Beer and Bikes, a Match Made in Fort Collins Heaven

I live in Old Town Fort Collins on a pretty busy street. My house was built in 1909 and I am guessing by the angle of the kitchen is slowly sinking into the ground. Every year, a block south of my house, the Tour De Fat parades past. Last year, we rode the parade route 4 times, stopping for a beer at my house between each loop. I can walk to (almost) all breweries in town, but I’d rather bike. As soon as you walk off my xeriscaped lawn and pass the on-street parking, you better watch out for bikes before you look for the cars. Not to mention, the collective value of the bikes I own is worth more than my car. I am not only a Coloradoan by stereotype, but more importantly a resident of Fort Collins. Bikes are a huge part of our community. I mean, New Belgium’s flagship beer is Fat Tire, and that has nothing to do with love handles.

I just read an article in Draft Magazine about how in Brooklyn a bike shop is finally able to serve beer and wine as well as operating as a bike shop (You can read it here. The author, Tim Cigeiske, said it was the first place he has ever heard of that can serve beer and sell bikes simultaneously. Well, Tim, I encourage you to visit Fort Collins soon, where I can introduce you to two amazing places that have been some of my haunts for the last 4 years.

In college I lived in Campus West, where many undergrads tend to congregate and participate in unruly activities (see Rams Pointe party of 2011). Road 34 Bike Shop was just a block away from me for one year, and even when I moved a short bike ride away, I still frequented. I even spent my 21st birthday there. Road 34 was a bike shop before it was a bar. When they opened as a bar they had $1 beer nights. That’s right, Fat Tire, Easy Street and many other delicious beers for only $1 on Thursday nights from 9pm-midnight. While dollar beer night is where I feel in love with Road 34, they no longer offer it. Which makes sense, you can’t even buy a keg from New Belgium for a $1 a pint. But I still go back. For the $34 tune ups, the fantastic sandwiches, and of course, the hot Asian bartender. Oh, and live music, they usually have good bands. Ok, really it’s the bartender.

Road 34 has been around long enough for me to have an entire set of stolen pint glasses in many colors proudly proclaiming they have a “knowledgeable, friendly, well hung staff”, but Crank N Steins is new to the scene. Opening up in late 2011, they are a coffee shop, bike shop and beer bar. Yes you heard me right, open 7am-1am. Want a shot of espresso in that imperial stout before your morning shift, no problem! I go to Crank N Steins a lot….maybe too much. (It’s a 10 minute walk from my house). On Wednesday’s they have $1 PBR tall boys, which my friends enjoy. So they can sip on that stuff, while I enjoy one of their many taps of local specialties or hard to find brews. Usually a night at Crank N Steins ends in a long card game where the contents of our pockets and purses end up the table (because you can’t strip in public). My favorite part about this place…they have a garage door in the front that is open when the weather is nice and you can ride your bike right into the bar. Once you park it by one of the old wood posts by the door, you can pick a seat in one of many reclaimed chairs, church pews, or couches. My friends however would say that the best part is the monthly meeting of the Rocky Mountain Beard and Mustache Club, and the men who partake.

So in conclusion, thank you, City of Fort Collins, for allowing bike shops to have beer licenses for us girls to have something good to look at while we drink great beer.  And congrats to Red Lantern Bicycles in Brooklyn for finally being allowed to provide hipsters with one less stop on the way home.

Photos via Draft Magazine and Denver Post Archives

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