What better way is there to celebrate that big bull elk or whitetail buck than with a craft beer in hand?
I couldn't think of one either. But even if you didn't luck out this year, temporarily put down the can of whatever your dad (or grandpa) drank and try out one of these unique and refreshing craft beers instead.
Just be smart and do it after the hunting's done and the guns are put away.
Some of you might be asking yourself, "What exactly is a craft beer?"
According to the Brewer's Association, an American craft brewer is small (producing six million barrels or less each year), independent (less than 25 percent ownership by major alcohol industry member), and traditional (majority of its total beverage alcohol volume in beers whose flavor derives from traditional or innovative brewing ingredients).
The Brewer's Association also states that most Americans live within ten miles of a craft brewery, so you really don't have much of an excuse. Go find one near you! Craft beers may be distributed in bottles/cans, or they may only be served at the brewpub.
These five craft beers (plus one sneak peek bonus beer at the bottom) from across the country will whet your whistle and help you celebrate your hunt with friends. To make it interesting, I've included styles that blend seamlessly with the outdoors. Cheers!
1. Schell's Stag Series Batch No. 8 August's Bock
This Minnesotan blonde doppelbock has a rich, golden amber color, and a bold hoppy aroma from Polaris hops. Being a doppelbock, it is very full-bodied with a strong malty backbone. Plus, August's Bock is in the Stag Series. Who doesn't want to celebrate a hunt by drinking a beer with a buck on it?!
2. Goose Island Honkers Ale
This Illinois English style bitter beer is golden colored and has a fruity hop aroma due to its four hop varieties. Honkers is an award-winning English style bitter, and sure to please the outdoorsmen in all of us. Plus, it's perfectly drinkable after a day out waterfowl hunting.
3. Elk Mountain Brewing Wild Wapiti Wheat
This Colorado Hefeweizen has strong malty sweetness due to the wheat and barley. Typical of a Hefeweizen, banana and clove notes are prominent and the yeast gives the beer a cloudy, unfiltered look. Like number one, it's a little poetic drinking a beer with an elk in the name while sitting behind your 6x6 bull.
4. Bear Republic Big Bear Black Stout
This California black American stout is bold with roasty flavors, balanced by Centennial and Cascade hops. Rich, award-winning stouts like this are wonderful when enjoyed in the great outdoors. It's best served with grilled meats--perhaps fresh grilled venison steaks? Or to be more true to the label, some bear stew?
5. New Glarus Staghorn Oktoberfest
Like a true Bavarian Oktoberfest, this Wisconsin beer contains only grain (barley), hops, yeast, and pure water. It pours with an amber color and spicy fragrance. Make sure to grab some in the fall for your hunting trip. And again, it's a Staghorn Oktoberfest--notice a pattern here?
So there you have it, five fine choices for craft brews that will top off a successful day of hunting (or fishing, or hiking, or just about anything outdoors). Would you add any to the list?