Pairing fancy wines with fancy foods is old hat now, by this point. Everyone and their mother can tell you just what dried meat to munch while sipping on that freshly popped Sauvignon Blanc. But did you know beer pairing is a thing, too? For example, try a curry with your IPA, raspberry cheesecake with that porter, and that freshly retrieved dumpster pizza with that luke-warm can of PBR. Voila! Match made in beer heaven. While I am not of the foodie type, I am of the outdoorsy type, so to help out my other outdoorsy folks, I’ve compiled a list of some of the best beer pairings for most of the outdoor activities you might find yourself getting into. So give it a look, give them a try, and let me know what you think!
Trail running/ trekking: Long Trail Ramble Kölschbier — This seasonal brew goes “off the beaten path” of other Kölschbiers by introducing lemon rinds and peppercorns into the brewing process, giving this beer a bright, mildly spicy taste. Bright as a field of wildflowers, with the slight sting of freshly trod-upon fire ant mound. Pairs well with a picnic basket.
Yoga: Dogfish Head Namaste Witbier — The beer drinker in me honors the beer drinker in you. A light, summery Witbier with flavors of orange, lemongrass and a hint of coriander. The taste is dry, unlike your yoga mat after that intense Bikram session. Use a towel next time.
Bouldering: 21st Amendment Dub Step Imperial IPA —Dub Step and bouldering go hand in hand like beer and increasingly ludicrous feats of strength. With citrus, malt, caramel and hoppy flavors, this beer barrages you with just as many notes as its namesake. If you’re not overwhelmed by the overload, give it a sip during your next crush-fest at your local boulder field. Head’s up: at 10.2% ABV, just remember there’s a fine line between sending, and getting sent to the hospital, so don’t do anything stupid, kay?
Sport Climbing: Throwback Brewing Spicy Bohemian Pilsner — A seasonal brew based in NH, but will occasionally road-trip outside of New England. Dry-hopped and aromatic, you’ll know this beer by the smell. The taste is mild at first taste, but jalapeños give it a spicy aftertaste that builds with every sip. Halfway through and you’re sweating like you did on that 25-foot runout at Smith Rocks. It’s sustained to the finish, too, clip the chains on this brew and feel the burn!
Trad Climbing: Rocky River Punch N’ The Nuts American Amber Ale — An old school amber with a little bit of nuttiness — peanuts, that it. A peanut butter beer is a pretty cool thing to tell your friends you’ve tried, but careful, you might get addicted. And oh, what an expensive addiction is. This beer starts off sweet and not hoppy, but just as soon as you get bored, it plugs in a couple more nuts to make things more interesting and you’ll find yourself jamming away in no time. It’s a low ABV % so don’t expect to get wasted, just enjoy the ride and maybe get a little bit scared. You grew out of that peanut allergy, didn’t you?
Free soloing: DuClaw Brewing Sweet Baby Jesus! American Porter — This chocolate peanut butter porter is so sweet, it’s better drank in small doses. Overindulging could be a little … dangerous. It pours first with a high head, that deflates a little upon drinking. Keep it up though! Strong flavors keep the beer balanced with each sip, keeping this beer smooth to the finish, and you, intact, to drink another day.
Alpinism: Wynkoop Rocky Mountain Oyster Stout — I’m gonna be upfront; this beer is brewed with balls. Bull testicles, that is. Not for the faint of heart, this beer is savory and assertive, with maybe a little nutty aftertaste? It’s best not to think about what you’re indulging in; just drink the damn thing and reminisce about it later. What a great story this will make, eh?
Ice Climbing: Mt. Hood Ice Axe IPA — Pale in color and aggressive in taste, the drinker of the Ice Axe probably doesn’t have much of a taste for anything else – because everything else is too boring. It tastes aged and well-conditioned like a fine wine, but a distinct spiciness reminds you that it means business. Proceed with caution – one misstep with this beer and your whole experience could come crashing down. Best served cold. Like, ice cold.
Biking: Rogue Beard Beer Belgian Blonde — Try saying that one four times fast. Continuing in the weird ingredients theme, Rogue’s Beard Beer is brewed with yeast extracted straight from their master brewer’s beard. Yeasty, fruity, with a little bit of funk, much like your shorts after a long day of riding. Pretty sweet, but tart in all the right places, especially if you park in a bike lane, you emissions producing-yuppie.
Caving: Pitch Black IPA Cascadian Dark Ale — Dark like a porter, but citrusy like an IPA, this beer is not for the faint of heart. Aromatic and bitter like an IPA, darker malts give this beer a texture you could find in the dark. I would recommend drinking with a friend; if you get stuck on this one, you’ll need someone to help bail you out!
Slacklining: Pinglehead Tightrope Belgian Strong Ale — A clear copper beer with a fizzy head, the Tightrope should be weighted down with fruity, caramel flavors, but somehow manages to stay light-bodied. It’s ultra-sweet like candy, as well as ultra-alcoholic at 10%. While it seems like a good rest day beer, too much time with this one and you’ll be surprisingly sore the next day. Good luck keeping your balance.
Camping: Humboldt Brown Hemp Ale American Brown Ale — Brewed with roasted hemp seeds, this beer is subtle with a slightly, ahem, dank aftertaste. Mellow and mild, with a low ABV that will get you just a little bit buzzing. But not too much. Slightly sweet and very drinkable, it pours with a head that stays high for a good, long while. Be sure to bring snacks.