You have finally reached your campsite after hiking 20 miles over rugged terrain with all of your gear on your back. A heavy band of sweat clings to your head as you finally drop your pack and begin to set up your shelter. Once you’ve eaten and settled in for the night, you reach into your pack and pull out a beer. Beer might not be as essential as food, water, shelter or clothing, but, in your modest camp, it’s nothing short of a luxury.
Since the most important criterion of a backpacking beer is portability, every beer on this list will be canned. Cans are much lighter than glass and don’t require you to pack a bottle-opener. You also do not run the risk of a can breaking and leaving dangerous shards all over the campsite. Last but not least, aluminum conducts heat faster than glass, which means they’ll get cold faster when you stick them in a creek. There are many to choose from, but, if you ask me, these are the best summer backpacking beers.
Two words in the beer world that are instantly recognizable: Grapefruit Sculpin. Alex Tweet, head brewer and co-founder of Fieldwork Brewing Co in Berkeley, CA, decided to “take that idea in a different, but complementary direction” then the original Grapefruit Sculpin he created for Ballast Point. The different, but complementary direction resulted in Fieldwork’s Sea Farmer Sea Salt Grapefruit IPA (say that 10 times fast!). This grapefruit IPA is absolutely delicious and refreshing, making Sea Farmer the quintessential summertime fruit IPA.
Golden Road Brewery is named as a tribute to the Grateful Dead’s song The Golden Road (To Unlimited Devotion.” If they had a motto, I believe they would take inspiration from a quote by the great Jerry Garcia said: “our strong suit is what we do…” Golden Road opened their newest tasting location in the wonderfully eclectic and diverse Grand Central Market. Join them for a pint and a pierogi, and you will certainly know that their strong suit is everything they do.
I found myself in Los Angeles on a rainy Friday afternoon and I was lucky enough to experience the sights, sounds and experience of Golden Road and their newest location in the Grand Central Market.
Fieldwork Brewing is a Berkeley-based brewery committed to quality and freshness, that has taken the Bay Area by storm. Their beers are some of the most aromatic and balanced hoppy beers that you will ever have. The vast beer array of beers Fieldwork offers are truly unique and forever changing. The draft list may be completely different a week later.
Having been open for a year and exponentially growing in popularity, Fieldwork Brewing has reason to celebrate for three days. Co-founder and head brewer Alex Tweet stated, “in my eyes the anniversary is to celebrate our customers. We honest to god have the best customers I have ever seen in this industry, and the anniversary is hopefully going to be a fun weekend for them to celebrate what they helped build. If it wasn’t for them we wouldn’t be in business.”
Last summer was my introduction to the gose style, and my first one was Anderson Valley’s Blood Orange Gose (also a beer I highly recommend). I immediately became a fan, and started seeking out others in the gose style. That soon led me to another from Anderson Valley, the Briney Melon Gose. At the time, it was only available in bombers, but this year they started distributing it in six-pack cans… and we’re all better off because of it. With a fun, easy-drinking summer beer like this, cans that you can throw in a cooler and take to a barbecue to share with friends are the only way to go.
Tucked away in a historic part of Oakland, Ale Industries carefully crafts their wonderfully fun and inventive beers. The brewery, which happens to be the oldest and largest Oakland has to offer, has a taproom named: the Jingletown Jazz Room. If the Jazz Room had a day job, it would obviously be a brewery, but it does have another occupation. On the second Friday of every month, the Jingletown Jazz Room really lets its hair down and hosts local artists and musicians.
Seattle, one of the fastest growing US cities, is a mixture of business, wilderness, food, music, coffee, and – of course – beer. Its tenants include everyone from your pink-haired neighbor that works at a boutique featuring solely local arts and crafts, to the posh fashionista that is able to strut her stuff at Nordstrom corporate, to the plaid-donning Amazonian, who types code all week with the goal of treating himself to a trip into the mountains come the weekend. There is something here for everyone, which is why so many people, cut from so many cloths, have found their way to the Emerald City. Seattle, at its core, is an explosion of culture, curiosity and adventure that has encouraged locals to continue sink their roots in deeper. It’s also encouraged transplants to plant new ones.
Bison Brewing’s Organic Chocolate is one of my favorite stouts, and has been for the last few years or so. It is rich in flavor without being heavy in the body, and low enough in alcohol to be sessionable. This is definitely NOT a sweet stout. (If sweet is your thing, check out Samuel Smith’s Organic Chocolate stout.) Brewed with Peruvian cocoa and roasted barley, this beer boasts big coffee and dark chocolate flavors.