I just wrapped up my journey biking down the Katy Trail in Missouri, a converted rail line that is the longest (and in some ways the easiest) of its type. It goes most of the way across the state, but I only did a 105-mile stretch of it over a few days, based on where I could catch an Amtrak train at the end.
The trail was softer than usual because of previous rains for all but my last day of pedaling and I was carrying a backpack, so I was working off a serious number of calories. I used that as an excuse to take full advantage of the brewpubs located in every town where I spent the night. Yes indeed, if you think biking and beer go together like sofas and TVs, this is the trail for you.
Starting in St. Charles, Trailhead Brewing Company serves up six different selections, including one seasonal in the mix. The Missouri Brown might sound like the engorged river I was riding along each day, but it’s yummy. This is a great little historic town to spend some time in anyway, the place where Lewis & Clark started their journey westward.
Heading west yourself, near the end of your first day you’ll hit the Augusta Brewing Company, located just a few steps from the Katy Trail in Augusta. They actually brew their beer in another town and ship it over here, but no matter because they have a great beer garden atmosphere where you can hang out in the sun or shade and sip one of five regular beers, a few rotating brews, or even a homemade root beer.
Washington, near the trail stop of Dutzow eight miles later is where most people stay if they don’t crash in Augusta. You have to catch a shuttle from your B&B across the narrow 1930s bridge. Unfortunately, no brewpub here, but the local bars serve that great beer from St. Louis—no, not Bud, Schlafly.
In the great little town of Hermann, founded by winemaking German immigrants, there are more than 60 bed and breakfasts you can choose from. Down by the river, stumbling distance from the Amtrak station, is Tin Mill Brewing Company, where you can sample their various brews made according to the 1516 German purity law and Krausening. Their pilsner will transport you to Europe and the Heifweizen is hands down the most flavorful one I’ve had outside of Portland. If you get into town too late to check them out, walk a block to the Concert Hall bar where they have the brews on tap.
Jefferson City is the state capital and is a good starting or ending point since it has an Amtrak station. (The next one is waaayyy down the trail in Sedalia—see Katy Trail Amtrak info here.) It’s home to an inventive brewpub called Prison Brews. The name comes from its location two blocks from the old state penitentiary and they’ve gone all the way with the theme, putting the bar behind bars. The beers made on site are serious stuff though, including a few that will please dedicated hopheads, plus there’s a woodburning pizza. Yummy all around.
This biking trail is a great way to see some interesting Missouri River towns instead of the strip malls you’ll see all day from the interstate highways. If you prefer wine over beer, you’ll find even more choices: this trail runs through the heart of Missouri wine country.
For more on places and attractions in the state, see the Visit Missouri site.