Post-ride Beer… in the Backcountry.
Most bikepackers will agree on the one thing we collectively crave after a long day pedaling through the woods… a cold beer. Unfortunately carrying a six-pack on a multi day trip is just a little too cumbersome, until now…
We’ve all packed a flask of whiskey or a box of wine (I’m not too proud to admit) on a backcountry trip, but once perched around the campfire, a cold beer is never too far from our thoughts. Pat’s solved this timeworn quandary with small pouches of brew concentrate powered by H2O and a carbonator bottle. I was a little skeptical about the idea of concentrated beer when I first heard of Pat’s Backcountry Beverages, but I had the chance to give it a shot on a 6 day trip through the wilds of the Virginia Mountain Bike Trail.
The Pat’s system is comprised of a carbonator bottle, activator packets, and two brew pouch options… the Pail Rail, and Black Hops. They also offer soda concentrate for the kids or teetotalers. The pouches are small and relatively light, and the activator packets are a negligible size. The carbonator bottle weighs about 250 grams, but it can also be used to carry backup water. Its diameter is slightly too large to fit in a tight water bottle cage, such as the Lezyne Power Cage, but can fit in a larger or more malleable cage, like the Salsa stainless cage. I stowed mine in the stretch bottle pocket of the Osprey hydration pack. The carbonator bottle retails for $39.95 and the activator packets come in a 12-pack for $5.95.
So how do they get craft beer in a tiny packet? It’s not dehydrated; the magic formula is Pat’s Hybrid Brewing Technology. Beer is about 95% water, so Pat’s claims that their brew concentrate contains all the flavor, ABV content, and aroma as a quality craft brew.
I had my first Pat’s Pale Rail at a campsite atop the North Mountain ridge. Contrary to what I’d read, I found the preparation to be quite simple. It takes 5 or so minutes to prep the bottle, add the activator, shake for a minute, and let stand while the pressure settles. The taste definitely hits the craft pale ale mark. The carbonation is a little different than a typical bottled or canned brew… more like a soda. But it works. I found the Pale Rail to be refreshing and it quenched that post-ride beer need quite nicely. It may not make it to my pint glass when there is a fridge in reach, but on a multi-day bikepacking trip it’s a worthy addition to the packlist. There were four afternoons on this trip I found myself looking forward to that evening, enjoying a post-ride Pat’s.