Local craft brewing is on the rise in the American Southeast, and the scene is geared especially towards those with a penchant for the outdoors. Because of the recent changes in Tennessee’s ABV restrictions, hospitable temperatures year-round, and a practically endless selection of outdoor activities, the Southeast is the place to spend some time in nature and enjoy a good beer. Whether it’s sipping a beer as you float down a river or getting a cold pint after a long day on the trails, the breweries here honor and exemplify the adventure seekers that support and sustain them. Here, we put together a list of seven beers that pair particularly well with outdoor pursuits.
1. 420 Extra Pale Ale from SweetWater Brewing Company
This refreshing pale ale has been around for a few years and has collected a couple of awards in its time, including a silver medal at the 2002 Great American Beer Festival. You can swoop up the 420 EPA at SweetWater’s Atlanta brewery in sizes ranging from 16 oz. single cans to five-gallon torpedo kegs if you really want to get after it with some friends.
Best for: Because Sweetwater’s tagline is "Don’t Float the Mainstream," and the 420 is perfect for lazy river days, enjoying this brew from the languid, bobbing confines of an inner tube somewhere off the beaten path is necessary.
2. Devil's Harvest India Pale Ale from Southern Prohibition Brewing
Southern Prohibition (or SoPro for short) Brewing has plenty of delicious choices all year long, but one of the best is Devil’s Harvest Breakfast IPA. This IPA is lovely for those just acquiring the taste for hops—it’s got all the floral aroma, but much less of the typical bitterness that tends to turn people off. SoPro’s philosophy is all about evolution and exploration, which is in perfect alignment with the philosophy of those who revel in the outdoors.
Best for: Yep, you guessed it—camping mornings. This beer goes down really well with campfire oatmeal and scrambled eggs. It’s five o’clock somewhere, right?
3. Vienna Lager from Devils Backbone Brewing Company
Ever had hiking the Appalachian Trail on your mind? If so, Devils Backbone Brewing Company was made for you. They’re located so close to the trail that you can call them and get a shuttle to their place from Reeds Gap on the AT. Not only does this make it easy peasy to pick up their brews along the way, but they let thru-hikers stay the night in their backyard. The Vienna Lager is their award-winning (12 awards so far if anyone is counting) beer that’s been a tradition at the brewery since the very beginning.
Best for: Hiking the Appalachian Trail, or any other trail that calls for a break (i.e. all of them).
4. White Zombie from Catawba Brewing Company
From tap to can and much in between, there are plenty of ways to enjoy Catawba's lovely White Zombie. A while ale that started as a Halloween concoction and transitioned to a full-time member of the team, the White Zombie is a fruity and spicy delight, crafted by a brewing company uses eco-friendly containers for both their cans and kegs.
Best for: Since one of their locations is in a college town, White Zombie is best enjoyed while tailgating for the UNC Asheville team of your choice.
5. Freak of Nature from Wicked Weed
Talk about a beer for people who love to be outside—it’s got ‘nature’ right in the name. While the phrase is usually used to refer to something else, this Freak of Nature will be loved by those who are freaks for nature too. This double IPA is a hops explosion for those that seek a bitter beer and comes from another Ashville-based brewery.
Best for: Wicked Weed is dedicated to "letting the wildness of beer… lead," so we suggest taking a few swigs of this one on a hiking or camping trip in the middle of a wilderness for maximum wildness. Bring those hops back to their roots!
6. Dale's Pale Ale from Oskar Blues Brewery
With a brewery near Pisgah National Forest in Brevard, North Carolina, and availability in bars and restaurants all over the Southeast, you can taste Oskar Blue’s Dale’s Pale Ale in plenty of places. This "assertive but balanced" brew is the first American craft brew to be canned in the mountains. You’ll practically be able to smell the mountain air.
Best for: Enjoying with your pals at a music festival or extreme sports event—Oskar Blues is all about getting amped in the outdoors. This one is drinkable all day long and pairs equally well with good music and healthy competition.
7. Shreddin’ Wheat from Coast Brewing Company
The name says it all: This beer was made for those who shred. Whether it’s the waves or the mountains, the Shreddin’ Wheat was made for those who love a board below their feet and the landscape flying by as they rip it up. Coast believes in keeping things organic and local—both good things for the environment we know and love and that gives us the thrills we seek.
Best for: Enjoying after a session on the slopes or at the ocean. After you’re all played out, this sweet wheat beer made with organic malt will taste so, so good.
Originally written by RootsRated for Outdoor Sports Marketing.
Featured image provided by Cody Myers Photography