Why Route 1 Needs an Official ‘Ale Trail’


From South Hyattsville to College Park, Route 1 has two things going for it that could be combined into a new attraction: beer and bike trails.

As it happens, several existing and planned venues not far from the Rhode Island Avenue Trolley Trail offer locally produced beer, mead and spirits, making it fairly easy to put together an official “ale trail.”

That’s one of several names for a relatively recent phenomenon where craft beer fans bike from one microbrewery to another. The trails promote tourism and local industry, reduce the risk of drunk driving and help visitors burn off the calories they consume in those pint glasses. Virginia is already heavily promoting several, including some not far from the D.C. metropolitan area. And Loudon County especially has a fantastic ale trail guide. Something like this could easily be created for this area.

Along the Route 1 corridor, an ale trail could begin at the upcoming Maryland Meadworks in South Hyattsville, just off the Northwest Branch Trail. From there, bikers could stop at Pizzeria Paradiso, which has a wide selection of craft beers, then visit the new Streetcar 82 Brewing Co.

Another block north, bikers would have the option of going into Arrow Bicycle to browse the merchandise, going next door to check out the Dutch-style gin and pear brandy at the upcoming Sangfroid Distilling or crossing the street to try the latest microbrew at neighborhood stalwart Franklins. (Or if they need to perk up, make a quick stop at Vigilante Coffee around the corner.)

Just behind Franklins, bikers could then hop on the Trolley Trail, which goes past the Yes! Organic Market at the Shoppes at Arts District Hyattsville, which often features samples of its carefully curated variety of microbrews.

Or they could press on for a stretch to Riverdale Park, where the trail passes by the Town Center Market, which has an impressive array of beer in bottles and on tap with convenient outdoor seating.

From there, it’s a short ride on to Riverdale Park Station, where Silver Spring-based Denizens Brewing Co. is building out a 12,000-square-foot taproom to open at the end of this year. This seems like a natural endpoint (or beginning point if you’d rather bike downhill) but some intrepid bikers could even press on to explore College Park or even head to Berwyn for lunch at Fishnet.

Since the Route 1 Corridor Ale Trail wouldn’t require any new infrastructure (although completing the gap between the Northwest Branch and Trolley trails would help), it wouldn’t really cost much to get the ball rolling.

A group like the Hyattsville Community Development Corporation, Maryland Milestones and/or SoHy Collective could put together a website and even a small map for not much money, and the breweries, markets, distillery and meadery could work together to promote the trail with music and special offerings during a joint “brews and cruise” event on a particular Saturday. Denizens, which has a reputation for organizing community events, would be a natural to take the lead on that as we’ll.

The Route 1 corridor has a lot to offer visitors, even if they’re just stopping in from D.C. An ale trail would be a great way to tie it all together and attract new visitors.

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6 Responses to Why Route 1 Needs an Official ‘Ale Trail’

  1. Great thoughts Ryan.

    Hyattsville Community Development Corporation, Maryland Milestones, and the College Park City-University Partnership along with other partners have already been meeting and have started doing planning for just this type of activity. Cheers!

    Stuart Eisenberg, Hyattsville CDC

  2. Also Ryan,

    Your readers will appreciate that in conjunction with the wayfinding sculptures we’ve created this wayfinding website dedicated to the Trolley Trail:

    http://hycdc.org/the-arts/public-art/artways/rhode-island-avenue-trolley-trail/

    It contains
    • the kiosk mapping
    • more customized trail mapping
    • background information related to the development of the trail and its history
    • destination information about the trail communities

    Cheers again.

  3. Anna says:

    Don’t mean to leave this here but I didn’t know where else to place it. If you go to the Riverdale Park Station website, the tab for ‘Stay’ has been removed. This may be an indication that Hyatt House is no longer coming. It is 2018 and they should’ve started construction for a 2020 opening, right? The developer tells residents so little about what’s happening. Is there a chance someone at the Hyattsville Wire could look into it? Thank you.

  4. The developers say they are still in the design phase for the hotel and do not have any concrete information on the timetable for its opening. It sounds like it may have been a little delayed but it is not canceled. Thanks for the tip!

    — RTB

  5. Anna says:

    Thank you for the update, Ryan!

  6. Drew Carlisle says:

    Pro tip from someone who has already done this: start your trip just off the Metro at The Bagel Place — coffee, breakfast, bathroom and just across from Target if anyone needs anything urgently. Greatly way to showcase Rt.1 from that start point CUZ YOU KNOW YOU DON’T FEEL COMFORTABLE BIKING ON IT! 🙂

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