All posts by Kevin Holsapple

The author of Prime Passages is Kevin Holsapple. Currently living in northern New Mexico, Kevin has traveled extensively over the years and aspires to do alot more of that in the coming years. Now semi-retired, Kevin's working life included management of a destination tourism activity, community development work, advising and training small businesses, operating recreational tours, and even operating a beer hall.

Beartooth Beer Hike

Location of hike in the United States

The Beartooth Beer Hike is near the Montana-Wyoming border between Yellowstone National Park to the south and the small community of Red Lodge, Montana to the north.  This is remote country except for a steady stream of vehicular traffic crossing between the two states via Beartooth Pass, a heart-ramping drive with spectacular views along the way.

route map
Hike route – click on image for interactive route map in AllTrails.
Lake Fork of Rock Creek
Lake Fork of Rock Creek

The hike is better known as the Lost Lake hike, an in-and-out route that follows the Lake Fork of Rock Creek – being a New Mexican, I think it would be more appropriate to call it Rock River.  Montana hiking struck me as a place to be a lot more worried about bears than most places I hike – grizzly bears in particular are an unfamiliar quantity worthy of substantial caution.  As it turned out, I didn’t encounter any wildlife on this hike but I was tuned in and ready just the same.

The route to Lost Lake is a steady uphill march along a beautiful forested trail periodically punctuated by pretty grassy meadows.  The path never strays far from the rushing stream.  There was no traffic when I was there — we didn’t encounter another soul.  The steep valley is flanked by mountains on both sides of the stream.  Waterfalls spill off these mountains occasionally along the way.  Like most hikes I undertake, this is another one that was great for building thirsts.

Post-hike, we retreated to Red Lodge Ales, a small brewery operation just north of the town.  Red Lodge was a nice base for a couple of days.  The former gold and coal mining community has some nice old bones that I imagine old-timers consider to be inhabited now by a pretty foo-foo crowd.  The main drag caters to the passing tourist traffic with a good (more than is justified by the 2000 population) collection of knick-knack places, coffee spots, and places to eat.  I stayed with some acquaintances on a ranch near town with big sky views.

Red Lodge Ales was a busy place.  Contrary to their name, they also offered a fine lager or two.  I enjoyed a Dos Goatees Doppelbock, a strong (8% ABV) malty brew that their menu notes is a two-time gold medal winner of the North American Beer Awards.

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For more stories about hikes and beers in Montana, CLICK THIS LINK.

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Dot Loop Classic

Dot Loop hike route
click on image for interactive map of hike route

The DOT Loop Classic is an annual beer hike for me in White Rock Canyon of northern New Mexico.  White Rock Canyon could well be described as the  Grand Canyon of the Rio Grande River.  It is a spectacular canyon stretch between Santa Fe and Los Alamos Counties.  Bandelier National Monument flanks one side of the lower section of the canyon before the Rio Grande reaches the massive dam at Cochiti.

What I call the Dot Loop Classic route descends to the river from the West rim at Overlook Regional Park at White Rock, New Mexico then follows downstream for a way before a steep ascent back to the rim.  From there, a rim trail loops back to the starting point.  “DOT Loop Classic” is my name for the route that derives from its use of two popular trails – one called “Blue Dot Trail” that is used for the descent and the equally popular “Red Dot Trail” used to ascend back to the rim.  The “classic” part comes from my judgment that this should be considered one of New Mexico’s classic hikes.  In terms of setting, scenic quality, and thirst provoking challenge there are few others I know of in the same league.

The entire loop is a bit more than seven miles and there is a bit more than 1000 feet of altitude change between rim and river.  The “DOT” trails are named for spray-painted dots the mark (mar?) rocks along the way on each of the trails.  These aren’t my idea of very nice trail markings and I’ve always thought them to be overdone, particularly on the Red Dot Trail.  Following them will keep you on route when going up and down though.  Both trails are steep and challenging and neither should be taken lightly.  It seems like it’s about every year that search and rescue retrieve someone from the canyon.

Blue Dot is said to be an early 1900’s livestock route.  The River Trail connecting Blue Dot/Red Dot, the Canyon Rim Trail on top, and the Red Dot itself all feature an array of interesting petroglyphs scattered along the way.   Red Dot is also known as Pajarito Springs Trail for the springs, small stream, and swimming hole near the bottom.

For a well-deserved beer after the Dot Loop Classic, we retired to Bathtub Row Brewery in nearby Los Alamos.  It must be history month there because a couple of the current beers were throwbacks.  I started with a Primo Pils which is described as “a recreation of the classic American Pilsener brewed just after prohibition.”  They also had a very interesting historic-based beer on tap called Magdelena Beer.  The brewer created this beer to emulate a popular beer brewed at the Illinois Brewing Company in Socorro, NM prior to prohibition.  As I understood it, he found an unopened bottle of the beer at a private museum and became intrigued to research the recipes of those times.  Magdelena Beer is a refreshing, light lager using 6-row malt, corn, and cluster hops.

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For more stories about hikes and beers in New Mexico, CLICK THIS LINK.

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Beery Journey – a personal perspective

Beervana Podcast
The Beervana podcast focuses on the art, culture, economics, and business of beer and brewing

It’s been a beery journey.  The Beervana Podcast recently featured an interesting discussion called “Well How Did We Get Here?”  Hosts Jeff Alworth (author of The Beer Bible and The Secrets of Master Brewers) and Oregon State University economics professor Patrick Emerson spend most of the episode talking about the history of the American craft beer movement from the 1980s until today. Their reminisces got me thinking about my own observations living through this period and more broadly about my own beery journey and how it has overlaid the evolution of craft beering.

Jeff and Patrick relate that their relationship with beer began in their late teens with mass-produced light lagers.  When they were introduced to beers from craft breweries a couple of years later, it was a revelation that developed into lifelong passions and professional pursuits.  They describe the first wave of American craft brewing from the ’80s into the early ’00s as a time when the novelty of craft brewing and the brewpub was enough to allow people to start a brewing business – the beer didn’t have to be particularly good and often wasn’t.  They describe the second wave that followed as a phase of increasing professionalism by brewers and businesses and increasing demand by beer drinkers for “good” beer.  The definition of “craft beer” became more complicated due to the growth of some of the original craft brewing enterprises (think Boston Brewing) and the acquisitions of craft breweries by big business.  The variety of malts, hops, and yeasts increased greatly through the evolutionary period increasing the possibilities.  Another marker has been the increasing distribution capabilities of small breweries well beyond their own taprooms.

My first “go-to” beer brand

As I listened, I found that the discussion tracked well in many ways with my own experience.  However, my experience differed in significant ways.  The first “regular beer” I remember is Schoenling Red Labels that were bought by the trunkload in nearby Ohio where the legal age was three years younger than in Indiana.  No one called this, or any other beer I remember from those days, “craft” although it suited our purposes of those days just fine.

Kitzinger Scheuernstuhl
Kitzinger Scheuernstuhls – my go-to beer for the years in Germany. The old brewery (upper left) is now the site of a McDonalds.

Following high school, I joined the army in the mid-1970s and my first “permanent” posting was a three-year stint in a Bavarian town called Kitzingen.   All of a sudden I was exposed to a big variety of “good” beer.  Much of it was great beer.  Pretty much all of it was “craft” beer by most definitions I have ever seen for that term.  It was being brewed in fairly small volumes by locally-owned breweries for local consumption.  I also think of it as being artisanal with there being as much art involved as science and technology.  Kitzingen is in a region called Franconia which has a very large concentration of craft breweries to this day.  The town had two breweries at the time and my favorite became the Kitzinger Scheuernstuhl Brewery.  They made an outstanding marzen which I had on a home delivery schedule to my apartment (I’d leave my empties on the doorstep).

some of my go-to’s in the 1980s

After leaving the service in 1979, it was time for college and it was really tough returning to thin relatively thin, tasteless brews native to the USA.  I found refuge in the imports of the day.  Beers like Becks Dark, St.Pauli Girl Dark, and Bass Ale were frequent choices when I had a friend working at the beer store.  When I had to pay full price, I avoided big brands and searched out cheap, obscure regional beers that offered what I thought was the best taste per cost equation.  Those were the days of Braumeister (not Meisterbrau) in cases of returnable bottles.

Samuel Adams was the first American craft beer I encountered.

Post-college, I took a job and started doing some business travel and I began noticing the existence of these things called “brewpubs.” in some of the cities I traveled to.  The first craft beer I can remember trying was a Sam Adams Boston Lager in about 1984 on a trip to the Boston area.  I remember being impressed that someone was making an American beer that had some flavor and body to it.  It was pretty good I thought.  I started making it a feature of my off-duty time on business trips to search out and sample whatever brewpubs I could find in whatever city I was visiting.  Like Jeff and Patrick related in their podcast, though, it was the exception rather than the rule to find “good” beers at these early American craft beer places.  Searching these places out was more about the novelty of it versus finding great American beers.

The Red Hook Brewery was an early brewery visit in the late ’80s

The Redhook Brewery in Seattle was the first American brewery I visited that I remember thinking was pretty sophisticated and had what I thought was an impressive beer – their ESB.  Through those years, I lived in cities that did not have much going for them in terms of their being a good craft beer, but I did get to visit a bunch of interesting little places that had aspirations of brewing great beers.

Santa Fe Brewing was originally located on a ranch south of the city.

In 1989 we moved to the Santa Fe, New Mexico area and I was pleased to find out there was a fairly new brewery near there – Santa Fe Brewing was one of the first craft breweries in New Mexico.  Santa Fe Brewing did not have a brewpub or a taproom in those days, but did host visits to their brewery at a ranch in the Galisteo Basin – you would recognize the terrain from the many cowboy movies that have been filmed in the area.  A visit to that small brewery was a unique experience.  I can remember sitting on the porch and watching calf roping in the large roping enclosure out front while the owners served us grilled bratwursts and Santa Fe Pale Ales.  Santa Fe Pale Ale was a thankfully good beer that has demonstrated sustained quality to this day, so it became a regular go-to for me since that time.

I totally related to Jeff and Patrick’s description of the second wave of craft brewing in America — it became much less about the novelty and it required consistently producing good or great beers to increase chances of a brewery’s survival.  They mark the transition to this era in the early 00s.  They feel like things have progressed to where the five best beers found in a locale these days and probably better than the five best beers found anywhere in the U.S. back in the 80s.  I’d have to agree.  To put it in my terms, I think it was great luck if 1 of 5 of the beers you’d find in an 80s era brewpub was something you would order a second time whereas nowadays the same ratio for craft beers is more like 3 in 5 or 7 in 10.  For me, the ratio for craft beers when I travel in Franconia is more like 9 in 10, so there is still plenty of room for improvement.

That points out a big difference in the perspective I have compared to that related by Jeff and Patrick in their podcast discussion.  The American craft beer revolution they described began with a pretty much blank slate.  They had never encountered a craft beer or even a good beer before some American craft beers started to get their attention.  For me, I felt like I had been immersed in both for several years and then had been missing them.  It wasn’t a blank slate.  The prospect of rediscovering interesting local beer in the form of the emerging craft brewing movement was intriguing and exciting.

My exposure to experimental Beers pre-dated the craft movement

I have observed and been annoyed at times at what I’ll call the “American Craft Beer Snob (ACBS)” who sees beer culture through what seems to me to be very narrow slits of perception.  The extreme version of the ACBS seems to only value beer that pushes the limits of hop absorption, has high alcohol content, uses non-traditional ingredients, or is generally experimental.   I don’t have any problem with people being interested in these kinds of things but for me, they are niche interests, not the main course.  My personal experience led me to value the craft of using traditional brewing ingredients and methods to consistently produce balanced, flavorful, and beautiful beers.  That does not mean I don’t enjoy and appreciate IPA’s, fruity beers, or experimental beer with an ACBS from time-to-time, but those aren’t my niche I guess.  A brewery that really gets my attention and respect is one that has at least one flagship beer that is a clean, balanced, flavorful brew that they have consistently produced over a long period of time.

When a brewery like that contributes to “beer culture”, it makes it all the more exciting.  Beer is somehow more rewarding to me when it seems part of a way of life versus just being today’s beverage of choice.  Whenever I encounter disposable plastic cups and/or flat-screen televisions I feel like I’m in the wrong place.  Just like the fact that breweries and beer in Franconia are much bigger than being about the beer, some breweries in the American craft beer movement aspire to this in their communities.  This is always a memorable experience where it exists.  Maybe this will become the foundation of the next great evolutionary step in American craft beer?

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Rainy Beer Hikes

Location of Seattle & the Olympic Peninsula
Location of Seattle & the Olympic Peninsula

When I think of places I could be taking rainy beer hikes, the Hoh Rain Forest of the Olympic Peninsula in Washington and the Ballard District of urban Seattle offer interesting surroundings and a good variety of breweries and beers to check out.  Walking in the rain there is not an unusual activity judging by the healthy numbers of people who were out in it along with me.

click on map image for interactive Google map

The Olympic Peninsula offers a big chunk of wild country and interesting-looking hiking in fairly close proximity to the urban strip that is Seattle and Tacoma.  The eastern edge of the peninsula is a chain of quaintish towns having sufficient populations to support a smattering of brewpubs and small breweries.  I worked my way up that coastline with a stop here and there until I reached Port Angeles on the north shore where a couchsurfing host had agreed to put me up.  The only access to the Hoh River hike I had scoped out was from the west, so a good bit of driving was required.

The stereotypes I brought with me to Seattle of a hipstery urban place with lots of coffee joints and overcast skies were supported by the experience.  It was rainy hikes and walks in funky feeling environs.  Hard to say how much that was about my preconceptions versus the reality.

This story comes from a pre-COVID trip.  You may click on any gallery image to see it in a larger format and to open a slideshow viewer that lets you scroll through larger versions of all images.

Beer Hike in the Hoh Rain Forest

Hoh River Trail Route
Hoh River Trail Route – click on image to open an interactive hiking map

My rainy beer hike in the Hoh River Valley started out with a drive in the rain past scenic Crescent Lake — after a stop at a drive-up coffee kiosk of course.  I had picked up a Sesh Appeal Helles from Silver City Brewery in Bremerton to carry with for lunch on the hike.   The Sesh was a clean, malty beer that at 4.8% ABV goes nicely with a hike.

Getting to the trailhead takes a long drive in the woods, but was well worth it.  The beginning of the trail is at a well-developed parking lot with a ranger outpost for the Olympic National Park.  The trail proceeds up the river for more than 18 miles to the base of Mount Olympus,  but I chose to turn around at a place called Mineral Springs Falls.  This is one of the mossiest, ferniest hikes I’ve experienced.

Ballard District Beer Walking

Ballard District Beer Loop
Ballard District Beer Loop – click on map image for interactive route map

A walk in the Ballard District of Seattle was another interesting rainy day beer hike, albeit very different in nature from the day before.  Ballard was once an independent town on the north bank of the Lake Washington Ship Canal but was absorbed into Seattle in the early 1900’s.  Apparently, it had a reputation as a boisterous saloon district way back so I guess that carries over into the proliferation of brewpubs and breweries today.   There is definitely a maritime warehouse feel to the area if you ask me.  Many of the breweries occupy converted industrial feeling properties that seem one step removed from being auto body shops.  The Seattle hipster stereotype was definitely reinforced by my co-clientele.

My rainy beer hike on this loop hit fourteen brewpubs and breweries:  Fremont Brewing Company, Bluebird Micro-Creamery & Brewery, Hale’s Ales, Bad Jimmy’s Brewing Company, Populuxe Brewing (closed since I visited), Lucky Envelope Brewing, Stoup Brewing, Obec Brewing, Reuben’s Brews, Peddler Brewing Company, NW Peaks Brewery, Figurehead Brewing, Urban Family Brewing Company, Rooftop Brewing Company,  There are a few more on the loop that were missed.  I sampled many good beers but none that have really stuck in my brain as wowsers.  The Bluebird was certainly memorable for the creamery-brewery combo which isn’t something you see every day.  This does have to be one of the most dog friendly beer drinking areas I can remember – plenty of dogs in the taprooms.

There is no shortage of brewpubs and breweries scattered around the city, but Ballard struck me as the best concentration in an interestingly walkable area.  I also took my time to visit a variety of visually interesting spots and places that struck me as having interesting branding.  The Fremont bridge troll is a large sculpture living under a bridge along the beer walk in Ballard.  An otherwise wasted space under the end of the Fremont Bridge hosts the street art,  Downtown visits included the Museum of Popular Culture and its interesting modern architecture, the Olympic Sculpture Park at the Seattle Art Museum, and the classic Pike Place Market – an iconic attraction.

There are a couple of businesses in the center that struck me as having the kind of quirky branding that I find irresistible.  In particular, the local eatery called “Biscuit Bitch” has a bitchin’ line-up of biscuit and gravy variations and sports the tagline, “trailer park to table” cuisine.  Wash it down with an old-school beer experience at the nearby Altstadt Bier Hall.

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The Views & Brews Challenge

The Views and Brews Challenge is an ideal activity for the goal-oriented beer hiker. Complete a certain number of hikes coupled with brewpub visits within a participating U.S. State and qualify to receive an embroidered patch as well as get your name enshrined on the Views & Brews website as a “finisher” of the challenge in the state.

Recently, a member of the Lovers of Beer, Hiking, and Travel Facebook Group asked for ideas for her upcoming travels to Alaska. Never having been to Alaska, but curious as always I did a quick Google and turned up the Alaska page of the Views & Brews Challenge. It has good-looking info about hikes and breweries so I passed the link along in the FB group.

beer hiker

Tom Rankin
Tom Rankin

Views & Brews was a new one for me. I always enjoy connecting with kindred spirits who have a hobby that involves beer hiking (read about how different people define beer hiking here) so I reached out to Tom Rankin, the creator of the Challenge and the website. My home state of New Mexico was not yet represented in the Challenge and I figured it would be easy for me to rectify that. Tom was receptive and easy to work with and within a few days, the New Mexico Views & Brews Challenge was available to visitors to his website. The challenge is presented as a Google map indicating the locations of breweries and brewery taprooms together with the locations of suggested hikes that are nearby. Completing 30 beer hikes as defined in the rules qualifies a person as a “finisher”. Finishers can apply online to Views & Brews to have their name enshrined on the website and to receive a Views & Brews patch they can affix to clothing or hiking gear.

Speaking with Tom and his wife Laurie Rankin, their passion for hitting the trail and enjoying quality brew was unmistakable. Tom and Laurie live in the Catskills area of upper-state New York. Well before Views & Brews, Tom had been participating in a number of hiking clubs in New England that offer a variety of challenge goals. An example is the Catskill 3500 Club, a natural resource stewardship group that offers an ongoing challenge to hike all 33 of the Catskill peaks that exceed 3500 feet in altitude. Tom describes sitting in a brewpub enjoying a craft beer in 2004 having just completed the hike to his 33rd Catskill peak and the conversation produced the idea that there should be a similar challenge and patch connected to hikes that ended in a brewpub.  Inspiration strikes!

beer hikerFast forward and there are now twenty states and two Canadian provinces with challenges on the Views & Brews website. New Hampshire is the state that has had the most finishers so far, and Tom says he averages getting an application from one finisher per month. There is a concentration in northeastern states due to the Rankins living in that area but it has been branching out. Contacts from knowledgeable people who want to populate the information for a challenge in their state are welcomed. “We are open to hearing from people in other places. Putting together information relies on local knowledge and expertise.”

Beers or BearsWhen traveling, Tom and Laurie say they will organize their activities around hikes and brewpubs, even if there isn’t a challenge in the place where they are going. “Local hikes and brewpubs open doorways to discoveries about what is distinctive and unique in any given locale. We also find that we can return to a hike or a brewpub and there is a newness each time. Whether it is a change of season and how that affects the hike or a change in the menu, there are fresh eyes and tastebuds each time.” The Views & Brews site does not try to impose any judgment about the quality of a hike or a venue. There is no judgment made on what is “good” recognizing that there are different strokes for different folks. “The owner of a favorite brewpub has a policy that if you order a beer and don’t like it, he’ll not only provide you with another choice, but he’ll drink the one you didn’t care for. One time he was really eager for us to try his new porter. He did, but we didn’t really like it. True to his policy, he poured us a couple of replacement IPA’s and downed the porter – we could tell by the look on his face that it wasn’t his favorite either.”

NM Views & Brews Challenge
click on map for NM Views & Brews Challenge

“For some reason, a common reaction we get from people is that we ought to do a Views and __________. You can fill in the blank. Our standard come-back has become, ‘no … you ought to …’ There was actually someone who took that to heart and did something called ‘scoops & loops’ that is about bicycling and ice cream.  It also isn’t uncommon to hear from people who say they love the idea but then we never hear from them again.  Maybe they like the activity but it’s not in their nature to keep track.”

Tom figures he has completed more than 300 hike and brewpub combinations that qualify for one of the state challenges or another and Laurie has been there for quite a few of them. There are a few rules they apply across state lines for the brewpubs and hikes that qualify to be part of the challenges. A brewpub is defined as a brewery venue that has its own kitchen service. A hike must be a hike or a walk that is longer than a mile. The brewpub visit-hike combination must be completed within a 48 hour period. For any given state, completing the challenge requires visiting at least 3/4 of its brewpubs with a maximum of 30 required. As the Challenge-meister, Tom says he tries to be reasonably flexible and allow people who have volunteered to put together state information to exercise local knowledge and judgment in what is appropriate in their locale. For instance, in the COVID environment, he has ruled that take-out visits to brewpubs are fully acceptable.

The “great rule of Views and Brews” according to Tom isn’t about delineating the challenge though — it is to call ahead to be sure a place is open and serving when you want to be there.

Views & Brews Crew
Tom and Laurie (back left) enjoying a brew after enjoying a hike with some friends
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Indy Trails and Brews

Indy Trails
Multi-purpose Trails in Indy – click on map to open interactive Google Map.

Indy, Naptown, Circle City, Crossroads of America, Amateur Sports Capital of the World, Railroad City, and India-no-place have all been used as nicknames for Indianapolis – the capital city of Indiana.  Some of these are too much of a mouthful and I have come to like and use “Indy”.  I have a long history with Indy having grown up nearby and having been an urban pioneer in the early 1980’s during the city’s beginning efforts to revitalize its inner core.  If the urban trails I recently found there existed then, I was oblivious to them but I’m glad I found them now.  Indy’s pleasant trails overlay over a substantial array of craft breweries and interesting beer venues pretty nicely.

Athenaeum
Athenaeum – Das Deutsche Haus

One of my favorite authors, Kurt Vonnegut hailed from Indy where his father and grandfather were both prominent architects. If you’ve never read Vonnegut, I recommend it, and if you have you will recognize his sensibilities in the “feel” of Indy.  Vonnegut once mused, “All my jokes are Indianapolis. All my attitudes are Indianapolis. My adenoids are Indianapolis. If I ever severed myself from Indianapolis, I would be out of business. What people like about me is Indianapolis.”  Indy is an uncomplicated, comfortable place.

I was lucky to live in what was, at the time, a derelict apartment building across the street from the historic Athenaeum, a historic German cultural club in a building designed by Vonnegut’s grandfather.  It is a grand old building that would fit right into most German cities.  At the time, it was our neighborhood German restaurant and festival place (St.Benno Feast complete with goat and bock beer was a favorite) and it ended up being where my wife and I held our wedding reception.  Today, it lives on – the beer garden has been revitalized and a popular bar is housed in an enclosed porch off the beer garden.

Indy is home to more than fifty breweries by my count.  It is also a place where six interstate highways meet; the place where Van Camps invented pork and beans; the home of Wonder Bread and the Indy 500 auto race; and it is the only second to Washington, D.C. as the city in the country that has the most memorials and monuments.

“Indianapolis, Indiana is the first place in the United States of America where a white man was hanged for the murder of an Indian. The kind of people who’ll hang a white man for murdering an Indian–that’s the kind of people for me.”  — Kurt Vonnegut

Indy Trails

My Indy explorations concentrated on four multi-purpose trails that are all connected to each other: the Monon Trail, the Central Canal Pathway, the White River Greenway, and the Indianapolis Cultural Trail.

The Monon Trail is a 27-mile paved rail-trail that uses right-of-way of the former Chicago, Indianapolis & Louisville Railway.  The former railway had two main lines that crossed in the small northern Indiana town of Monon 90 miles north of Indy, and the railway company eventually adopted the Monon nickname as its official name.  The part of the railway that is now a rail-trail was abandoned in the late 1980’s and was opened as a multi-purpose trail in 1999.  I checked it out from downtown Indy up to Broadripple, one of Indy’s nightlife districts, and then on up to the affluent suburb of Carmel.

The Central Canal Towpath connects to the Monon Trail at Broad Ripple and is an alternate route to downtown Indianapolis. The trail runs 7.7 miles along the historic canal and passes the Butler University area and through the forested grounds of the Indianapolis Museum of Art before connecting up with the White River Greenway Trail, a 4.75 mile connector into the city center.

Covering much of the city center, the Indianapolis Cultural Trail is an 8 mile stretch of biking and walking trail that passes a plethora of monuments, public buildings, public art, and interesting city-scapes.  Distinctive wayfinding signage and tinted pavers make the route easy to follow through the downtown and down toward the Fountain Square neighborhood.

You may click on any gallery image to see it in a larger format and to open a slideshow viewer that lets you scroll through larger versions of all images.

Indy Indie Brews

Along the way on these routes are opportunities to sample beers at some of Indy’s many independent breweries and at the historic Athenaeum.  Many of these are right on the trails and use that fact in their marketing.  Others are found on nearby city streets.  My stops included  St. Joseph Brewery, Sun King Brewing, Fountain Square Brewery, Chilly Water Brewing, Metazoa Brewing, TwoDeep Brewing, Guggman Haus Brewing, the Rathskeller, Upland Brewing, Books & Brews, Broad Ripple Brewpub, Big Lug Brewing, and Union Brewing.  Two very different adaptive reuse projects take the prize for interesting settings – St. Joseph is a beautifully converted parish church in my old neighborhood that I would have been a regular at if it existed in my day and Guggman Haus is a comfortable, reclaimed residential relic in the midst of an industrial area, complete with a backdrop of grain silos.