Samuel Adams Boston Lager (Lager 4.9% ABV) – The one that started it all. Sam has grown into arguably the best known craft brewer in the country and puts out many different beers, and while I will occasionally bring along some of their seasonals (Porch Rocker is great for the summer, Oktoberfest for the fall, and Cherry Chocolate Bock for the winter), Boston Lager is one of my go-tos for camping trips. It goes well for any weather—not too heavy for the summer months, yet robust enough for sitting by the campfire during the winter months—and it doesn’t break the bank like some craft beers do.
Cigar City Florida Cracker (Witbier 5.5% ABV) – Another great year round option, Florida Cracker is a white ale with subtly fruit and spicy hints. It finishes rather dry, but doesn’t need to be sipped. And, for those that have a hard time drinking good craft beer in the wilderness, it comes in a can. So that should help.
New Belgium Fat Tire (American Amber 5.2% ABV) – New Belgium Brewery is very much dedicated to the outdoors. Their brewery in Fort Collins, Colorado is run mostly on wind power, and the name “Fat Tire” is an homage to their founders bicycle as he rode through Europe. So it stands to reason that they would produce a good amber ale to be enjoyed outdoors. This is an excellent amber beer—not too hoppy and spicy, and not too sweet either. There is a deep, malty flavor to this beer that really makes it enjoyable.
Kona Fire Rock Pale Ale (American Pale Ale 6% ABV) – This beer strays from what I typically enjoy. It is quite hoppy and a bit dry, but the citrusy flavor goes well with the roasted malts. It’s a nice change of pace for me if I start getting too bogged down with sweet flavored beers, though it is not too hoppy or dry that it takes a long time to drink.
Samuel Smith Organic Lager (Pale Lager 5% ABV) – The only non-American beer to make this list, it is also the most expensive (a 4 pack will run around $12). This is by far my favorite lager. I love the crispness of it. It has a very refreshing, clean flavor to it that goes very well at the end of a long day of camping and outdoor activities. I find it to be less hoppy and more flavorful than the Boston Lager.
So there are five of my favorite beers for camping. You will notice that none are very high in alcohol by volume, yet none are extremely light either. Each provides unique and complex flavors so that, even though I am outdoors—possibly in the heat of a Florida summer—running after my children, I can still enjoy quality beer that does not need to be sipped or have time dedicated to it in order to enhance its flavor.