Nick Brooks on Everything You Need to Know About Beer and the Outdoors
There’s something about the perfect beer after a long day on the trail that just fits. And our Brand Ambassador Nick Brooks is an expert on pairing craft beers with wilderness adventures.
When we first introduced Nick to the Gossamer Gear community, we interviewed him about his work as the leader of Boy Scouts Troop 1906 in Atlanta, Georgia. If you haven’t read that blog yet, definitely check it out for some inspiration.
In this follow-up interview with Nick, known on social media as Outdoor Gear and Beer, we’re diving a bit more into his beer expertise and the natural love he’s found of combining a good brew with the great outdoors.
Interview With Nick Brooks, Expert on Beer and Gear
In his interview, Nick shares both tips and tricks for bringing beer along on your trips, and also some of his favorite beer choices for different outdoor scenarios!
Gossamer Gear: How did you get started on the beer scene?
Nick: Well, I didn’t always like beer. But I think it’s mostly because my first introductions were to bad beer. You know, the kind flowing freely at most Greek/fraternity parties. However, I had a friend in college who had a slightly more elevated palate and introduced me to beers made by smaller, more independent companies (aka: craft beers). Because it wasn’t mass produced, more time could be focused on taste and really explore the art of brewing beer.
What do you love about combining beer and the outdoors?
There’s something about getting to the campsite after being on the trail, getting out of your shoes, and kicking back with a cold one after you’ve let it chill in a nearby creek. It’s even sweeter when you can cheers with a buddy as you commiserate on the events of the day.
Is there certain etiquette folks should follow while imbibing outdoors?
Well, there’s definitely a sense of caution you should have when consuming any alcoholic beverages in the great outdoors. Moderating your intake to ensure a fun and safe outdoor experience is important. Overdoing it could lead to accidents, dehydration, or just a sucky hungover experience. You stand the chance of ruining the trip for yourself and those around you. Drink responsibly.
Also, you should be aware of the rules of the outdoor space you are in. Some places don’t allow glass, or have recycling receptacles, and some places discourage or forbid alcohol consumption altogether. As with all outdoor adventures, folks should “leave no trace,” and that includes barf from a night of too much brew, LOL! Keep it light. Keep it fun!
Any tips for controlling the temperature for different beers while outside?
This is probably the trickiest part, depending on your activity. If you are car camping or somewhere a good cooler is accessible, this is more straightforward.
A good rule of thumb (though not an exact science) is that beers which are light in color (e.g., lagers and wheat beers) are best served pretty cold, while darker beers (e.g., barley wines and stouts) can be served a little warmer.
So, when not on the trail, simply take your darker beers out of the cooler about 15 minutes before you plan to enjoy it. For backcountry overnight hikes, where water is accessible, chilling a few cold ones in a nearby river or stream is super clutch. In high elevations, you can simply let mother nature do her thing. With all that being said, I can attest that a good beer doesn’t have to be ice cold to be enjoyed. Craft beer is all about the flavor and sometimes serving them too cold can mask the true taste.
My greatest tip? Don’t overthink it, and enjoy!
Ok, we need your help rounding up the best beers for some different outdoor scenarios!
1. Best beer after a snowy, winter hike.
Piano Keys by New Belgium + Ale Sharpton (Fort Collins, CO). At 10% ABV, this medium sweet imperial stout with cocoa nibs and vanilla beans and notes will definitely make the hike worth it!
2. Best beer when you’re thinking about long summer days camping by the river.
Sierra Nevada Pale Ale (Chico, CA). At 5.6% ABV and loaded with Cascade hops boasting aromas of pine and citrus, this will be a perfect fit while camping.
3. Best beer after completing your first 20+ mile day on a trail.
Oh, that’s definitely a hiker’s choice!! I’d go with Mexican Empire by Arches Brewing (Hapeville, GA). This light and creamy Vienna lager is malty with a nutty and smooth flavor. 5.2% ABV.
4. Best beer for savoring a stunning wilderness view.
HBCU West Coast IPA by Crowns and Hops (Inglewood, CA) is clean and crisp. With a floral hop aroma and notes of tropical fruit, this beer will be fitting with a stunning view. Mild dank flavor with pineapple and citrus. 7% ABV.
5. Best beer for ultralight backpackers.
No beer! ;) Just kidding! Everyone loves a good IPA, right?