Maybe it’s the cool refreshing water, the spray of white foam or the touch of hot sun. Being out on the river has long inspired brewers and breweries, and for good reason. There’s little better than a cold pint or the crack of an icy can after a long day rafting or kayaking. Here are just a few of our favorite post-paddle beers brewed with the river in mind.
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Enjoy a Post-paddle Beer from These River-Loving Breweries
1) EDDYLINE BREWERY | BUENA VISTA, CO
Not only does the name of this brewery pay homage to one of the most prominent features of any river, Eddyline Brewery’s featured beers will appeal to paddlers—and drinkers—across the spectrum. From their 5.6% ABV River Runners Pale Ale to the mellow 4.5% ABV Pilsner known simply as Boater Beer, there’s something for every kind of beer-loving river rat out there.
2) SOLID GROUND BREWERY | DIAMOND SPRINGS, CA
A true craft brewery, Solid Ground founders Scott and KC bring a winemaker’s nuance to the beer brewing process. Known for their barrel-aging and traditional techniques, Solid Ground is smack dab in the middle of Central California’s rafting country. Their 8.6% ABV Satan’s Cesspool Double IPA—named for the South Fork of the American River’s most fearsome rapid—rings of the two brewers’ river knowledge as well as a mastery of hops and barley.
3) WHITEWATER BREWING | ONTARIO
This Canadian brewery has a couple of standouts for water folks. The Whistling Paddler, a 4.5% ABV English Style Ale, has a happy-go-lucky vibe that will appeal to all people who know that life is better on the river. Whitewater Brewing‘s other whitewater-inspired beer is the 5.5% ABV Class V IPA, which, as the name suggests, doesn’t mess around.
4) GOOD RIVER BEER | DENVER, CO
The name almost says it all. Good River was founded by Adam Odoski, Preston Hartman and Eric Zarkovich’s in honor of their shared love for rivers everywhere. Preston and Adam met on a 9-day trip on Utah’s Green River. Now, their beers, like 8.9% ABV Fu Fighter Belgian Golden Ale, named for Chile’s Futaleufu River, are all river themed.
5) WHITETOOTH BREWING | GOLDEN, BRITISH COLUMBIA
One look at the 5.5% ABV Thread the Needle’s beautiful label of a kayak sending a serious waterfall should have any paddler sold, but luckily this Belgian-inspired witbier’s refreshing drinkability holds up to what is promised by the enticing graphics. Whitetooth Brewing is also heavily influenced by the hop-obsessed West Coast, giving their beers a modern take on traditional beers.
6) PAYETTE BREWING COMPANY | BOISE, ID
There’s a lot to love about this Boise brewery and their river-inspired beers definitely don’t disappoint. The 4.4% ABV North Fork Lager is smooth but exciting, just like your favorite stretch of river that you come back to again and again. River lovers should also get a kick out of Payette Brewing Company’s Fly Line Vienna Lager. It’s refreshing crispness is complemented nicely by a mildly malty finish.
7) MAD RIVER | HUMBOLDT COUNTY, CA
One of the things about Mad River’s 4.8% River Days Session IPA is that it packs in a bunch of flavor that makes hop heads happy while staying mellow in terms of alcohol percentage. It’s a well-balanced, full-bodied beer you can drink without getting too tipsy too fast.
8) ODELL BREWING CO. | FORT COLLINS, CO
Odell Brewing’s 6.5% ABV Runoff Red IPA is a nod to spring snowmelt, which all paddlers know is an amazing time to get stoked on early season runs. It features a complex maltiness with notes of citrus and pine for those who like a little heavier beer with plenty of hops.
Explore Beer Trips with OARS
Dylan Silver contributed to the latest version of this article.
Photos: Rafting and beer tasting trip on the Tuolumne River – Jason Smith; Rafter enjoying a post-paddle beer – Jason Smith; Good River Beer – Good River; North Fork Lager – Payette Brewing Company