As Memorial Day kicks off the un-official start of summer, we’ve tapped Caroline Macdonell, Certified Cicerone®, to give us a roundup of the best camping beers – cheers!
Days are getting longer, the weather is getting warmer, and at DrinkTanks, we’re getting thirstier. Thirstier for summer adventures!
That looks like a lot of different things to the DrinkTanks team here in Bend, Oregon, and we believe that all adventures big and small deserve celebrating. For some, it’s racing a mountain bike around hairpin turns with their buds. For others, it’s grabbing their Craft Growler to fill it up with the exclusive new brew from one of the 20+ local breweries in town. And for me, it’s attempting to become every dog’s best friend at the backyard barbecue. That, or convincing my friends’ kids to laugh at my jokes. You can guess which one is less challenging.
But we’re all big fans of summer’s most notorious outdoor adventure — camping! I teamed up with my fellow Certified Cicerone® Ryan Boyle to share some of our team’s favorite beers to pair with your next camping adventure.
There’s a little something for everyone on our list, even my favorite furry pals. Take a read, throw a six-pack or a growler in the cooler for your next trip, and remember…
Life is an adventure. Drink it up.
BEST POST HIKE BEER
ABV: 5.6% IBU: 55
You’re back from that day hike that took a wrong turn to 10 miles. Your stomach is noticeably growling. Your hydration levels tell you water would be wise, but you’ve gotta hop into the camp kitchen to start dinner. Sure, a big IPA sounds divine and will catapult you to some interesting culinary techniques, but may we suggest the more approachable Pale Ale style? Georgetown’s Johnny Utah pours a unique color compared to other Pales, mixing the hue of a straightforward straw with the bright rind of a navel orange. The nose and flavor match to reinforce the presence of grapefruit and pine from this single-hopped Citra showcase. The light-medium body and subtle touch of malt flavor deliver a clean, crisp sip every time. Let the citrus refresh you and the pine remind you of your recent journey to this hard-earned pint.
BEST ALL-DAY BEER
ABV: 5.2% IBU: 35
If your version of camping involves a constant koozie companion but you’re looking to up your game beyond your usual 30-pack, Crux Pilz is the perfect level up. This classic Pilsner is an easy sipper at only 5.2% ABV, and it’s light enough that it won’t slow down your cornhole game. Pilz pours a clear golden color with the classic white Pilsner head. The nose carries a slight spiciness with a more noticeable floral hop aroma and a hint of lemon. The biscuity malt nose is perceptible but stands out more in flavor as it carries you through the clean, crisp mouthfeel you expect from this style. The note of lemon re-enters on the finish to round out each refreshing sip. Perfect for camping or any long afternoon, Crux Pilz is made to join your regular summer rotation.
Bonus! You can snag a Crux branded growler for your fill!
BEST CAMPFIRE BEER
ABV: 5.3% IBU: 30
No matter your age, campfires mean one thing — s’mores. And if you think the chocolate-marshmallow-graham cracker combo is enough, I’m telling you now that you haven’t even begun to live. Treat yourself to the little-known, refined delicacy known as “Peanut Butter”. Belching Beaver’s Peanut Butter Milk Stout is the perfect way to bring in that rich, nutty flavor without the melty mess. This indulgent stout pours clean and dark as expected and immediately radiates mouth-watering aromas of peanut butter. The first sip drenches your taste buds in chocolate, coffee, and peanut butter and then rolls into a smooth, silky finish perfect for washing down that last bite of s’more. Or if you’re too full for a s’more, we suggest enjoying this beer as a “dessert” pint on its own.
BEST “BEER” FOR DOGS
Reviewed by LuLu Macdonell
ABV: 0% IBU: Less than that pinecone near the tent
Coming in a wide variety of flavors made from real beef, chicken, and pork, Bowser Beer is my go-to treat when knocking over the cooler with relentless passion. It’s a fair compromise to the other human treats in there since it’s made with 100% USA-sourced, human-grade ingredients. And no, as I’ve learned, that does not mean it is made out of our beloved humans. But it does mean they could drink it, too, so be sure to dig a good hole to hide your extra bottles in. I suggest somewhere in the direct path to the bathroom and that it be dug at night when no one is looking. Remember that if your humans forget to pack your Bowser Beer, it’s acceptable to steal a few hot dogs from the grill.