentuated by the Saaz hops and is finished with just the right amount of resin tinted bitterness. Light in alcohol (4.8 percent ABV), Upslope’s Craft Lager is an excellent choice for an athletic activity like hiking. But of course, the only way to truly test a beer like Upslope’s Craft Lager, is on the side of a mountain.
Where: Mt. Sanitas, Boulder CO
Difficulty: Expert (the hike was a short 1.5 miles, but very steep and athletic)
Pro tip: Don’t try and hike the mountain in one big push. Take a lot of breaks, and play around on the rocks on the sides of the trail.
The only six pack you really want to bring to the top of Mt. Sanitas, is the one on your stomach. Rising from the parking lot in a series of steep steps, the hike begins tough and never really smooths out to being the pleasant stroll you’d crack a beer on.The hike is short, steep and sweet (emphasis on the steep), so it is important to take a lot of breaks. These breaks are not only good for resting, but also allow insanely fit trail runners charge past like bionic people from The Terminator — usually accompanied by a dog.
The area is still beautiful though, and conveniently close to town. Pine trees along the side of the trail provide cool shade for taking breaks, and admiring the beautiful view of wildflowers that dot the hillsides. Large boulders on the side of the trail are easy to climb, and a fun distraction when the group gets tired. Rock climbers also enjoy bouldering on Mount Sanitas. Watching them climb is also very enjoyable.
At the top, the view is split in half. On one side the Great Plains of America stretch out to the horizon line. Off to the right, the city of Denver pokes out of the earth with its cluster of sky scraping buildings. On the other, a sea of difficult looking mountains stretch out in a turbulent sea of wavy pine tree studded mountains, reaching to the foamy crest of the snow studded peaks at the Continental Divide. This is the perfect place to crack an Upslope Craft Lager, but only one. Sanitas is too steep to polish off half of a six pack. In a place of relative sobriety, proceed down the mountain with care, and finish the six pack by the Boulder Creek.
Verdict: While the beer is a perfect brew for a hike, Mount Sanitas steep slopes make it a little dangerous to enjoy an adult beverage, so proceed with caution.