Grab A Beer and Get Camping
As Ella Fitzgerald so famously noted years ago, “it’s summertime and the livin’s easy.” Nowhere is the living more easy than on the campground—a place my wife and I like to spend as much time as possible throughout the warmer months. Hell, we love our campground so much, we were married down the road and our guests stayed at the campground.
Camping, like anything else, is successful only with the correct elements working together in harmony. Good company, great food, various camping activities—they all combine for a perfect weekend or week or however long you decide to camp. But, also like anything else, the appropriate selection of beer is tantamount to the success of a camping trip—and maybe moreso than anything else.
While everyone, of course, has their preferences, there are a few guidelines that should be kept to. I wouldn’t, for instance, recommend bringing your best stash of 14% barleywines and Russian imperial stouts—unless you’re camping in the early spring or late fall and the nights are on the cool side. In fact, I would stay away from the thicker, darker beers no matter what the ABV. Something lighter should be in the cards.
When we camp, we do like to bring special bottles to share amongst our fellow campers, but there is always a case or two of “regular” beer to sip on throughout the days and nights while we’re tending the fire, sitting by the lake, or just relaxing at the campsite. I found on our most recent trip that Narragansett’s Lager makes the perfect camping beer; it’s light, low ABV, and has a fruity crispness that perfectly pairs with warm summer days. Bonus in that it comes in can form, which makes transportation that much easier.
If you want to go local, however, there are plenty of great choices. Two that stick out are the light, crisp, and only slightly hoppy Lancaster Kölsch, and Victory’s Summer Love. The latter is a refreshing blond ale that is hoppy at the finish, but not overpoweringly so, with a bit of citrus from the hops as well. Both would belong in any cooler being taken on a camping trip.
Finally, there is one more beer that is now a staple of our camping trips after making it to Philadelphia full-time just this year. Deschutes’ Mirror Pond Pale Ale is a perfect example of the style, well-balanced and light. The fruit flavors blend with the malt and hop bitterness to bring a perfect summertime experience to whichever chair you choose around the fire.
Remember when you’re camping, especially in the middle of the summer, to keep it light and always offset your beer with water. But, in between the waters, be sure your beer is as refreshing as it can be, and don’t bother with the macro yellow fizzy stuff—there are plenty of light options that are still flavorful. But regardless of what you bring, get out of the city at some point this summer or fall and relax away from the television and internet. Start a fire, cook something over the fire, roast marshmallows, be lazy, hang out in the woods and, above all, support craft beer. It will do you a world of good.
What is your favorite beer or beer style to camp with?