My wife and I recently went on our annual camping trip for her birthday to beautiful Sylvan Lake, a state park just outside of Eagle, Colorado. The fishing was so-so, the bugs horrendous, and the cabin was surprisingly nice. The canned beer we took with us was a mixed bag as well.
Canned beer and camping go together like Calvin and Hobbes, like PB and J, like … well camping and fishing. Growing up, the selection was the typical American varieties; Coors, Schlitz, etc., etc. We thought it was a treat when Heineken was first offered in cans. It was a happy camping day when craft brews started to be canned instead of bottled.
We’ve been bringing Dale’s Pale Ale for our outdoor thirst practically since it came out, definitely since it became widely distributed here in Denver. Dale’s is brewed by Oskar Blues, initially out of Lyons, but with a large scale brewery in Longmont as well. Originally they included a plastic bag in the twelve-pack box to both act as a liner for ice in the box, and to pack the empties and carton into when you were finished; as the can says: pack it in, pack it out. From the start I was drawn to the great taste, especially from a can. At the time there were only a handful of craft brews available in cans, and it became a taste to look forward to every time we camped, and to try Oskar Blues’ other flavors like Old Chub as they were released.
In recent years canned beer has come back into vogue with the innovation of can liners to keep the beer from getting the old metallic taste and because the canning equipment has been coming down in price somewhat. Other local Colorado breweries started to can their line-ups and also become more widely distributed. The first foray outside of the Oskar Blues offerings we tried became one of my favorites: Ska Brewing’s Modus Hopperandi; the brewery itself also became a favorite after visiting it, but more on them in a different post. Modus is an extremely hoppy IPA that let’s you know it’s there with every sip. It has become one of my everyday beers, along with my favorite bottled beer: Avery IPA.
This trip we tried Oskar Blues’ Gubna IPA and Mama’s Yellow Pils, New Belgium’s Ranger IPA, and Upslope’s IPA. While I love the crispness of Dale’s, I found Gubna a little too heavy, tasting more like a hoppy, heavy brown ale to me. Mama’s Yellow Pils was very good, light without being tasteless. The Ranger IPA was the best of the lot, tasting like a true IPA, but the hops not too “flowery.” The Upslope was also a little too heavy for my taste, but a good beer overall.
So there have it, more options the next time you go camping, or are enjoying the outdoors in a setting not conducive to bottles.
By the way, the view above is from one of our previous trips to Marble, not Sylvan Lake. We both forgot to bring our cameras and regretted it the whole time up there.
Until next time, as always, stay thirsty my friends.