I don't expect everyone to agree, but I believe that the winter is the best time for camping. You don't need to mess around with hiking a long while to find your campsite; winter is perfect for drive-up camping. Just pack up your car, drive to your destination, pull up, and pitch a tent. In the winter, camping areas are typically less crowded, you can cook heartier meals without too much guilt, and you don't have to worry about it being too hot to fall asleep. Plus, few things beat sitting around a warm fire on a cold night and drinking a few beers with your friends.
You'll have to pick your destination, but we can help you out with some beer recommendations for cold weather camping. All of the selections below are available in cans because they are easier to transport and cans decrease the odds of breaking glass or dropping a bottle cap. We at MTP are serious about Leave No Trace, which means that the only thing you should be leaving behind are your footsteps. You'll have to pack up all your garbage and dispose of it in proper receptacles, which makes cans the obvious choice for winter camping. Anyway, here we go with the top picks.
Bell's Winter White Ale (Witbier) - 5% ABV / Beer Advocate Score: 83
This beer is fermented with a Belgian ale yeast and features a blend of barley and wheat malts. Though winter ales are typically darker and heavier, the Winter White Ale offers a lighter yet flavorful alternative. The beer features a mixture of clove and fruity aromas without the addition of spices. It's deliberately brewed to retain a cloudy appearance, so don't be alarmed by the cloudiness- that just means it's brewed the way it was intended.
Oskar Blues Brewing Ten FIDY (Russian Imperial Stout) - 10.50% / Beer Advocate Score: 96
If you decide that you'd rather hike in to your site as opposed to doing a drive-up, you'll want to pack as lightly as possible. A few cases of beer can get heavy fast. At 10.50% ABV, you won't need more than a couple of these to feel good around the campfire. The Ten FIDY is a wintery blend of chocolate covered caramel and coffee. Crafted with an enormous amount of two-row malt, chocolate malt, roasted barley, flaked oats, and hops, this beer is a perfect balance of robust flavor.
Evil Twin Brewing Hipster Ale (American Pale Ale) - 5.5% ABV / Beer Advocate Score: 83
If you couldn't tell from the name of the beer, this selection is brought to us from a brewery in Brooklyn. The Hipster Ale is fair balance of bitter citrus and floral hops with the sweet grainy malt. It has a solid hop presence with subtle notes of pine and earthiness. This beer is on the lighter side and good for a few rounds.
Big Sky Brewing Company Moose Drool Brown Ale (American Brown Ale) - 5.1% ABV / Beer Advocate Score: 84
The description of this beer reads like a milkshake: chocolate brown in color with a creamy texture. Moose Drool is a malty beer with enough hops to prevent it from being overly sweet. It's brewed with pale, caramel, chocolate, and whole black malts. With low/medium carbonation and the highly aromatic flavors, this beer is hard to put down.
Two Roads Brewing Company Honeyspot Road White IPA (American IPA) - 6% ABV / Beer Advocate Score: 83
Though this beer isn't necessarily intended as a winter brew, that doesn't mean that it doesn't belong tucked in the snow next to your campsite. The Honeyspot Road has consistently been one of my go-to beers for each season. This interpretation of an American IPA is unfiltered and uses wheat to create a slightly cloudy IPA that really brings out the flavor of the cistrusy hops. The beer has a lemony crisp aroma with a hint of sweetness. It is masterful in showcasing the flavors of honey and slight fruitiness without being overbearing.
Those are my top 5 picks for winter '16. If you have any suggestions for something that should be featured, just use #MTPBeerRun on twitter, fb, or insta for the chance to be featured.