Matthew Mioduszewski / MountainBrewSki.com
One of the greatest perks of camping is being able to moderately drink all day long amidst nature -- from that morning pick-me-up, to a refresher during a long hike, to that final tipple as you wind down at the campfire. Best of all, you no longer have to pack a car full of clunky, breakable bottles, since so many beers can now be found in cans. These aluminum mini-kegs are way lighter than glass, and can be crushed when empty to save space. Plus, camping by a lake or river provides cold water to keep a submerged six pack icy cold.
Next time you find yourself planning a camping trip, consider the ten -- mostly low-alcohol -- beers recommended below, perfect for every stage of your adventure.
1. Build Your Home Base
You’ve stuffed the cooler, packed the sleeping bags, and picked up some firewood and a bottle of bug spray. Congrats: you are now officially camping. But before you can truly relax, pitch that tent and crack open a crisp can of Jammer from Sixpoint Brewery in Brooklyn, NY. This German-style wheat ale is brewed with sea salt and coriander, giving it a juicy, refreshing kick that quenches your thirst as you labor to figure out what pole goes where. And at 4% ABV, it won't hit you so hard that it keeps you from setting up camp.
2. Gather Firewood
Each summer, the Louisiana-based Abita Brewing Company comes out with its Seersucker, a full-bodied summer pilsner made with two types of malts that presents a mild, hoppy bitterness. Take a can along as you pick up sticks. For each log you find, throw back a couple of mouth-coating swallows. You can still indulge even if you prefer to chop your wood, since the 4.8% ABV of this brew won't hinder any axe-wielding actions.
3. Lounge By the Lake
One of the nicest things to do while camping is to kick back and take in the scenery. If you choose to park your tent near a lake, great; and if you grab a cold Bareback Blonde from 4 Noses Brewing Company out of Colorado, even better. Each batch of this craft beer is made with fresh raspberries, a bright, fruity, tart ingredient that shows through in a wholesome and pleasing way that screams "vacation!"
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4. Eat Breakfast
If you’re going to open a can of beer to go with breakfast, you’ll want some caffeination, too. That's where the Snowcat Coffee Stout by Colorado's Crazy Mountain Brewing Company comes in. Each can packs a wallop of real coffee thanks to local roasters at the Coda Coffee Company. Not only can you taste the beans in the brew, but feel the affect as well.
Dogfish Head's newest seasonal is called Sea Quench Ale, a mild sour beer that won't pucker your lips but will refresh you as you hike. To brew the beverage, this Delaware brewery has combined sea salt, lime peel, lime juice, and sexy black lime to give it a tart and juicy flavor that inspires one sip after the next. Each can is capped at 4.9% ABV, so you can definitely have more than one -- as long as you balance them out with water during your sweaty jaunt in nature.
6. Bird Watch
Bird watching is all about staying focused and being surprised by what you find -- much like 21st Amendment Brewery's experimental Hell or High Watermelon, a wheat beer laced with real melon. By granting a second fermentation with the aforementioned fruit to a classic American wheat beer, the brewery has created an excellent summer tipple not to be left to the birds.
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7. Cruise Down the River
Whether you’re rafting, kayaking, or tubing down the river, you’ll want a beer that's clean, flavorful and low in alcohol. Breckenridge’s Breck Lager, from Littleton, CO, proves ideal. Boasting a soft, malty aroma and a subtle, dry hop character, this simple, no-nonsense brew is the perfect American lager to sip as you float downstream. Heck, even the retro can looks like it was made for river drinking!
8. Make S'mores
Perhaps Denver Beer Co.’s Graham Cracker Porter sounds like too obvious of a match for roasted marshmallows -- but then you drink it alongside some freshly made s’mores, and realize that no pairing could be better. With rich notes of dark chocolate, a touch of smoke, and a biscuit-like finish, the beer compliments the dessert incredibly well.
9. Tell Campfire Tall Tales
It's been a long and great run, so as the campfire fizzles into embers, celebrate with the Epic Day Double IPA by Eddyline Brewery out of Colorado. It's one of the few high ABV beers you can get in a six-pack of tall-boy cans. With notes of pine and citrus, this complex, full-bodied beer will give you a pleasant buzz as you wind down for a night under the stars.
10. Pack Up
Given that the Colorado-based Oskar Blues helped pioneer the canned beer movement, it's not surprising that they have continued to package some of the best craft brews for outdoor fun. As you pack up your sleeping bags, fold up your tent, and douse the fire, throw back their Pinner, a low-ABV throwback IPA. It's got a little spiced berry kick, a nice underlay of tropical fruit, and that satisfying bite that make IPAs so pleasant to drink.
Pack it in, pack it out!
Note: Breckenridge Brewery is a member of The High End, owned by Anheuser-Busch.