Biking around Town Vol. 5 – A Trip to Chocolate City Beer

Create Maps or search from 80 million at MapMyRide

Biking around Town is written by Josh Nadas (@dcliterate), a daily bike commuter & avid rider who works for the National Park Service, and lives in Mount Pleasant.

This ride has to be my biggest mistake so far. I went to a brewery, but failed to actually go when I could buy some beer. I’m hoping that you will overlook this lapse in judgement and read on to find out more about the Metropolitan Branch Trail. It’s a great pathway that runs through the central part of DC, and provides an excellent north south route from Union Station all the way to Silver Spring. The trail is not totally complete yet, and this route only represents a portion of the whole trail. My goal was to get you from a relatively central point in town to the Brewery.

2013-03-11 17.54.08

The trail itself is on either a quiet street with a bike lane, or an off street multi-use pathway. There is good signage everywhere, except at the K street underpass where you actually get off the road. Oddly they did not install a nice “left turn here” sign. Going northbound on the trail felt like a slight false flat going upwards, but it was very slight. This is a great pathway for riders of all skill levels, and is definitely a great commuting artery for anyone trying to get between Northeast DC and downtown.

Continues after the jump.

2013-03-11 17.41.02

I started this path on the eastern side of Union Station. Following second street all the way until K street, the path is technically on the sidewalk. You should feel comfortable riding on the street if you like, 2nd Street NE is easy to bike on. The only real difficulty is making the left turn onto the sidewalk on K street and then riding around to the path. As long as you follow the lights, you’ll be able to get where you are going in one traffic cycle or less.

Once you get on the trail, you just need to follow it until it drops you off back on the street. The bike path continues on northbound, but you have arrived at Chocolate City Brewery. As you can see from the pictures, it’s not the prettiest building. Keep in mind it’s not a brewpub like you might be used to, it’s a commercial brewery, and they are only open to the public a couple of hours a week. I wasn’t sure I was in the right place until I looked down at the ground and saw small amounts of brewing grain outside the pub. When I checked in on foursquare, it was clear that I was in the right place. Here’s a pro-tip: arrive early because they do sell out of beer.

I would recommend this ride for all levels of experience, because the bike path is a really easy, fun ride. It was a nice and easy 4.5 miles. There is no need to stop at the brewery to enjoy this ride. You get to see some interesting parts of DC, some cool trail sculptures and art, the back of some buildings, and the metro up close. It’s my opinion that this multi-use path is exactly the type of thing we need to use, enjoy, and keep developing as a DC community.

11 Comment

  • I have been here five times on my bike coming from East side of Capitol Hill…this is a perfect blending of excercise and supporting local business.

    The upstairs space in this cool location must, must become a pub!

  • Hmmm, isn’t this the trail where bikers are regularly attacked. Very smart to recommend it, if so,

  • I have wanted to take this trail, but I am nervous because of the rather high number of assaults that have taken place. I realize it’s a matter of more people doing it, but as a lone female rider weighed down by commuter stuff, I’m not ready to brave it. What is the trail like on a weekday afternoon around 4:30? Anybody riding then? (I would be going one way only, north, since I would be going there to pick up my son and then returning to CH, from where I head to downtown in the a.m.). thanks for any info!

  • Constance, I can’t speak fro 4:30 PM as I get on around 6:20 pm but I don’t think it’s very dangerous at all. I know there were some attacks after it opened, and someone was attacked on the Franklin Street bridge (directly above Choc. City Brew.), but I’ve never felt unsafe (I’m also a man so…grain of salt I guess). I see a number of women regularly using the trail and passed 3 last night on the ride home. Even during winter months when it was dark I always saw women using it. It seems that more people are using it since it’s started to warm up.
    If you don’t feel comfortable, b/c you see a group of people or for any reason really, there are a number of places where you can get off the trail. You can always just turn around as well. I don’t think this trail is any less safe than any other part of the city and it’s certainly safer than riding w/ motor vehicles.

  • Great post! My husband and I have been talking about doing this now that we live in NE. When I originally looked at Google maps, it looked like you may have to get on the street for a little ways at the end of the trail to get to the brewery – is this not the case?

    • @jessindc-The brewery is right at the end of the trail, and I’m pretty sure you don’t even need to go in the street. That street is also very low volume traffic wise and just about everyone going to/from the trail uses it so I think people that use that street know to expect cyclists by now.

    • This is an awesome trip, my wife and I walk it about every other Saturday to get some growlers filled and the reward is free tastings plus whatever food truck they have.

      There have been well-documented issues on the trail but in my experience it really is not dangerous at all. I run it in the early mornings and walk all the time on the weekends without any reservations.

    • @jessindc

      Sorry I meant to respond to you. The path does dump off onto 8th ST NE but conveniently it does so exactly where the brewery is. Can’t miss it.

Comments are closed.