The Burque Mega-Brewpub Bike Crawl, I: Route Plans and Empty Boasts

After a slow realization that Spring has started early in Burque, your humble blogger/bike tourer is catching up for lost bike rides with a purported tour today of EVERY SINGLE brewpub in the city limits of Albuquerque.

What you ask? Is that even possible? How many do we have at this point? A million?

It might seem like a million, but the answer is 25, if one takes out multiple locations (e.g., Bosque Brewing) and leaves out places with “house beer” and no on-site brewing, such as O’Neill’s. Still, that’s a sizable number and locations are spread from Boxing Bear at Alameda and Corrales Road, to Lizard Tail at Montgomery and Eubank, along the North Diversion Channel “bike/brew tour,” down to Nob Hill and throughout downtown.

It’s a ride I’ve been contemplating for some time, reading again and again of a new brewery/brewpub opening. I want to do it before the number and saturation throughout town gets beyond one’s ability to do so in a single day. I also want to do it because, well, because it’s just one of those stupid “if I can, I must” things. Bike touring is like that.

Which gets me to the word “purported” above. I’m sticking with “purported” until I successfully put my bike touring butt where my mouth is, so to speak. The haul from over by Cottonwood Mall to Wyoming and then down to Uptown has me wondering, as can be somewhat made out in these poorly constructed Google Maps (I had to make three, as Google doesn’t let you list 25 destinations on one map):


Figure 1. The Big “P”

I live pretty far down in the South Valley, a place quite conspicuous in its lack of brewpubs (more about that later in future reports), and my wife asked me: “Are you gonna drive to Cottonwood Mall and ride from there.” To which I grandly declaimed “pshaw, fair maiden, I must ride the entire way.” Which is stupid, because it adds a ton of miles to my ride, but it’s just not a bike tour if you’re driving. Figure 1. depicts the bulk of the tour, and I’ll tackle this part first, with the idea that if I do this part it’s all pretty much downhill from the North Diversion Channel and its nearby brewpubs like the new Firkin Brewhouse.



Figure 2. The North Diversion Channel Brewpub District

When many cyclists think bikes and brews, they are thinking of this stretch of the North Diversion Channel. The more and more I ride around town, the more important I realize the “NDC” is, in some ways eclipsing the Bosque Path, as it’s far more functional in its proximity to things. Things like La Cumbre’s “Elevated IPA,” for instance. (Note to Self: Talk to La Cumbre about opening a Bosque Path beer stand featuring “Elevated IPA.”)



Figure 3. You Can’t Throw a Bike Pump Without Hitting a Brewpub Downtown

The plan is to triumphantly cruise downhill (by the way, if you’d like to get a marching band/parade together for this triumphant finale, show up, with your marching band, around 4:30 at Lead and Yale) and finish up at Ponderosa in the Sawmill District. then swing over to the Bosque Path and back to my brewpub-desert in the South Valley.

The throwing of confetti and rose petals along the route from Lead to Broadway, enough to cover the road surface in its entirety, is merely suggested, not required.


Planning Details and Rules:

Many cyclists have Strava units, or other devices, on their bikes to both map out and archive rides. Many such folks would have mapped out such a bike tour, using GPS, Strava, Map My Ride and other resources.

Your humble bike tourer has none of those things. Hell, I don’t even have a cell phone. For today’s tour, I’ll be relying on printed out versions of the highly uninformative maps above, a print-out of the brewpubs and addresses, a 2014 CABQ Bike Map, and a Protege 9.0 bike computer.

In other words, I have no idea how many miles this ride will be, how long it will take, or whether it’s even likely to be possible, especially given I want to show up when the brewpubs open (Noon) and don’t want to ride too much in the dark. Although, to be honest, I LOVE to ride in the dark.

This lack of information/knowledge is, in my opinion, essential in enjoying a bicycle tour. I’ve done right at six long-distance bike tours in the past eight years or so, and I’ve found the less I know going in, the more I enjoy it.  I realize this viewpoint might be held by far less than 100% of bike tourers.  I know this because I’ve had far more than one person tell me: “Scot, you are insane.” Far more than one.

Still, despite a dearth of details, you gotta have rules for such a mega-brewpub crawl. Without rules we have anarchy or last night’s Republican Presidential Debate. Here are the rules:


  1. No credit is awarded for “bagging” a brewpub unless one of the following conditions is met: A. A small (very) sample of the biggest selling beer at that brewpub is consumed by the Crawler.
  2. In lieu of tasting a sample, the Crawler must demonstrably and with great fanfare place their bike-gloved hand on the front door of the establishment.
  3. A photo of the “bagged’ establishment must be taken including visual evidence that the Crawler is present in the photo (Discovery of Photoshopping by Crawl officials is punishable by a five-year suspension of Crawl eligibility and banishment from any Burque brewpub).

These rules were made based on the fact one simply must have rules for such things, but also on the biggest hassle in any such tour: locking and unlocking one’s bike 25 times. There’s also the fact I’m going on Sunday and at least one of the places might be closed.

The idea is to go into every place, ask them what their #1 seller is and see if they will give me a free sample to taste. That may not be possible or desirable (Note to self: Open bicycle-only ride-through brewpub).

Alright, here we go. And as we’re bringing up ideas like “if we can, we must” and emptily boasting of grandiose things, let’s kick off the Crawl with some bombastic A.E. Housman (it even has “drink you ale” at the end!).


IX: The Chestnut…

The chestnut casts his flambeaux, and the flowers
Stream from the hawthorn on the wind away,
The doors clap to, the pane is blind with showers.
Pass me the can, lad; there’s an end of May.
There’s one spoilt spring to scant our mortal lot,
One season ruined of your little store.
May will be fine next year as like as not:
But ay, but then we shall be twenty-four.
We for a certainty are not the first
Have sat in taverns while the tempest hurled
Their hopeful plans to emptiness, and cursed
Whatever brute and blackguard made the world.
It is in truth iniquity on high
To cheat our sentenced souls of aught they crave,
And mar the merriment as you and I
Fare on our long fool’s-errand to the grave.
Iniquity it is; but pass the can.
My lad, no pair of kings our mothers bore;
Our only portion is the estate of man:
We want the moon, but we shall get no more.
If here to-day the cloud of thunder lours
To-morrow it will hie on far behests;
The flesh will grieve on other bones than ours
Soon, and the soul will mourn in other breasts.
The troubles of our proud and angry dust
Are from eternity, and shall not fail.
Bear them we can, and if we can we must.
Shoulder the sky, my lad, and drink your ale.





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