I got to my feet, brushing the dirt off my knees, shins, and forearms. As I did, the dirt began to clump, the blood mixing in and turning it dark. I was in the foothills of the Rockies near Lyons, Colorado, fresh off a visit to Oskar Blues Brewery. Beer isn’t their only passion: The quality of the mountain biking in the area is what convinced owner Dale Katechis to set up shop in Lyons in the first place. I had the opportunity to go for a ride with some of the staff as part of my visit, and they certainly didn’t baby me – I went over the handlebars twice.
Sounds intense – and it was – but holy shit, what an amazing time. Going downhill, over the rocks and around the steep turns, was one of the most adrenaline-producing experiences since I took up rock climbing at the beginning of the summer. Bikers should be sure to do some investigating in the Lyons area, which is considered the top town to ride on the front range of the Rockies outside of Denver (rock climbing is to Boulder as mountain biking is to Lyons).
Dale’s inspiration for putting craft beer in a can came, in part, from his love of mountain biking, favoring the trail-friendly aluminium can to the breakable bottle. Today, that vision and recognition has helped them to become icons of the craft beer industry, both for the brawns of the decision and the brains behind their beer making. Dale’s passion for mountain biking has not only turned into a complete cultural obsession within the company, but it has inspired the launch of a secondary product line known as REEB Bicycles (beer backwards).
Branded as “bikes from the people who bring you beer,” the side project is no joke. This year, they were voted as one of the top 9 mountain bikes of 2012 by Outside Magazine, made from 100% American-made tubing (True Temper OX Platinum Steel) and welded one-at-a-time in the Rocky Mountains. REEB bicycles are all single-speed, adding a challenging aspect for riders in the form of energy and momentum use/conservation.
Bikers can stop by Oskar Blues and pick up a six-pack on the way out for the day or swing by the brewery for a post-ride brew. I’d recommend both, if for no other reason than to follow along with the Oskar Blues’ motto: Ride Bikes. Drink Beer. Repeat.
Here are some photos of my adventure in the foothills near Lyons, Colorado: