If absence makes the heart grow fonder, then summer is Romeo to our winter Juliet. Like the star-crossed lovers, we eagerly await the opportunity to progress our romance. However, we’re talking about our love of summer activities like hiking, biking, rafting, kayaking, climbing, etc., which are a bit less lethal than feuding families.
When one partakes in this plethora of outdoor opportunities, one may develop a thirst—a thirst that cannot be quenched by water alone. Hydration is important, but after you’ve satisfied that thirst, pay attention to your other thirst—the one that hits after you’ve climbed a 14er, tackled that gnarly bit of singletrack and mastered an ender in your kayak. It’s the thirst that makes you declare, “It’s beer-thirty.”
To satisfy this thirst, turn to the can. Gone are the days of a metallic aftertaste (the latest versions have super-fancy protective coating to help avoid this); taste is preserved due to superior sealing techniques and the brew is less likely spoil from UV light or air, which can happen with glass bottles.
Plus, it’s easier to bungee a six-pack of cans to your raft on the river and aluminum is lighter and easier to pack in—and out. These are things that you’ll be thinking about.
To get your taste buds revved up for that next weekend adventure, here are some of the best canned beers for your outdoor mountain activities.
1. Fly Fishing: Trout Slayer Wheat Ale
Big Sky Brewing, Montana
A filtered wheat ale, this smooth drinking beer is perfect for a float or a wade. A more American interpretation of a wheat beer, Trout Slayer is refreshing and light without some of the heaviness that you might find in European versions. Tie your flies and cast with impunity.
2. Climbing: Thai Style White IPA
Upslope Brewing, Colorado
A good climbing session begins with tying good knots. After tying your knots, “Thai” one on with Upslope’s summer seasonal, the Thai Style White IPA. Like finding a new solution for a challenging problem, this beer is one-of-a-kind, brewed using Belgian Wit yeast but hopped like an American IPA and infused with seven spices.
3. Hiking: Day Hike
Two Beers Brewing Company, Washington
Crisp like the summer morning on which you’ll set out to conquer that 14er (14,000 feet or 1400 feet, whichever is closest), this session ale has hints of lemon and grass on the palate. Well-balanced and refreshing, this beer is perfect for the trailhead, mid-way or at the summit of your chosen destination. Pop a top often.
4. Rafting: Boat Beer
Carton Brewing, New Jersey
Once the rapids are over, you need a beverage that is crisp and refreshing yet complex enough to keep you dipping back into the cooler for another. Boat Beer is an everyday drinking IPA that delivers the smack of grapefruit that you expect, with straw and moss notes that’ll invigorate you through the calmest waters.
5. Camping: Happy Camper IPA
Santa Fe Brewing Company, New Mexico
Piney, like the copse of trees in which you choose to set up camp, the Happy Camper is just that—earthy and woody, perfect for a backpacking expedition or a car-camping jaunt. A well-balanced IPA, this brew balances, like a slack line at your campsite, between full-bodied maltiness and hoppy spice.
6. Road Biking: Bitter Biker IPA
Spiteful Brewing, Illinois
Warning: do not imbibe before your big road ride. Instead, choose this double IPA after the ride, to soothe your sore muscles and rail against the bastards who got too close on the highway. Brewed for fearless cyclists in Chicago, this bitter, biting brew packs a big punch—perfect for those who dare to wear spandex and conquer high mountain passes.
7. Mountain Biking: Crank Yanker IPA
Eddyline Brewing, Colorado
After tackling a fresh bunch of single track, you want something complex, yet easy to drink when you’re discussing your ride with your buddies. An easy-to-drink IPA, Crank Yanker rides a fine line between fruit flavors and hoppy bitterness, making for one sweet ride.
8. Rec League Teams: RecreationAle
Terrapin Beer Company, Georgia
Whether it’s softball, volleyball or dodge ball, summer is the season for rec leagues. It’s impossible to compete without a little liquid refreshment, so eschew the usual brew for an American Pale Ale that is sessionable and flavorful.
9. Surfing: Soul Style IPA
Green Flash Brewing, California
Surfing in the mountains is an anomaly, so it deserves an anomalous beer in this list. Soul Style IPA is actually a bottle from Green Flash Brewing, but it’s worth including because it’s a single IPA from a brewery that is famous for its double and triple IPAs. Just like the wave parks in rivers in high country, this is a laid-back, not-your-average brew that creates a perfect ride after a session in the mountains.
Gone are the days of canned beers playing second fiddle to its bottled brethren. If you haven’t popped a top lately, grab a can and see what all of the fuss is about. For more canned beer festivities, check out a festival, like American-Can in Arizona, Burning Can in Colorado and North Carolina or CANFEST in Nevada.