President Teddy Roosevelt (Ron Swanson before Ron Swanson) was America’s greatest champion of the U.S. National Park Service. While in office, he oversaw the creation of 18 national monuments, four game refuges, more than 100 million acres of national forests, more than 50 bird sanctuaries, and five of the greatest national parks in history. Not even the Lorax has done that much for the trees.
If there’s anything that Roosevelt believed as much as the pristine glory of nature, it was beer — despite the fact that he never ever drank it (when a small newspaper made the claim that Roosevelt was a drunk, our 26th president successfully sued the paper for libel). Still, ole’ teetotaling Teddy was famous for buying beer by the gallon for the Rough Riders he trained in Texas. Why? Because beer is the greatest morale booster that the world has ever seen, which Roosevelt understood, just as much as he understood that our natural resources deserve to be protected.
That’s why, as we near the 100th anniversary of the National Park System, we should toast Teddy by enjoying a frosty brew in one of our country’s open spaces. There’s nothing more patriotic, nothing more Earth-friendly, nothing more us than sucking down a cold one in a national forest. God. Bless. America.
Tip Back Crafty Bastard’s Maple Mountain Porter in the Great Smoky Mountains
The majestic Great Smoky Mountains National Park runs along the border of Tennessee and North Carolina. It’s known for crystal clear streams, rivers, and waterfalls that flow along the most picturesque stretches of the Appalachian Trail. The park’s name comes from the year-round mist that drapes over the mountains, creating a scene that is at once peaceful and mysterious.
The subtle sweetness of Crafty Bastard’s Maple Mountain Porter is the ideal complement to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. It’s a well balanced porter that offers notes of chocolate and a medium bodied head. It’s dark, it’s delicious, and it boasts the good ole’ boy sensibilities of a genuine Appalachian hillbilly.
Enjoy Arizona Wilderness Brewery’s White Canyon Blonde Stout at the Grand Canyon
Grand Canyon National Park is made up of more than one million square acres of untouched land in Arizona state. The most distinguishing feature of the park is, well, that huge hole in the ground. Often considered one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World, the canyon was cut into the earth over millions of years by the flow of the Colorado River.
If anything can wash down the untamed beauty of the Grand Canyon, then it’s Arizona Wilderness Brewing’s White Canyon Blond Stout. Brewed with fresh cacao and a local espresso blend, this beer features all the notes of a traditional American stout. The unique crystal malts that give White Canyon its blonde color also make it the perfect beer for sipping while marveling at Mother Nature’s stunning design aesthetic.
Savor Great Divide’s Oatmeal Yeti Stout in Rocky Mountain National Park
Colorado is home to some of the planet’s most dramatic mountain ranges, awe-inspiring lakes, and accessible backcountry trails. The striking scenery found in Rocky Mountain National Park is enough to make John Denver weep, and with good reason.
The state is also home to one of America’s greatest breweries: Great Divide. Named after the Continental Divide that runs through the western half of the state and into the Rocky Mountain National Park, Great Divide offers a wide variety of creative and well crafted brews, including the award-winning Oatmeal Yeti Imperial Stout — one of the most fantastic beers that man has ever dared to dream up.
If there was a beer that could die for the sins of all other beers, it would be this stout. The Yeti has an unmistakable dark fruit character that softens the robust nature common to regularly brewed stouts. It’s this artful complexity that makes the Yeti the ideal beer to gulp down in the varied wilderness of the Rocky Mountain National Park. And, legend has it, that if you drink a Yeti in the forest then you might actually see a Yeti in real life.
Taste BerkeleyBrewery’s Trumer Pils in Yosemite National Park
Since 1864, Yosemite National Park has conserved almost 1,200 square miles of breathtaking waterfalls, dramatic valleys, serene meadows, and ancient sequoias. Even among its National Park cohorts, Yosemite is known as a particularly clean, clear, and pristine patch of land. It’s also home to Half-Dome — the genesis point for America’s rock climbing obsession.
The Trumer Pils pilsner makes the perfect pairing here. It’s a German-style beer that was created in Austria and originally consumed almost entirely in Salzburg. It wasn’t until 2004 that a brewery was built in California to bring the pilsner to an American market. It’s hoppy bitterness, intense carbonation, and light body make it a superb choice after a long hike in the Sierra Nevada Mountains. And, like the air in Yosemite herself, Trumer Pils is clean, crisp, and mightily refreshing.
Savor Snake River Brewery’s Good Alt Days in Yellowstone National Park
Yellowstone National Park is famously the first National Park in U.S. history, signed into law by President Ulysses S. Grant in 1872. It’s a park that is known for a dense wildlife population as well as several geothermal springs, most celebrated of which is the Old Faithful Geyser.
Nothing works up a thirst quite like watching 8,000 gallons of water erupt from a hole in the earth, which is why you should take a six pack of Good Alt Days with you whenever you’re exploring Yellowstone. Its recipe is taken from famous Dusseldorf beers brewed in the old German style of small batch beers. It’s medium-bodied with a balanced mix of nutty and sweet flavors, all topped with a clean, crisp finish. These earthy notes reflect the rugged expanses enclosed in Yellowstone, and taste just as sweet as the mist from one of the park’s many natural geysers (which you probably shouldn’t taste…and may not taste sweet at all, being high in sulfur content).