Camping With Cans
Imbibing your way through New Mexico’s outdoor beauty
By Hosho McCreesh
Having recently rediscovered my Official Boy Scout Training Manual and the camping preparation lists contained therein, I was astonished to find that beer was not an integral part of any pre-camping logistics. My guess is that it’s either: 1) a glaring oversight on the part of the entire Boy Scouts organization or 2) simply a byproduct of the book being intended for children. Whatever the case, it's high time we put an end to this travesty and trade in that outdated text for an Official Man Scouts Training Manual. Because what Man Scouts clearly need for each and every outing is beer.
Now, short of having a 4WD mechanized riding-cooler, it takes hard work and intense preparation to get said beer to said camping spot safely. All too often the precious cargo is packed in glass bottles, making moving our Man Scouts provisions tantamount to jostling unstable dynamite à la The Wages of Fear. Thank the stars a handful of our state's finest and most insightful breweries have had the good sense to put their delicious artillery in handy aluminum carrying cases. So if a hike-up/stumble-down a gorgeous New Mexico park or peak is on your agenda, here's a handy-dandy list of local canned beers, plus spots you and your fellow revelers can tackle in the great (nearby) outdoors.
Looking for a weekend away? Why not load up a cooler with a grip of Almanac IPA, Farmer's Tan Red Ale and Milk Mustachio Stout from Tractor Brewing Co., and head out to Bluewater Lake State Park (Reserve your spot at: bit.ly/1wRCMtD).
I have it on the highest authority that at Bluewater you can—if not in need of electrical hookups and such comforts—camp right on the lake. Be careful, though, as one trip may prove to be a gateway drug, and you’ll return time and again to enjoy the hiking, boating (no rentals, so bring your own) and reveling in the sheer majesty of New Mexico. Plus, with a lake so close by, this makes an excellent spot to test my former Scoutmaster Bob’s theory that campfires should never be started with gasoline. We’ll see, Bob; we’ll find out once and for all who’s right.
If finances allow, you might hire a team of Sherpas to help schlep your 4-packs of A Slice of Hefen, Elevated IPA and/or Malpais Stout tallboys from La Cumbre Brewing Co. up Tetilla Peak near Cochiti Lake (1.usa.gov/1nOggwe). Unsure of which beer to bring? Take Marissa (a cashier at our friendly, local, gigantic booze-emporium) at her word and go with the Hefeweizen. Being summer, it definitely gets my vote too—though La Cumbre won’t ever steer us wrong. Your troop can stumble all over the lake and shore proper. My voluntary nomad Nancy LaTurner tells me that the Tetilla Peak campground has crappers, plus a decent coin-operated shower, so dig up some change from the couch cushions. Now if we can only get those Boy Scouts to accurately represent the values they claim to espouse regardless of race, credo and sexual orientation, then we’ll be doing great.
Marble Brewery has, for a desert campaign to Cerrillos Hills State Park (bit.ly/1p88Dog), seen fit to package their India Pale Ale, and their Pilsner in cans as well. We no longer need to drag our weary near-corpses like Lawrence of Arabia to the officer’s bar for a glass of lemonade. We can have our beer and drink it too. Be it hiking, biking or horseback riding, our journey should be nothing like crossing the Sinai on camelback, so no need to plan your restroom stops ahead of time. Because unlike my week-long stay at Camp Frank Rand, Cerrillos Hills is close enough to make for an afternoon jaunt that will hopefully find most folks there and back before nature comes a-calling. No need to desperately hold your guts to the point of impaction for fear of what might be found in the chemical toilets. You hear that, bowels? Nothing has been written!
Perhaps your child-friendly, quasi-military excursions require Santa Fe Brewing Company’s wares? If so, the quartermaster should load your cooler with their Freestyle Pilsner, their Happy Camper IPA, their Irish Red Ale or their Imperial Java Stout (or, later, seasonals like their Saison 88, Black IPA or the Oktoberfest)—the perfect canned ordinance for an all out assault on La Bajada. (Info here: bit.ly/1wRElaI) And hell, seeing as you’re halfway there when you’re done hiking, why not press on to the City Different afterwards and sample some of the fine dining to be had there? We’ll suffer no more of Scoutmaster Bob’s signature oatmeal and ketchup, mes amis.
Or maybe you just pack up a few Kelly's Amber or IPAs and drive to the Jemez or even the back side of the Sandias? It’ll get you out of the city for a few hours and replace the stink with a lovely little pine-scented perfume. You could even bring along an axe and prove once and for all that it was unfair for Scoutmaster Bob to take your entire Totin’ Chip (not just a corner) for an overhead axe-throwing infraction. Truth is—had he simply embraced axe chucking as a merit-badge-worthy pursuit—you would’ve (and still can) breeze through the requirements. Remember, “safety first”: So plan on about five feet per rotation, and huck the bladed heft in a linear manner, refusing to be distracted by the drunken whorl of the axe handle.
After any of these worthwhile trips, the only challenge that remains is carrying out all our dead soldiers (read: empties)—because only booger-eating monsters refuse to practice Leave No Trace camping. Tally-ho!
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