Gear Guide: Beer on the Go

We look at new gear that helps you enjoy a fresh, cold craft beer at the campsite or on a hike.

Credit: David Webb

In explore’s Summer 2015 issue (out June 1), columnist Andrew Findlay discusses the inseparable connection between outdoor sports and beer.

And he’s not talking about Coors Lite. This is about robust craft-brewed lagers and ales. I agree with Findlay on this subject. There’s an emotional thirst after a sweaty hike or long-distance cycle that only quality beer can quench. (After I’m properly rehydrated, of course.)

Last year, at the bi-annual Outdoor Retailer trade show in Salt Lake City, Utah, I was introduced to Hydro Flask. This company—based in beer-loving Bend, Oregon—manufactures insulated bottles for a variety of beverages. I tested one of their water bottles. It kept H20 icy for 24 hours. Then, I moved on to their beer-specific offerings. Did they fare just as well?

Hydro Flask 64 oz Beer Growler ($55) 

Warm beer sucks—this growler aims to end the days of spoiled microbrew. Double-wall vacuum insulation keeps liquid cool for a full day (tested and confirmed) and staves off condensation on the outside, so feel free to stash this jug with your clothes. The cap also seals in the fizz. It’s no lightweight—787 grams before you add the ale—but we’re assuming this is for car- or boat-camping, right? The heft is worth it to know your precious Saison won’t be sacrificed at the slightest mishap, as per those glass growlers sold at the taphouse. Heck, since I’m not a Scotch drinker—I might just toss it in the kayak for my next overnighter. And yes, teetotalers, it works just as well to keep coffee hot and lemonade cold.

Hydro Flask 16 oz True Pint ($22)

Beer tastes better from a mug, hence the benefit of packing along this unit. However, I’ll admit to a bit of initial skepticism toward the True Pint. For starters, at 16 ounces, it’s not really a “true” pint, is it? And would an insulated cup really make any difference to a brew’s temperature? Consider me a changed man. For starters, the “True” refers to the look and feel of the cup—it is engineered to feel like an easy-drinking mug from your local pub. And the beer really does stay colder, right to the last drop. The size is a bonus too—16 ounces proves to be the perfect volume for emptying a can, allowing for some foam and a little wiggle-room. The 18/8 stainless steel has no metallic taste and this powder-coated unit is tough enough to handle whatever abuse you can muster, yet light enough to go unnoticed. I even take it on day-hikes! (No judgement, please.)