Campfires used to be synonymous with a gooey s’more and a ghost story, but these days we associate the smell of a fire with a cooler-kept bottle of beer.


Our picks for the best brews to keep in your cooler when camping. Photo: Courtesy of CandyBox Images/

Nothing complements a long day of hiking and a sleeping bag in the back of your truck like a frothy brew from companies based in camping capitals like Colorado and Bar Harbor, Maine. Here are our six favorites to pop into the camper when nature calls.

Bourbon Barrel Imperial Red

The brewery: Aspen Brewing Company — Aspen, Colorado

The taste: No one likes saying goodbye to summer, but this artfully crafted seasonal brew makes it a little easier. Aged in old whiskey barrels, this beer packs a flavorful punch with notes of everything from bourbon to vanilla to smoke, all enhanced by a caramel undertone that’s rich enough for dessert (not that we’d ever advise you to skimp on the marshmallows).

Serengeti Wheat

The brewery: Mac & Jack’s Brewery — Seattle, Washington

The taste: Tangy, citrusy and practically begging for a fresh lemon wedge, this crisp brew is refreshing after a hot day and even better with a heaping plate of seafood by the beach. It’s made with locally sourced malted wheat and unfiltered for a “cloudy” appearance, but don’t let that fool you: Taking a sip is like biting into fresh fruit with plenty of hops.

Brew Free! Or Die IPA

The brewery: 21st Amendment Brewery — San Francisco, California

The taste: Golden and clean with six different hops and a malty smack to the tongue, this top-selling beer is pretty much everything you want from a camping companion — it even comes in a campground-friendly can for when the “No Glass Allowed” signs abound.

Coal Porter

The brewery: Atlantic Brewing Company — Bar Harbor, Maine

The taste: The foggy coastline of Acadia National Park serves up inspiration for this hearty, warming brew. Think rich and chocolatey notes against bitter hops that are ideal for cool nights camping in coastal villages (or just kicking back in your fleece anywhere in the country).

Yard Sale Winter Lager

The brewery: Uinta Brewing — Salt Lake City, Utah

The taste: This canned contender is only available in the winter, but that’s exactly when we want to indulge in the amber lager. Vanilla, honey, and caramel sound like the perfect accompaniment to hot soup and a roaring fire after a day combing fresh powder in the backcountry.

Dad’s Old Fashioned Root Beer

The brewery: The Dad’s Root Beer Company, LLC. — Jasper, Indiana

The taste: For the non-alcohol drinkers in your camp, Dad’s Old Fashioned Root beer is the ticket. Smooth and delicious. Developed in the ’30s in Chicago, Dad’s Old Fashioned Root Beer is an American staple. Bring along a 6-pack for the youngsters in your group, or even just the folks loooking for a refreshing alternative to the brews mentioned above. You can never go wrong with Dad’s … It just tastes so much like your childhood.

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