As if by design, the popularity of cycling boomed at the same time that craft beer took hold of the country’s tastes. Most major cities now boast bike share programs, several with outposts right near beer-centric establishments; crafty bastards are selling hand-made bike-specific six-pack carriers; and microbreweries routinely sponsor road bike races and clubs—and sell a whole bunch of cycle jerseys in their gift shops. In many ways this makes sense: both industries attract people who cringe from the corporate neon glow of the supermarket aisles or big-box sports stores, and strive to find products that best express their lifestyle, trends be damned.
And this bike/beer alliance is only growing. New Belgium, whose inspiration to start a brewery traces back to a bike tour of Europe, now hosts an annual Tour de Fat biking event that pops up all over the country between May and October. Places like Portland, Oregon’s Hopworks Brewery serves their beer and pizza under an array of swank bike frames. And Cycle Pub tours—where participants ride a pedal-powered mobile bar to various breweries—are appearing all over the country.
Convergence is a beautiful thing. Here, we profile one of the more interesting melding of the two industries to recognize three beer bars that sell bikes. Or are they bike shops that serve beer? Either way, this mind meld is a good trend. After all, when you’re trying to fix a flat, or waiting to see how much that repair is going to cost, the process is best mitigated by a few cold ones.
This pioneering hotspot close to Sun Valley Ski Resort adds “burgers” as the logical extension of the alliterative partnership between “bikes” and “beer” (and yes, they also have bacon on the menu). This spot is a plush full-service bike shop/restaurant/bar, with equal emphasis on all three services.
Get outfitted by experienced cyclists (who will help you understand finding the right bike is mostly about finding the bike that fits you right), pick up a few tips on the best singletrack in the area, and then get lost in the extensive beer menu, which includes brews from Belgium, Australia, Germany and a handful of State-side microbrewers. Power House, one of the first places in the region to introduce the concept of craft beers, also organizes or participates in several biking events throughout the Wood River Valley, including kids camps, races and centuries, cyclo-cross, and rallies.
Located on the edge of the pristine singletrack that makes Pisgah National Forest one of the best mountain bike destinations in the country, and “just around the bend from Asheville,” the Hub could not be better named. They boast a full-service bike shop (naturally) as well as offering bike rentals and other outdoor gear, with a staff that can help you find the perfect trail and sell you maps to get you there. And then there’s the beer. The Pisgah Tavern, located in the Hub’s bike shop, offers six beers on tap along with a small selection of cans, both of which are in constant rotation—and more often than not benefit from the high-octane craft brew scene blowing up in Asheville.
Planning a trip? Check their online events calendar and try to visit during one of the many demo days they host, so you can get in some miles on a brand new bike before shouldering up to the bar to brag about your exploits (or nurse your damaged ego).
To dub the Velo Cult as merely a bike shop run by beer enthusiasts does this place a disservice. They do have just about every bike tool you could need—including several rare ones that only true pedal-heads might recognize. And the beer selection is equally eclectic, with 12 taps and more than 40 bottles and cans, featuring everything from area breweries to other award-winning U.S. craft beers. But they’re also a coffee shop, a bike retailer, and have an event space for everything from live music to kid-specific movie nights—occasions that make Velo Cult about not just cycling and beer, but about embracing the whole community. Cycle-lovers should also peruse their online museum, where you can scroll through decades of cycle porn, from a 1972 Alex Singer Touring bike to some of the first mountain bikes.