The Thirsty Beagle: Pat's Backcountry Beverages a novel addition to camping trip

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Pat's Backcountry Beverages a novel addition to camping trip

Pat, I'm sorry.

Sometimes all you can do is ask for forgiveness. That's what I'm doing when it comes to Pat Tatera, the creator and founder of Pat's Backcountry Beverages.

The company sells make-your-own beer kits targeted to hikers and campers who are in the backcountry and don't want to carry several cans or bottles of beer with them.

Tatera's system features a special carbonator bottle and cap, beer concentrate packets and pouches of citric acid and potassium bicarbonate used to carbonate the beer.

I know this because Tatera sent all of this to me. Last year. But up until this weekend, I hadn't put any of it to use. Yikes.

So that's why I'm sorry. I honestly did intend to take all the gear out and give it a test run right when Tatera sent it to me. But I forgot to pack it for a camping trip, and then just kept putting it off. Well, I feel pretty lousy about that.

This past weekend, with a trip to Red Rock Canyon State Park on the slate, I made sure to add the kit to my packing list and finally put it to the test.

So, it's much delayed, but here is my better-late-than-never review of Pat's Backcountry Beverages.

The kit is simple enough, and the advantages for hiking or backpacking are easy enough to see. If you can provide the water -- either through carrying your own water or sourcing and filtering water you find on the trail -- then you have very little that will weigh you down.

Your first step is to add a little water to the bottle, screw on the cap, flip the bottle upside down and prime the cap to bring water into the chamber. 

Then you add your beer concentrate and top the bottle off to the 16 oz. mark.

Next, you add your carbonation powders to the small carbonation chamber, screw it into the bottom of the lid and attach both back to the bottle.

You then prime the lid again to add water to the small chamber to activate the carbonation powders, shake the bottle back and forth for two minutes, and then let it sit for another two minutes.

And when you're done with that, you pop the lid and the beer is ready to drink:

The whole process took no more than five or so minutes -- it was really simple to execute. All that is fine and dandy, but of course you're asking the main question: Is the beer any good?

I found the carbonation to be spot on, which was impressive considering I just fired it up in like five minutes. I tried two flavors -- Pale Rail and Black Hops. I found a common theme with both was that the beers lacked a little bit in the body/mouthfeel department, but in the all-important flavor category, these actually came off pretty well -- and my concentrate packs had been sitting at room temperature for about a year, so there's no telling how much better fresh product would taste.

The beers were quite drinkable, and while they may have lacked the pizazz of a freshly canned IPA, they certainly were better than some beers you could pick up at your local liquor store.

And of course they were just kind of fun to do -- it really was pretty novel to fire up a beer from scratch in five minutes at the campsite.

So, thanks Pat, even though I'm way late.

You can find more info, including how to order, at the Pat's Backcountry Beverages website.

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