Brew, Bike, and Beer: Mill Valley

Alpine Lake

As we have so many great coffee shops, craft breweries, and bike rides here in the Bay Area and Northern California in general, I have decided to start a new series called Brew, Bike, and Beer. The goal is to highlight rides that start at a coffee shop, as you obviously need to caffeinate before you set out on your bike, and end at a brewery—with lots of great scenery in between. What could be better than that?

The Brew, Bike, and Beer series is both a great excuse for me to explore more on my bike—and not just in California—as well as a way to offer up some fun ride suggestions for anyone visiting the area. First up is my hometown of Mill Valley.

Start: Equator Coffee (244 Shoreline Hwy, Mill Valley, CA 94941)

A small coffee bar with a laid back, Southern California surf vibe, Equator is the place to see and be seen most weekend mornings in Mill Valley. Grab a double espresso and cronut along with dozens of your lycra clad brethren. With two locations now in Mill Valley, you can either begin your ride here on Shoreline, or head downtown to the Miller Ave. location. Equator serves a wide-variety of coffee, from classic blends to seasonal single-origin roasts, as well as a simple list of espresso based drinks (no Frappuccinos here). Tea drinkers don’t fret—you will find a variety of loose leaf teas on offer as well. The food menu features sweet and savory options from Beth’s Community Kitchen along with other locally sourced products including gluten-free and vegan treats from Flour Craft Bakery.

alpine dam loop

Ride: Alpine Dam Loop

One of the most popular rides around Mill Valley is the Alpine Dam Loop. Pedal through the quaint towns of Ross, San Anselmo, and Fairfax, before climbing up Bolinas-Fairfax Road and descending down to the picturesque Alpine Lake. From here, a slow, steady, and often steep climb brings you to Ridgecrest Boulevard where you will ride the ridge along the famous “Seven Sisters” with killer views down to Stinson Beach and out across the Pacific. The more energetic in the bunch can add on a summit of Mt. Tam by riding up to East Peak, while the rest simply enjoy the endless descent back down to Mill Valley for that well deserved beer.

You can download the GPX file or print the cue sheet for the ride over on Strava.

Finish: Mill Valley Beerworks (173 Throckmorton Ave, Mill Valley CA 94941).

A small brewery and restaurant located in downtown Mill Valley, the Beerworks will satisfy those who appreciate well crafted beer. MVB offers up to 15 unique styles on draft, both from the brewery itself as well as imports from Germany, Belgium, and other spots across the country. You will also find around 100 different beers by the bottle. The food is just as amazing as the beer, with a rotating menu made from locally sourced ingredients.

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