Top Ten Craft Beers And The Best Ways To Drink Them Outside
Beer is tasty and the outdoors are wonderful. It's time to dial up your craft brewery game and match it with an outdoor activity. If you didn't know already, Moosejaw is based in the realm of Michigan, so I've gathered up 10 selections from The Great Lakes State and paired them with the outdoors. Grab a few friends, some family, your lover or go it alone if you wish, and get outside with a cold drink. 21 and up.
As the warm weather hits, be sure to find a pair of trees and set up your hammock. Hammocking is hard work: locating the best trees, wrapping straps around them, climbing into said hammock. Just kidding, hammocking is incredibly easy and once you're stretched out you can read, nap, but most importantly drink a beer. The Amber Cream Ale by Lansing Brewing Company is an excellent choice to hammock with as it's plenty light but still loaded with flavor with a smooth finish. This means you can grab one, two, or set up the cooler underneath your hammock and go for it. Since the ABV is pretty low at 5.2% you won't be tanked when someone finally calls you to dinner. Maybe.
Kayaking & SUP-ing
It's time to get more involved with the outdoors. Napping only gets you so far, so you've gotta find a boat and some water for this one. Doesn't matter what type of floating vessel, a SUP, canoe or kayak, rental or owned, just make sure it's motor-free. Paddle around your favorite lake or river, maybe an ocean and enjoy the sweet serenity of some well-deserved peace and quiet. Get lost in it. Now is the moment where you crack a Ellison Crescent Fresh IPA and let your worries dissipate. Incredibly hoppy to dance with your taste buds, but just 6.4% ABV so you can still figure out where the heck you are on the water and get back home. It's totally going to take several more hours, so enjoy the American IPA and maybe a few more.
Clean, crystal clear waters of the Great Lakes, pristine pools below secluded waterfalls, and cloistered ocean coves all deserve to be swam. Take a running leap if you can and submerge yourself into the water, swimming away the afternoon. Barely 10 seconds in, you realize that beautiful body of water is somehow an ice cube, even though you didn't see any icebergs. Rest assured, your cooler is on shore and inside of it waiting is a Brewery Vivant Farm Hand. This farmhouse ale has 5.5% ABV but please note alcohol doesn't actually warm you up, even though it may feel like it. Wrap yourself in a towel and while you shiver, sip your way into this light bodied ale. The liquid goodness flows slightly sweet and a little tart over the tongue. Revel in the tastiness and let the sun warm you, reminding you nature is not always so mean.
I hear you, city dweller. It's okay to like being outside but not go super far into the woods. Relax and find yourself a seat, be it in your own backyard or a park bench, it's time to watch the sunset. A Short's Soft Parade is the fruity ale refresher to do it by. Available in cans or bottles, slip it into the coolest koozie you can find, or go high-class and find a brown paper bag. The blend of berries makes your tongue do a little dance while a 7.5% ABV starts the party. Don't forget your favorite pair of shades.
You've been hearing about this mountain bike trail from your buddy for weeks and you've finally got a free weekend to check it out. The trail definitely has the miles to put you through the paces, so I recommend loading up your pack with water, snacks, and a Blackrocks Brewery Grand Rabbits at the bottom. Twists, turns, jumps, and plenty of mud mixed in. Halfway through or when you've finally made it back to your car, you remember the dry hopped cream ale you stashed away. A few taps at the top before cracking it open isn’t going to do anything, it will definitely foam up and out of the can after that adventurous ride. Still gonna be 5.5% ABV, regardless of the foam content. Put that one back in the cooler at the car and grab another or just risk it. The bevvie goes down easy, and it's packed with enough flavor to keep that smile on your face. This golden beer proves there can be more to an easy drinking beverage so pack a cooler of these for a few end-of-ride drinks.
Family camping can take some serious patience. Whether you've got a big ol' RV or a 6 person tent, it takes some skills to get everyone together, set up camp and appreciate the time outside. Breakfast made fireside is where the real fun begins. Everyone is still sleeping or just starting to rise and you've got the eggs, bacon, and potatoes going. Treat yourself to a Bean Flicker, an offering from Odd Side Ales, during this quiet time that is yours to enjoy alone (mostly). A bird whistles, bacon sizzles and the creamy, smooth taste of a blonde ale flows over your tongue. Plenty of coffee flavor in this one, so it can't go wrong with your meal. It's vacation, drink when you want and feel free to finish it off before waking the kids. At just 4.5% ABV, you’ll be alright to get through the day after an early morning starter.
Look at you, getting all excited for your trail run. Nothing wrong with a little exercise, working on general health, perhaps tuning up your beach bod. Trail runs are awesome as can be, greenery surrounding you, sweat dripping, the burley treads on your outsoles tearing up the dirt pathways. How far did you make it, honestly? A mile? Half? I know you're out of shape, that's ok, turn around, back to the trailhead and your car where ice cold Two Hearted Ale awaits. There is no shame when this beer is hanging around, Bell’s Brewing has done the world a solid with this 7% ABV, American-Style IPA. The bitter-meets-sweet flavor changes on your tongue as you drink away that pitiful run in a blend of pine, citrus and malt. You'll get 'em next time. In the meantime, take a sip, wipe your brow, and be proud you got out there at all.
Hiking, an outdoor classic. Plan a week on the trail or just a weekend. Pile on the miles if you're looking to make it back to the trailhead before Monday. Without warning, legs begin to burn and mile 8 is coming up fast on your 16 mile plan. If you planned properly however, you've ferreted away a delicious treat in the depths of your 50L pack. Backwoods Bastard, a bourbon barrel-aged scotch ale doesn't need to be delivered ice cold like those lawnmower water-beers. It’s smooth, oaky, smoky and sweet. You're all grown up and this liquid sweet treat will squash any s'mores cravings you may have while hiking. Hopefully you prefer to hike all your miles before indulging, as this is a whopping 11% ABV. Whether it's pure beauty or extreme tiredness, watch the sun fall past the mountains or disappear into the water with a taste of Backwoods Bastard on your lips. Relax, take it all in.
Campfire person. You know who you are, 'cause you're the one that starts thinking about the evening campfire around noon. You abandon a game of ladderball to pick up the axe and chop some wood. Fast forward and it's 6pm, at least 3-4 hours until darkness falls, and you've already begun building the beacon of Gondor. As the sun finally sets, grab a can or even pour a Perrin Black Ale, then set to lighting the kindling you've tenderly set in the middle of your fire pit. Slide into a chair and sip the semi-sweet chocolate and coffee flavors of this dark ale that drinks so easy. Pair it with a s'more if you're so inclined, it isn’t too heavy with a 5.8% ABV. As you watch your hard work burn away, stoking it as necessary, the Black Ale stands strong against your taste buds until the last drop.
Embracing nature can be hard when you're too busy to head north for the weekend. It's okay, towns have parks, you can still be nature-y. Just get your butt to the park with some friends and a flying-disc. No friends? Grab Grandpa and lug his bocce set along. Tame your mad rolling skills by putting an Old Nation M-43 in your non-throwing hand. Give your Gramps a chance at winning with this 6.8% ABV and your taste buds a balanced ride from 4 different types of hops and hazy goodness. Call it a New England IPA, a hazy, a juicy, whatever. Straight from the can or poured into a fancy plastic cup, you'll do yourself and those lawn games right.