In 2016 we made an announcement: we were researching and writing our first guidebook, Beer Hiking Pacific Northwest. We dropped everything, spent 4 months mostly on the road, and turned in our manuscript in record time. We didn't know details at the time, but we weren't alone in our endeavors. Just a few states away, another first-time author was working with the same publisher to produce a second book in the US beer hiking series: Beer Hiking Colorado.
Based in Colorado at the time, author Yitka Winn also spent a few months researching and writing her guide in 2016. Yitka has since moved to Seattle, so Brandon recently caught up with her over a beer in Bellingham. We discussed the ups and downs of working with an international publisher and swapped stories of research adventures. Though the publication of Beer Hiking Colorado was delayed, it is now available -- just in time for the 2019 holiday season!
Beer Hiking Colorado
Beer Hiking Colorado pairs 50 hiking trails with craft breweries throughout the state. An overview map in the front (p. 21) shows hikes spread around Colorado, from the Denver metro area to Durango and Grand Junction. Having never visited Colorado ourselves, we're admittedly not very familiar with the geography. But that's exactly what this guide is intended for: Beer Hiking Colorado functions jointly as a travel guide and a beer hiking book. For out-of-state travelers like us, it's the perfect introduction to Colorado. And if you already live in the state, there's a good chance that Beer Hiking Colorado will introduce you to a new favorite trail and ale pairing.
As a seasoned writer and editor, Yitka's words are crisp and illustrative. One hike that caught our eye: Timberline Lake in Leadville (p. 96).
"By Colorado standards, the hike is a mellow one, meandering at a gentle grade through lush woods before emerging at the lake," Yitka writes. "The trail is rocky in places, with a number of creek crossings that will almost certainly soak your feet."
As fellow authors, we can appreciate the amount of info packed into those two sentences. This is a relatively easy and scenic hike, but it comes with its fair share of adventure. Sign us up!
The infographic layout of each hike contains necessary trail data, from map info to hike distance, estimated hiking time and elevation gain. Beer Hiking Colorado adds a few data categories that our book didn't include (Season, Dog Friendly, and Low Point / High Point). These are all welcome additions, especially considering how often we get asked if a hike is dog friendly.
Each trail is paired with a recommended beer from a nearby brewery. Yitka provides tasting notes to guide the reader, along with a general brewery description. We noticed that very few of the recommended breweries were familiar to us, and that's a good thing. Why? Because if we're traveling to Colorado, we don't want to know about the large and widely distributed breweries like New Belgium, Odell, and Oskar Blues. We can get those beers here in Washington. We want to know about the little guys -- the community breweries -- and this book appears to offer just that. No big breweries producing over 100,000 barrels per year here.
The Bottom Line
Combining fresh Swiss design with on-the-ground knowledge, Beer Hiking Colorado delivers well-researched information in a fun and eye-catching package. This beautiful book will make the perfect gift for Colorado-curious beer hikers around the globe. We wholeheartedly recommend it for your next Colorado beer hiking adventure!
Designed in Switzerland by Helvetiq, Beer Hiking Colorado is distributed in the US by Velopress. You can find it online at Amazon and various other retailers. Happy trails and ales!
Looking for Beer Hiking Pacific Northwest? Find it here :)