Ah, you made it. Nature. The woods. There are trees—real galldarn trees—and wait, is that a tiny rivulet over there? We just looked up rivulet and we’re pretty sure that’s what you found. How did you find it? Oh, just a little activity we like to call HIKING.
Hiking, for the uninitiated, is the thing that happens when you stare at a mountain and say “Yes.” And then you buy some sturdy, profoundly unattractive shoes. You put something made out of granola in a backpack. And, assuming you are in a group where there’s at least one person who won’t lose control and try to fight a bear, you bring something to drink.
Bear in mind (to any would-be nature lovers) not all hiking requires booze. In fact, technically, hiking only requires the desire to walk in anything but a straight line (there’s a thing called switchbacks, and they’re terrible). Some people take it too far, like a friend of mine who hiked the entire Appalachian Trail, grew a beard meanwhile, and learned something about life. (Jokes on him, I ransacked his apartment while he was away.) But if you’re going on a casual hike, think like two to six miles tops, you may decide you want to pack something to drink. To celebrate your outdoorsiness, or the absence of bears, or the sighting of what might have been a Yeti, but was probably just a very hairy man.
*If you plan on bringing wine, don’t forget the corkscrew.
The name kind of says it all. “Underwood,” as if you are under some tree branches. Also the fact that this supple Pinot Noir is from Oregon gives it extra hiking points. But yes, a thousand hiking points because it’s a lighter red wine that’s tasty and it comes in a can. Soft hints of fruit with light, almost absent, tannin. You’ll almost want to chug this on the trail (but don’t, find a nice rock).
Yeah, beach season’s coming up. And god help us all. But don’t despair—beer lovers, anyway—Evil Twin has a ridiculously low ABV canned beer that’s kind of made for the outdoors (since nobody needs to be drinking an Imperial IPA in potential proximity to bears). Some light hoppiness pokes into the subtle cereal graininess.
A hefty beer. Named after a mathematical concept that describes the path of a projectile. Also basically the beer you want to drink once you’ve set up camp (seriously, after all, this is a Russian Imperial Stout). Rich, lustrous, notes of chocolate and oak, aged in a variety of famous bourbon barrels. The kind of beer you want to drink after defeating the Yeti. Either physically or in a game of chess.
If you’re hiking, and its warm, and you haven’t heard of Gose beer, nows the time to remedy that. Gose is a very weird, very awesome German style of beer with a bit of tangy lactobacillus and salt—yes, salt, which makes it sour and intensely refreshing. Sixpoint Brewery’s Jammer is a bit less tangy, giving it a nice puckering salinity that clutches to the citrus notes. Something to enjoy if and when you find your way back to the trail.
Hiking tends to require portability (and also, possibly, turning an oak tree into your restroom). Box wine—yeah, curse the name—is kind of made for it. Easy to transport, no danger of breakage, and increasingly containing some decent wine. This Argentine Malbec is packed with fruit and some weighty tannins, so drink it after you’ve checked out that weird abandoned cabin.
First off, screw cap. So, yeah, win. But this is also a juicy, citrusy, entirely un-oaked chardonnay. (Why would you need oak when the trees are doing the oak-ing for you?) There’s a timid resemblance to Chablis here, so feel free to include this in your next hike-clambake.
Is mezcal on your map? Actually, where the hell are you on your map? There should be a brook or a rivulet or something nearby… OK, forget hiking. If you like light spirits, and certainly if you like tequila, mezcal should be a part of your drinking repertoire. No better place than outdoors, where you might build a fire and sip back the green-and-smoky (and a whole lot of other things) seduction of the agave plant. Just take it easy if you’re on an actual mountaintop.