Beer & Bike Tours
We met on Mother’s Day at Odell Brewing, with sunshine abound. Bob was at the bike rack with four cruisers equipped with baskets filled with helmets and water bottles, and one bicycle trailer. Our fellow tourists arrived minutes later, with their tiny man in tow.
My husband, Josh and I would spend our day with Riley, Elisa and eight months old Renoen “Reni” Konara; he was only one month away from being the youngest little babe to ride with Bob on Beer & Bike Tours.
After warm introductions, and testing out Reni’s comfort level in the trailer, Bob gave us a quick rundown of the history of the bicycle community in Fort Collins; we are the second most bike-friendly/safe city in the US, behind Boulder. Then, a brief history of Odell, and we were on our way to our first brewery stop of the day!
The ride was short and sweet; the bikes were simple and made for a smooth ride, while the sunscreen was a good idea. When we arrived at Funkwerks, Bob told us about the building and brewery; which was endearing to me since I once wrote the brewery tour script during my time as a Funkwerks beertender. I was particularly impressed by his knowledge, though. He travels the world, giving focused brewery tours, yet he knows intimate details about each destination.
Out of town visitors have such limited time to experience a brewery to its fullest, which is why he recommends taster flights. Elisa started with the classic Funkwerks Flight, which Bob kindly purchased with a simple “Happy first Mother’s Day.”
Once we all had something funky to sip on, we sat on the patio and organically fell into an enthusiastic conversation. My husband and I enjoy talking to strangers but rarely do we meet people with whom the connection is so instant. And I feel as if I must give credit to our tour guide. Bob can either take the floor and tell you stories like having his entire family’s passports, and belongings stolen in Bosnia, or be the mediator to propel the answer to the question “how do I become an educated beer drinker?” forward. If his fellow tour guides are anything like him, guests are oh-so-lucky to have these people as their storytellers to the city.
Bob established Beer & Bike Tours in 2012, but he is so much more than a tour guide; he is beer nerd, travel enthusiast, bicycle connoisseur and is proficient in baby cradling.
It was special to be on this tour with a young, loving mom on Mother’s Day. These new parents were so eager to share their squishy little ball of baby joy with strangers; allowing us to interact and hold little Reni was an absolute delight. Bob, in particular, was eager to hold him and let Elisa and Riley only to have to occupy their hands with beer. Beer & Bike Tours encourages families to take the tour, comfortably accommodating all ages. And breweries in NoCo is just as adapting to little ones.
We hopped on our bikes again for a back road jaunt to Horse & Dragon Brewing. I was pumped to see Disfrute, their pineapple ginger lager back on draft and our new friends ordered a taster of every beer on tap…which might have been a mistake, but it rooted the move in understandable excitement.
Bob is one of those people who knows everyone. When he saw H&D owners Tim and Carol in the taproom, he quickly made introductions. In the time I took to use the restroom, Carol was holding Reni is her arms and walking us into the brewhouse for a tour. No matter your craft beer knowledge base, touring a brewery with an owner is like having Walt show you around Disney World.
When the time came to a head, we worked on our team-building skills and finished the last bits of the beer flight.
The Beer & Bike tours are built around you; you discuss which stops you want to make, and when your group is small enough, they can easily make changes. And since we were having the fun where you forget to post about how much fun you are having, time got slightly away from us, and we headed to our final stop.
Josh is an avid city cyclist, so when I booked the tour, I asked him to come along to get his opinion of the bikes. He’s the type of rider who wants to go as fast as possible, thinking mostly of the destination, not the journey. But we were on cruisers, and he had no choice but to slow his roll. “This is relaxing” are words I might not have ever heard him utter, so when I saw him slowly pedaling towards Odell with a carefree smile, my heart skipped a beat.
A busy Saturday on the Odell patio is a quintessential look into A Day in the Life of a local. But when I saw my friend Rachel pouring beers, I selfishly asked if she could show us around upstairs, where the cool kids (employees) hang out. Ending our day on the deck, with glasses full of colorful craft beer, overlooking the crowded patio, made me so grateful for this city we call home. Riley and Elisa were on a road trip, escaping from the Oklahoma tornado season they are stationed in, and experienced Fort Collins through a bicycle brewery tour; this is an activity we can do any day of the week.
Remember this local business the next time you have family in town or when you feel like being a tourist in your city. Or better yet, contact Bob next time you take a vacation to see if he can plan a guided tour almost ANYWHERE in the world.