As hikers, we think canned craft beer is pretty awesome. Here's why.
Cans, though lightweight and compressible, bring a certain connotation to beer: cheap, weak, great for beer pong. There’s a trend now in the craft beer world to reclaim the aluminum can and all the benefits it offers. For many breweries, marketing their product in cans reduces carbon emissions both in the transport of the product and in the production of the containers. Cans also protect beer from its two worst enemies: light and oxygen. And last but not least, cans are great for throwing in a backpack.
Several craft brewers in the Seattle area are canning their beer with outdoor fans in mind. Two Beers Brewery’s head brewer Joel VandenBrink chose cans as packaging specifically with backpackers in mind. In a press release, VanderBrink said, “We love bottles, but bottles can only go so many places. As a hiker and backpacker myself, it’s great to be able to enjoy a flavorful craft beer after a long hike, without having to lug around heavier bottles in my backpack.” Here are four Washington state canned beers to look out for when packing for your next hike.
Two Beers is a brewery after a hiker’s heart. They brew beers that “pay tribute to all things outdoors.” With a tagline like, “Life is just a little more honest after two beers,” how can you help but not love this brewery? Sip on some of Two Beers offerings, including a range of styles: brown ales, pilsners, ambers and wheat beers.
Trailhead ISA is a great fusion beer—the full bodied taste of an IPA, but the low ABV of a session ale making it a perfect beer for a hot summer afternoon. The flavor is sharp, with a balance of hop and malts. This dry hopped ale has a bitter mid-profile, but a crisp citrus finish, leaving each sip refreshing.
Based in the Seattle 'hood of Ballard, Hilliard’s exclusively distributes its beer in cans. The brewery, which opened in 2011, wants to focus on simplicity when it comes to beer. This simplicity shines through on its clean labeling, and basic styles: Amber, Saison, Blonde, and Pilsner.
Hilliard’s amber is crisp, with sweet esters, but little in the way of floral hop. It finishes dry with a good dose of bittering hop flavor. We imagine this beer pairing well with any trail winding through a cedar forest.
Founded in 2008, Fremont Brewery makes sustainability a priority, which is a main factor in the choice to can its beer. Fremont is the first craft brewery in the Seattle area to start canning its beer, doing so on-site to reduce carbon emissions.
Fremont’s Interurban IPA is not lacking on the hop. Full of hop resin, the bitter of this brew is cut by the pine-citrus hop notes of the Centennial, Chinook, and Amarillo hop combination. If you want an ale as eccentric as the Fremont neighborhood, check out this IPA. Other canned brews to check out are the Harvest Ale, Summer Ale, Universal Pale, and Organic Pale Ale.
A green brewery from the start, 7 Seas Brewery of Gig Harbor was the first in Washington state to start using cans. Canning exclusively in the perfect pint 16oz tallboy can, 7 Seas distributes some of its bolder ales including a British pale ale and an India pale ale. Brewing for taste over style specifications, 7 Seas makes unique, innovative beers.
Ballz Deep lives up to its over the top name—coming in at 8.4% alcohol by volume, this beer is big, bold, and balanced. As with many Imperial IPAs, this beer has enough malt to appeal to non-hophead beer drinkers, but still offers the citrus resin of local hops. The flavor is malt forward, roasty and caramel notes, with a citrus finish. This beer is sure to keep you warm on a cold night in the backcountry.
With all this talk about canned beer, you're probably looking for an excuse to drink some. Here's one: Canfest. Yes indeed, there exists an entire festival dedicated to canned beer. We bet they'd be more than happy to introduce you to your next favorite backpack beer. Check 'em out here!