Microbrews in the Backcounty

GEAR REVIEW - Pat's Backcountry Beverages fills my world with unicorns and rainbows, oh and beer.

Hiked in 9+ miles to your base camp and craving a cold one?  Yeah, tell me about it!  My pack is already busting at the seems with gear on my outdoor exploits, so hauling a six pack in to the backcountry doesn’t quite work from a weight/functionality standpoint.  This is where the Denver-based microbrewery geniuses, Pat’s Backcountry Beverages, fills my world with unicorns and rainbows, oh AND BEER.  I’m actually quite certain they have a more interesting man than Dos Equis’ most interesting man.  Let me explain.

Pat’s Backcountry Beverages uses vacuum-distilling to transform beer into syrup, a 1. 7 oz packet, 10% the volume of a pint. The magic happens when you combine their 1.7-ounce magic syrup packet, filtered H2O, and a CO2-producing catalyst to their Carbonator Bottle—a heavy duty plastic water bottle reminiscent of a nalgene with a few bells and whistles making the whole carbonation process possible. A few shakes and two minutes, you have a frothy cold microbrew in your dirty paws. And it tastes better than many microbrews I’ve ordered out at popular LA or Portland brew pubs.  The carbonation is it’s only downfall, while it is carbonated, I have not gotten it as carbonated as a cold one you just popped the top off, but this is nit picking and doesn’t dock any awesome points off Pat’s Backcountry Brews.

Enjoying a Pat's Backcountry Brew at the Hornlihutte

Enjoying a Pat’s Backcountry Black Hops brew at the base of the Matterhorn, the night prior to climbing it’s North Face.

How It Works

What you need:

  • The Hard Goods – Carbonator Bottle and Activator Packets

The Hard Goods - Carbonator Bottle and Activator Packets

  • Backcountry beverage of choice

The Process:

  1. Add water to carbonator bottle (~6oz), the colder the better
  2. Attach cap (sans blue reaction cup)
  3. Turn sealed carbonator bottle upside down
  4. Unlock lever and pump to 45 degrees until a water stream shoots up (~6 times)
  5. Lock lever back in place and flip carbonator bottle back upright
  6. Empty contents of brew concentrate into carbonator and fill with water to 16oz mark on bottle
  7. Open and dump contents of activator packet into reaction cup
  8. Securely reattach reaction cup to carbonator bottle cap and then that to the carbonator bottle
  9. Unlock lever, pump it about 6 times to 45 degrees, re-lock lever
  10. Shake magical beverage side to side for about 2 minutes and then set aside for 1 minute
  11. Unlock lever, lift lever beyond 45 degrees to near 90 degrees releasing pressure
  12. Unscrew cap and enjoy your backcountry brew!!

The Process in Pictures:

The first few backcountry beer making attempts have a bit of a learning curve to conquer, but have no fear – Pat’s Backcountry Beverages has an easy to follow video on how to use their set-up to make your very own backcountry carbonated brewskis. Two beer concentrates are currently available, a sweet ale, Pale Rail (5.2% ABV), and a malty Black Hops (6.1% ABV), with the latter being my go-to backcountry brew. The packets are $10 for a set of four, so each beer costs about as much as a Bud Light during happy hour. Pat’s also makes all-natural soda concentrates for those purveyours of the non-alcoholic pop variety.


Bottom Line –  Pat’s Backcountry Beverages brings the ol’ pub to the backcountry without muling in a keg on ye ol back.  

Addict Disclaimer – Thrillseekers Anonymous was provided with Pat’s Backcountry Beverages for this review. The opinions expressed above are my own and reflect my experience with Pat’s Backcountry Beverages.  No one can buy my love!

Article by

Ilana is a native of Southern California. She is an accomplished rock and ice climber and is the brains behind Thrillseekers Anonymous. Currently residing in Colorado, she is a Registered Surgical/Trauma Nurse, who can be found leading her own adventures on days off. Ilana is a sponsored athlete with GoMacro, WoolX, and an Arcteryx Denver ambassador. She has been featured in various media outlets including the February 2015 issue of ‘Climbing’ magazine, December 2013 issue of ‘Rock and Ice’ magazine, December/January 2013 issue of ‘Gripped Climbing’ magazine, Canyoneering: A Guide to Techniques for Wet and Dry Canyons (How To Climb Series) by Dave Black and Pasadena Magazine as well as a Climbing Expert on MTV’s Parental Control (Season 7 – “Heather”).

Ilana has written 110 articles for Thrillseekers Anonymous.

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