Canfest: On the hunt for the best Canned Beer for the Outdoors

We take our gear testing really seriously here at Tahoe Mountain Sports: giving you the scoop on the latest and greatest ski technology or waterproof breathable fabric stats.  And it was with equal gravity that Hard Goods Manager Kevin and Web Editor Greyson selflessly took on a serious evening of testing last weekend at Reno’s 3rd Annual Canfest.

Canned beer can evoke images of inferior quality beer in many minds who prefer a good draft or bottle, but Canfest founder Buckbean Brewing Company aims to overturn that preconception. To that end, Buckbean and Abbi PR brought in 30 breweries sporting around 80 craft beers, all in cans, from places ranging from Hawaii to Alaska, South Dakota to Texas.

As outdoor enthusiasts, we at Tahoe Mountain Sports are fans of good canned beers (to be enjoyed responsibly, by persons at or over the age of 21, of course) as an excellent option for backpacking, hiking, skiing, or whatever. Easy to pack, no glass to break, compactable when done (Leave No Trace), cans have bottles beat up and down in the backcountry.

Kevin, fresh off three weeks on the John Muir Trail, had this to say: “What I love about these awesome beers is that on a trip into the wild I can pack them in and pack them out easily. Case in point: On the JMT my hiking partner Eric carried a can of Hamm’s the entire trip, just so we could get photos with it.”

Truly exotic “beer drinker’s beers” can now be found in cans, like 21st Amendment’s Back in Black Black India Pale, Boulder Beer’s Hazed and Confused, Buckbean’s Original Orange Blossom Ale and Maui Brewing Company’s Coconut Porter.

And some classics are starting to show up in cans, like Anderson Valley’s Boont Amber Ale, Big Sky Brewing’s Moose Drool Brown Ale, Blue Moon, Mammoth Brewing Company’s Epic IPA and Golden Trout Pilsner, and Four Peaks Brewing Kilt Lifter Scottish Style Ale.

Here are Kevin’s Picks from Canfest: “My favorite beers were From Snake River Brewing and Oskar Blues Brewery. The Snake River Brewing cans ‘Pako’s Eye-P-A,’ an India Pale Ale which has an outrageously hoppy nose, and the bitter hops linger on your tongue long after you’re done sipping. Just the way I like my beer.  Oskar Blues Brewery’s ‘Old Chub Scotch Ale’ uses scotch barrels during the process to flavor the beer. Delicious carmel and chocolate, with some woody notes from the scotch!  The fact that these breweries make beer in cans allows me to elevate my backcountry beer experience above PBR or Coors.”

Greyson’s favorites were predictable for those who read this blog: “I always go back to the beers of Mammoth brewing company; the Golden Trout is light and refreshing, a perfect thirst quencher after a day of hiking, climbing or skiing, and so is the Epic IPA. But I also really enjoyed the Anderson Valley Brewing Company Boont Amber Ale for a solid beer in the backcountry.”

Looking for the ultimate conveyance for your canned beer into the backcountry? Check out the Snow Peak Kanpai Titanium Bottle, which can keep a can of beer cold with it’s double-walled thermos-like construction and “cooling lid” with a gel pack you freeze to keep your beer frosty! Back in stock at Tahoe Mountain Sports at the beginning of December, it’s the perfect holiday gift.

And come hoist a pint with us at “Drink to That” Night here at the Kings Beach store on Tuesday, Dec. 13 from 5 to 8:30 p.m. We’ll be serving up beer to benefit Tahoe Institute for Natural Science,  give you a shot at prizes, and more. Tune into our Facebook page for more details soon.

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