When you hear "hiking and beer," you're probably thinking about hitting a trail in the foothills and stopping by a brewery after.
When Liz Thomas thinks hiking and beer, she's a bit more ambitious. She's hiked the Pacific Crest Trail, the Continental Divide Trail. and the Appalachian Trail, and this week, she's hiking the city of Denver, hitting no less than 65 breweries here in eight days.
Thomas first set out to hit every brewery back in 2013, as a New Year's resolution, but she fell short.
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“It got to this point where there were so many breweries in Denver that I was like, as a long-distance hiker, the only way I’m going to be able to go to all these breweries is to dedicate a week and walk all of them," she says.
Thomas has done themed hikes before, like hitting every city's public staircase, but this extended bar crawl is a first. She said it seemed like the best way to mix two of her favorite things: hiking and beer.
"I love Denver and being able to see it all on foot, and going to all these neighborhoods on foot is really cool for me. Definitely, I wanted to go to all the breweries, so being able to do that finally is important. Especially, I have people flying in from Portland, from L.A., and to be able to show off this city to my friends, and all the awesome things including the beer is really, really fun for me," Thomas says.
Considering alcohol is involved, she thinks this hike is her hardest yet in some ways, and she's been on plenty of hikes. In fact, she's the vice president of the American Long Distance Hiking Association - West. She calls this adventure the "Denver Urban Brew Thru."
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Her favorite, as of Day Two, is Crooked Stave, but she has dozens more to go, assuming her body can power through. Her friends have assigned a "designated hiker" for each day, meaning one responsible adult ensures the group only spends about 20 minutes at each brewery, they stick to flights without any secret "side pints," the group stays single-file and crosses the street at crosswalks, and makes sure they all wear reflective vests at night.
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“People realize how important it is to be able to walk in Denver… if you’re drinking, going from brewery to brewery, you really should not be driving, so I really like the idea of other people enjoying Denver’s breweries while walking, and having the infrastructure in the city to support that," Thomas says.
Her biggest challenge so far has been to hit each brewery during that particular business' open hours.
We'll check back in with Liz at the end of the week to see how she did. #HeyNext