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  • Will

Introducing Field Beer

Updated: Dec 4, 2022

Beer is a great post-trip/return-to-home drink. It’s crisp, refreshing, thirst quenching, and when was the last time you heard someone say how badly they want a glass of wine after a day in the field or miles on the trail? As great as beer can be, it has a pretty damning flaw: it sucks when it's warm. If you’re out for just a few hours, then you don’t have much to worry about. But for the folks out in the backcountry for days on end, beer typically doesn’t make the packing list. I want to change that so I’m going to use my years of brewing experience, hours of study, and time as a Cicerone to find the best beer to drink warm or even hot for those nights in the field when you couldn’t pack your entire Yeti cooler packed with ice.


Method

Style

I want to find a wide range of potential Field Beers, and, as much as I love drinking lagers, one can only drink so much before it gets old. So our study will review the following style categories: American Lager, Pale Ale, IPA, and Wheat Ale. These styles are prized for their refreshing characteristics, and I want to test beers that I’d crave after a long-ass day in the woods.

Alcohol

When you’re hunting or backpacking, you typically don’t want to be hungover the next day. So our beers need to be on the lower end of the ABV spectrum. However, they need to be efficient enough to give a nice buzz without too many ounces. I’m going to limit the alcohol content to between 4.00% and 6.00%.

Package

We’re going to be responsible outdoors folk meaning we take out what we bring in. It’s simply unacceptable to trash the wilderness. That being said, we should think about the weight of our trash and lessen the load as much as possible. Not only do cans weigh next to nothing, but they can be crushed to take up less space. Also, do you want the possibility of carrying a bag full of accidentally broken glass? Our beer has to be available in a can.

Scoring

Finally, we need a “quantitative” method of ranking these beers. So we'll rate everything on a scale from one to five in the following categories:

  1. Foaminess - because we’re drinking straight from the can, we’ll skip appearance and replace it with can foaminess. CO2 comes out of solution a lot faster at warmer temperatures, and we don't want a beer that spews foam

  2. Aroma - normally out of a glass, there's a lot to learn from aromas. We have to see what we get out of the can instead

  3. Flavor - we need to adjust what we expect and be able to approach the beer without our previous notions about the beers we're trying. Don't think "this beer tastes so much better cold"

  4. Drinkability - The high temps can't be off putting, and the beer should still be refreshing

The overall score will be a the summation of the 4 categories; the highest score being 20 and the lowest being 0. By the end of this experiment, I hope to have a clear list of great trail beers that can be enjoyed at any temperature!

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