Way back in August of 2010, we celebrated the 200th anniversary of the can—canned soup, canned beans, canned tuna. This summer, it's about the beer. Once considered a sub-par compromise when bottles weren't available, cans are quickly becoming the preferred vessel for many a craft beer-drinker, particularly flyfishers, rafters, and other marginally employed types. Cans are lighter, better for the environment, and way easier to toss across a river. Drink up.
Fat Tire Amber Ale: 5.2%
Crushing beers has double meaning in a raft. First, the practice of hustling several down your throat is essential to staying hydrated. Second, crushing empties via the heel of your boot makes recycling a snap at the Poudre River takeout. Fort Collins, Colorado-based New Belgium has produced its mainstay Fat Tire amber ales since inception. Toasty, biscuit-like malt flavors. Canned and highly crushable.
Zonker Stout: 6.0%
The Tetons have inspired many a climber, skier, and flyfisher. And since 1994 this Jackson Hole-based brew pub has inspired a stream of award-winning beers, none more decorated than this roasted barley-infused
favorite—one of their five "Flagship Beers" that recently moved to all cans. A mix of malts and somethin'-somethin' makes this stout go particularly well with streamers on the Snake.
Dale's Pale Ale: 6.5%
Nothing says quintessential Americana like slamming the country's first hand-canned craft beer after (or during) a hard day's casting. This aggressively hopped award-winner from Oskar Blues Brewery in Lyons, Colorado, delivers "assertive-but-balanced flavors of pale malts and hops from start to finish." First canned in 2002, Dale's packs a punch that kick-started a canned beer revolution.
Modus Hoperandi: 6.8%
If you've always wanted to say, "I got drunk in Durango" (and who hasn't?), then this bitter IPA will show you the way. Ska Brewing, makers of non-PC faves like Buster Nut Brown Ale, Mexican Logger, and True Blonde Ale, has long had a knack for quirky, humor-based marketing. But they can brew. Pay a visit to their Colorado HQ to see what non-corporate brewing looks like. You might as well fish the Animas while you're there.
Jon Boat Ale: 4.5%
North Florida isn't exactly a hotbed of craft brewing activity, but brewer and owner Ben Davis did time in NorCal and Chicago before heading back to his Jacksonville roots to start Intuition Ale Works. Jon Boat was inspired by the kölsch-style beers coming out of Cologne, Germany, and is "perfectly suited to Jacksonville's hot summers." It's also perfect for pounding after a day of redfishing the flats.
Floppin' Crappie: 4.5%
Here's what the Northwoods Brewpub has to say about this beer: "Light, caramel-colored wheat ale with the sweetness of honey and a mild bitterness." Here's what we have to say: Who cares? Because that name is awesome! Check out some of the other labels from this Eau Claire, Wisconsin-based brew pub: "Mouthy Muskie," "Prickly Pike's Pilsner," and "Wall'IPA." Way to know your market…
Golden Trout Pilsner: 5.5%
Mammoth Brewing Company, the "highest brewery on the West Coast" took their precious alpine environment into account when, in 2007, it became one of the first microbreweries to package its beers into cans. Their Golden Trout Pilsner is light and sweet and lemony, made from 8000-foot alpine water. A flavorful backcountry beer, and obviously an appropriate choice when going for goldens.