This list is inspired by our upcoming camping trip to Allegany State Park because as soon as we booked a cabin, we immediately started thinking of what beer we were bringing. We even bought a new cooler to stock with delectable local goodness. And since we aim to please our beer drinking readers, we wanted to put together a list to make things easier while you plan your own excursions into the woods. We also wanted to make sure you’ll have a bunch of great local beer to keep yourselves hydrated while you’re out foraging for firewood.
But what is it about camping? Is it breakfast over an open flame, burgers and hot dogs for dinner, hiking through the woods, sleeping under the stars and/or being at peace with nature? Maybe it’s sitting around the campfire with family, friends and a cooler right by your side stocked with ice cold beer. We think it’s that last thing. At least it is for us.
This is a list of local beers that you can drink all day, whether you’re swimming, canoeing, hiking, paddle boating, playing volleyball or cornhole, grilling burgers and dogs or just chilling around the fire with a great cigar in hand. You won’t find any high ABV’s here, but you will find some IPA’s, so there’s that.
42 North Brewing Creekside Session IPA (4.8%): This session features big notes of citrus with a fairly dry bitter finish. It’s very drinkable. Perfect for when you’re in the middle of the woods and want an IPA. Because that happens, right? It does to us at least.
“We tweaked the Creekside this year for an entirely new take on the session ale that feels more like a standard IPA then a session beer,” 42 North says. “Low ABV, clean, light & refreshing flavors make for the perfect beer to bring on your warm weather adventures. Whether it’s kayaking, biking, camping or hiking, you will find the perfect travel partner in a glass of Creekside Session Ale.”
Resurgence Brewing Cosmic Truth Session Pale Ale (4.3%): A perfect way to beat the heat. Subtle hints of orange peel and tart lemon and grassy notes. This one is meant to be crushed. Take a few of these on your next hike. (Honorable mention: Blood Orange Saison (5.5%))
“Big fresh juiciness with mild bitterness make Cosmic Truth the perfect all night sipper around the campfire,” Resurgence’s Jeff Ware says. “And at 4.3%, you won’t be hurting too bad on that morning hike. Our Blood Orange Saison is perfect for outdoor day drinking. Light and fruity with nice tartness. This will refresh you on the trail or are your campsite.”
Big Ditch FC (Fantastically Crushable)(4.1%): A solid to the bone session. Citrus nose as it opens and balanced with just a hint of dank as it finishes. FC is an all-around drinkable beer you can enjoy all day. (Honorable mention: Low Bridge Hoppy Golden Ale (4.8%))
“First thing that makes Low Bridge and FC great for camping is that they are readily available in cans, which are very appropriate for the outdoors – lightweight, no breakage, easily stored or disposed of,” Big Ditch’s Matt Kahn says. “For camping, you want a beer that’s refreshing, and both of these beers fit the bill. Low Bridge is crisp and light, with lemony and floral flavor and a light biscuit malt character. It has a lot in common with a pilsner, which is commonly hailed as one of the world most refreshing beers. You can argue that FC is even more refreshing. It has a lighter ABV at 4.1%, which allows you to drink even more, the wheat ensures a crisp finish, and the hops are citrusier and lightly tropical, making the beer very tasty and also very drinkable. They match perfectly with camping.”
12 Gates Brewing Cherry Vanilla Wheat (4.8%): The only way we can describe this killer wheat is, all cherry then it falls off a cliff into a pool of vanilla. It’s brewed with Bourbon Madagascar Vanilla Beans and Tart Cherry Juice from Singer Farms. When you need some dessert, pop a can of this.
“Nothing is more quintessential to summer than weekends spent camping,” 12 Gates head brewer Scott Schuler says. “The Cherry Vanilla Wheat is light and refreshing for summer days, and bold enough for the cool nights. This beer pairs well with afternoon picnics and a nice mixed fruit salad or while exaggerating stories of the one that got away. And after a full day of camping shenanigans, it is always great to gather around a campfire to reminisce and make new memories. Our Coffee Porter is a perfect match for an evening campfire while roasting s’mores with the smooth cold press coffee and subtle chocolate notes. And it’s in a can so you can roast marshmallows with one hand and hold a fresh can in the other hand. Now that’s multitasking.”
“Niagara Lager is designed to be light, easy, refreshing and traditionally sessionable,” Woodcock says. “It’s perfect for hot summer weekends camping in the woods or on the water and its 16oz. can format makes it ideal for transport.”
Flying Bison Brewing Buffalo Lager (5.2%) (soon to be Larkin Lager): This is one of our all-time favorite Buffalo beers. It’s just an easy to drink delicious light beer. Buffalo Lager is one of our oldest friends in the Buffalo craft beer scene. (Honorable mention: 716 Kolsch (5.1%))
“Buffalo Lager actually preceded our brewery as it was brewed by Buffalo Brewing Co. on Abbott Rd. in the late 1980s and early 1990s,” Flying Bison says. “Due to connections with those folks and a desire to see Buffalo Lager survive in larger batches, we worked out a deal with Buffalo Brewpub to take over brewing it. So by drinking a Buffalo Lager, you are drinking a bit of Buffalo craft brewing history…and it’s the lightest tasting beer in our repertoire, therefore one of the smoothest to crush on a hot day at camp. Buffalo Kolsch 716 is an ale with German ingredients, and slightly stronger and hoppier in the finish than Buffalo Lager. It’s availability in more nature-friendly and lighter-weight 12oz cans make this one essential Buffalo picnic & camping fare.”
Now that you know what to drink, it’s time to stock up your coolers and get out into the wild. We’ll see you on the trails!
Brian Campbell is a co-founder/Brand Manager of the BNBA’s enthusiast arm, Buffalo Beer League, and writes the weekly Buffalo Beer Buzz column. If you have beer news that should be included in the Beer Buzz, Brian can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, on Twitter at @buffbeerleague, on Instagram at @buffalobeerleague and on Facebook at @thebuffalobeerleague.