Tales from the Trail
For our six-mile urban hike, we started not at some park or trailhead, but at Bottleworks in Wallingford, a beer emporium. One beer down, we cut through a playground and headed toward the Burke-Gilman Trail, but not before a couple rounds at Fremont Brewing Company. Then on to Ballard we walked, poking our heads into two new breweries before sunset. There was still two miles, a hilly climb and three more beer stops to go.
A pub-crawl? Park walk? I didn’t know what to make of Dave Doran and his “urban beer hikes.” But combining a walk through parks and shorelines with pit stops at bars? I found a new best friend.
His sun-and-suds strolls around the Seattle area are chronicled on his entertaining blog, urbanbeerhikes.com, his tipsy adventures a mixture of good stouts, great views and a lot of bathroom breaks.
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His routes are posted for others to follow. They range from six to 25 miles, each plotted with trails, greenbelts and parks, sprinkled with tap rooms and bars at about every mile. There’s a six-mile trot from Sodo to Ballard along the waterfront with seven beer stops. There’s a 21-mile Eastside jaunt from Mercer Island to North Seattle: a walk over Lake Washington via the Interstate 90 bridge, to the Elliott Bay Trail, to parks and pubs in Magnolia, Ballard and Greenwood.
These jaunts aren’t for the IPA-chugging couch potato. The routes usually include hills and steep inclines. “I like to put the meat of the hike at the beginning because it sucks at the end after you’ve had a few,” he said.
A Ballard resident, Doran owns a custom dog-leash-and-collar business and works behind a bar occasionally.
He loves stouts and porters. And he loves the great backyard of the Emerald City. So four years ago, he thought, why not add beer stops on urban hikes?
Instead of driving, he takes the bus home at the end of the hike.
His friends or his wife often join him and his Shiba Inu dog, Link, on the shorter beer walks. But on those 10-to-20 mile hikes, it’s just with his beer buddy, Chris Devlin.
“Chris is the only one who doesn’t think I’m crazy,” he said.
Last summer, the two hiked 10 miles from Carkeek Park to Edmonds, taking a route along Puget Sound. They had to sync their hike with low tide to make sure they could high-tail it out of there before the beach was underwater.
What could go wrong?
Doran had to carry his 24-pound dog across a slippery, rocky shoreline on one stretch. They ran into a nude beach at Peter Point. Tired, they had to scramble up boulders before reaching Marina Beach Park in Edmonds.
The finish line was American Brewing Co., 180 W. Dayton St., where they threw down a couple of beers.
It was a hard hike, he said. But beer makes everything better.
Tan Vinh: 206-515-5656 or firstname.lastname@example.org. On Twitter @tanvinhseattle