Every outdoor activity has its own style, its own following, it’s own unique flavor. And so does beer — coincidence? We think not.
There are plenty of occasions to celebrate with a cold one: St. Patrick’s Day, New Years, Thanksgiving, the vernal equinox, graduation (from college), Flag Day, breakfast — the list goes on.
And we know many of you will be raising your glass — er, can — in the great outdoors. So we want to help you choose the right brew. Here’s our list of which beer goes with each outdoor sport.
Hiking / Camping: Session IPA
Basic, but enjoyable, hiking and camping are good intros to the outdoors. Similarly, a low-alcohol Session-IPA is a good intro into serious beer drinking. Both are great to enjoy (almost) all day long, and neither will leave you too wiped out the next morning. As with both, you should expect to graduate to more formidable offerings if you partake regularly.
Road Cycling: Stout
No, stouts do not go well with a spirited road ride. If you combined the two, this beer would probably be called a “Squirt” not a “Stout.”
No, this heavy brew pairs with road cycling because like road cyclists, this beer is serious. To call yourself a stout drinker or serious cyclist, you have to do a lot of it, and it’s not easy. Both require the kind of dedication and sacrifice that turn normal people into weirdos. Plus, you’re likely to start hanging out with a bunch of other people who do it and join some club that takes you further down the rabbit hole.
MTB: Imperial Stout
Go big or go home. Obviously, road biking and mountain biking are related, so too are their beers. But they are also quite different. An Imperial ups the ante on the Stout the same way switchbacks, dirt jumps, and slick rock cliffs trump miles on asphalt.
Still, these also have their downsides. Like shredding singletrack and rocky downhill, the right amount of an Imperial can quickly turn into way too much for the body handle. Before you know it, you can find yourself with concussion symptoms, a backache, and deep gash you don’t remember getting.
Rock Climbing: Shandy
Let’s face it: You’re an oddball. And you have to be to scale a rock face hundreds — or thousands — of feet into the air. Rock climbing is an outlier outdoor activity; it’s less competitive than most sporting activities, and the mindset is all different. So many things have to go right to keep everything from going horribly wrong.
The same is true with a Shandy. I mean c’mon, you’re mixing beer with fruity soda. THAT’S AS CRAZY AS FREE-SOLOING! But somehow, when done right, it doesn’t suck. In fact, it turns out remarkable and unlike anything else. Nothing feels quite like a shandy, and nothing tastes quite like a send… or something like that.
Trail Running: Extra Pale Ale
Light, easy, and just wild enough to be its own thing. Anyone can go for a trot through the woods, just like anybody can enjoy an EPA. Done right, it’s refreshing and I dare say good for you. But too much will turn your stomach inside out and leave you huddled in some bushes reassuring passersby, “No, I’m good. Everything’s fine. It’s just a cramp.”
Whitewater Kayaking: Belgian
You’re eccentric and so’s your beer. Kayaking sets a whole new stage, putting you into rushing river torrents. This is certainly not for everybody. Similarly, the bumble-gummy yeast that makes Belgian beers so distinctive turns many folks away.
But for those who get the hang of it, whitewater and Belgian beer both provide a high that nothing else can. Of course, both can also leave you with a frothing mouthful of something that tastes really weird.
Ah, the good old days. Back before color TVs or home-brew kits, there were canoe trips and simple lager beer. Sure, kayaks and ales predate both canoes and lagers by thousands of years, but the latter have largely stayed the same since they hit the scene. And canoes and lagers both harken back to a simpler time.
Yet, for those who refuse to get with the 21st — or even 20th — century, canoeing and lager beer are a tried-and-true mainstay for a simple, lazy afternoon.
You don’t get any beer. Beer is for people who know how to have fun, even if they go a little overboard once in a while. You have no boundaries and you’re way too intense. Geez, settle down, would ya? Like whiskey, you’re high-maintenance, very particular, and nothing about you is cheap.
The contents of your gear garage and liquor cabinet could pay off my student debt. If, like me, you’re unfamiliar with how to partake in these exploits, then you should just stick with what you know. Because both will land you in a world of pain. And leave you penniless and alone.