One second, we’re weighing our weekend fun options: an afternoon biking through Wine Country or a laidback tasting of reds and whites. We’re all for the active, outdoorsy lifestyle, but we like it even better when paired with some food and drink fun (always enjoyed responsibly, of course). That’s why we put together six “sip & ride” ideas around the Bay Area so you can do both in the same day. We’ve got something for every kind of budget—from a self-guided brewery hop through Alameda to a once-in-a-lifetime, special occasion experience in Wine Country. Hint: there’s even a helicopter involved.
Sip & Ride: 6 Bay Area Tasting Routes on Two Wheels (Plus, a Very Special Helicopter Tour)
1. Alameda Brewery Hop
Sure, SF has a strong craft beer scene, but ICYMI, Alameda isn’t far behind. Hop on the ferry, bike in tow, and start by heading downtown for a full tour of the island. Pedal over to Park Street and reward yourself with a SARAP! (calamansi pilsner) from Alameda Island Brewing Company, where you can taste a creative selection of Filipino-inspired beers. Then ride back over toward the former naval yards to make a stop at neighboring Almanac Beer Co. and The Rake at Admiral Maltings for bar bites and one last sip of summer with a Peach Sournova on the patio. Your final destination is just a few blocks away at Faction Brewing, where you can catch an incredible sunset over the city skyline while tasting from more than 20 beers on tap, including a light, German-style Berliner Weisse with cara cara oranges.
2. Wine Tasting on Two Wheels
For a Wine Country adventure that’s not, you know, typical Napa, head up towards Healdsburg instead. Start by renting an e-bike (don’t knock it ‘til you’ve tried it) from Getaway Adventures. You can make the trek on a standard two wheels, but trust us when we say it’s worth splurging for the extra boost. You’ll be downright giddy as you zip up and down Dry Creek Valley’s rolling hills using your pedal assist. Expect all the classic vineyard views (we argue the route along West Dry Creek Road has some of the best in the region), plus some redwood forests and bridge crossings along the way. Book your spot for a tasting or two ahead of your trip—most wineries now require advance reservations but some walk-ins are welcome. You can’t go wrong, but we recommend Quivara Vineyards, Martorana Family Winery (where you can even reserve a picnic-style boxed lunch to go with your tasting), and Dry Creek Vineyard for an assortment of styles, from pinot noir and chardonnay to petite syrah and easy-drinking sauvignon blanc. Don’t miss a stop for a snack at the historic Dry Creek General Store as you wind your way back.
3. Spirits Alley Sip & Cycle Event Series
Not only does Alameda have a handful of breweries, but it’s also home to Spirits Alley, where you’ll find about a dozen distilleries and tasting rooms, including our local craft vodka maker, Hangar 1. Earlier this summer, Hangar 1 released a limited-edition collection of bikes, in partnership with Cali-made Solé Bicycles, inspired by its line of refreshing Botanical Seltzers and launched a “Sip & Cycle” event series. Starting at its Alameda distillery, the experience includes a two-mile bike ride along Alameda’s picturesque waterfront on a bespoke Hangar 1 x Solé Bicycle, a private return trip on the Alameda Island trolley and a well-deserved Bloody Mary Bar with brunch bites when you arrive back at the distillery. Fall dates are still TBD but you can keep an eye on Hangar 1’s events signup page here.
4. Bay Trail Bike Ride & Beers in Berkeley
Earn a beer (or two) by biking the San Francisco Bay Trail along the bay from the Gilman District in Berkeley to Richmond’s Marina Bay. The 10-mile roundtrip ride is easygoing and car-free with scenic views the whole way. Once you’ve made it back to West Berkeley, pedal over to Fieldwork Brewing for a Travel & Leisure summer lager to quench your thirst while the weather’s still warm. Then hop back on your bike for a few minutes and make a stop at Gilman Brewing, where we recommend sharing a wood-fired pizza and award-winning farmhouse-style ale. If you’re not done with the fun, check out the charming Westbrae Biergarten and sample from eight rotating beers on tap. Wine more your thing? There’s plenty of that too. Choose from a handful of urban wineries along the same route in Northwest Berkeley: Donkey & Goat, Broc Cellars, Windchaser Wine Co., Vinca Minor, and Lusu Cellars.
5. Farm, Flight & Field Helicopter Tour
If you’re looking for a truly unforgettable Wine Country experience and have very deep pockets, you do not want to miss this primo package from Farmhouse Inn and Paul Hobbs Winery, which takes our “sip & ride” concept to a whole new level of fancy. The two Sonoma County icons have joined forces to offer “Farm, Flight & Field,” an exclusive two-day getaway that includes a stay at the Russian River Valley’s only luxury boutique hotel, a 7-course meal from the Inn’s Michelin-starred restaurant, spa treatments, a private tasting at the internationally renowned Paul Hobbs Winery, and…wait for it, a helicopter tour of the Sonoma Coast with a stop at Paul Hobbs’ remote Goldrock Estate vineyard for a VIP tour and tasting. Plus—because why not make it extra—you’ll also stop over at the Inn at Newport Ranch for a quick cocktail before heading back inland for the night.
6. Pedaling Contra Costa County’s Craft Beer Trail
Head deep into the East Bay to bike the Contra Costa Canal Trail, where you’ll ride along the car-free path’s namesake canal with Mount Diablo looming in the background. The trail is an easygoing 23 miles in total, but we recommend a 12-mile roundtrip scenic stretch passing through parks and open space…with a brewpub pitstop, of course. Concord Taphouse, a popular spot on Concord’s craft beer trail, has 24 rotating options on tap from some of the best breweries in the Pacific Northwest, plus bar bites to fuel up on before your ride back.