Lawrence Kansas run and Free State Brewing

Lawrence Kansas run and Free State Brewing

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The brewery and restaurant. freestatebrewing.com

Kansas has always been a pass through state on Interstate 70 to points west. The University of Kansas is known for their basketball team but few people know much beyond that. I’d heard rumors of Free State Brewing and began stopping by. What a great surprise! The first brewpub in Kansas has excellent beer and food. Always full at dinner time for good reason and plenty of locals come in for several pints each evening. Always good intellectual conversation to be had. “Trails?” I asked. “Out toward Clinton Lake,” I was told at the coffee shop next to the brewery. I found Clinton Lake trails on map quest and the first opportunity I had to run them was last winter. Thirteen degrees and windy, but no excuses! Found a trailhead and wound my way through the woods and along a creek that flows into the Kansas River. I popped out at an obvious dam and when I climbed up the dam incline – yep – big lake! Several other runs have taken me on trips across the Kansas River into town along streets named after the free states. Pleasant side streets and beautiful in the fall. The sign for South Park is in a park that used to be the town center for agricultural trading, the original farmers markets. But on Aug 21, 1863, it was the staging area for Quantrill’s raid on downtown Lawrence during the Civil War. The main drag is now Massachusetts Street and there are lots of restaurants and drinking establishments. People in Kansas do more eating than exercising though I did see a few fellow runners. I ran through town, up the hill to the University and around campus. Plan and overnight in Lawrence for a good experience, a bit of history and enjoy a run through the streets or head out to Clinton Lake. Clinton Lake has an extensive trail system for mountain bikers, hikers and runners. Nice jewel in Kansas. Eat and drink well, run weller! dg

Trails out by Clinton Lake

Source: Garmin Connect
Click for downtown run through streets of Lawrence!

Haysed in Hays!

Haysed in Hays!

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Brewpubs in Kansas are like waterholes in the deserts, few and far between.  However, the brewpubs that are in Kansas are excellent!   Out on the western plains of Kansas at mile marker 159 is the town of Hays, a small university town (Fort Hays State University ) and is usually a gas and pee stop for travelers going east or west on Interstate 70.  But, if you have the time or will be staying overnight, get the hell away from the chain restaurants and treat yourselves to Gella’s Diner and Lb (Liquid Bread) Brewing Co. in old downtown.  Excellent food, good beer and a top notch staff, most of whom are students from the university or recent graduates, are there to serve you in a beautifully restored warehouse building of wood and brick, and offset nicely with the stainless steel of the brew kettles which makes for a high energy upbeat atmosphere.

A more extensive review of Gella’s will be on the main website but today, August 28th, it is time for me to hit the road west to a state with a few more brewpubs, that being Colorado!  But, keep Hays on your beerdar (beer radar?) while crossing Kansas and go see Sam and Patrick behind the bar and engage in good conversation while enjoying your sample platter and pints of flavorful ales.  dg