Beer and fly fishing go hand in hand. While top shelf scotch may go well with a soggy day of waking dry flies for steelhead and a fine wine pairs well with fine tippets and spring creek risers and perhaps a boat drink complete with a miniature umbrella is called for after a day of chasing tailing bonefish, when it comes down to brass tacks, beer is what most anglers reach for after the hatch. A cooler full of Buds or PBRs may be fine for hipsters, penniless guides or watching football when the fishing sucks, but a fly fisherman with any type of soul and self-esteem will reach for something with a little more class and character.
Here’s list of a few beers that do an admirable job of helping you forget a tough day when the fish beat you up or help you celebrate a day of risers or tailers as far as the eye can see. This won’t be the last beer blog and I’m sure we can generate some comments and suggestions so feel free to chime in on the VVA website or Facebook page.
Best Beer for Celebrating a Flats Grand Slam: Belikin
I have to admit I am partial to this tasty Belizean brew. I heartily celebrated landing a giant tarpon, three permit and plenty of bonefish in a single day with this beer and it always tastes special. Hints of caramel and chocolate in a bombproof bottle make for good times. You can drink a hundred of these in a day and be ready for an early morning run to a secret tarpon edge. Drink as cold as possible. Try to wait until the heat of the day to enjoy your first Belikin of the day! It will be hard.
Best Beer for Hitting the Hatch: EddyLine Brewing Company Boater Beer
The Eagle River is home to a few rapids that always make me pucker up a little during high water season but when the caddis are hatching and trout are rising everywhere, rowing a little class four whitewater is well worth the risk. Hefty 16 ounce cans will be appreciated after a hard day’s work on the big water. Solid but light summer flavor is best enjoyed super cold on a hot day. This crisp pilsner is a fine product of a local Colorado brewery located on the banks of the Arkansas River. Fill cooler with ice and Boater Beer and enjoy.
Best Beer for Saving Trout and their Habitat: Upslope Brewing Craft Lager
They aren’t making any more trout streams full of wild fish and clean water but there are breweries that are making beer and helping the environment. Anglers can feel good about enjoying a few Upslope Craft lagers after chasing trout all day in clear, cold water and prime, pristine habitat. Brewed near Denver, a percentage of Craft Lager sales goes to Trout Unlimited to preserve and protect coldwater fisheries and watersheds. This Colorado style lager is light and crisp but has a full flavor that drinks well all year.
Best Beer for a Rainy Day and Muddy Water: Fish Tale Brewing Company Trout Stout
Every angler worth a damn knows that trout bite best when the weather is worst. So after working the fish over under dark, wet skies try a Trout Stout when you head inside because your fingers are too cold to tie a knot. This dark beer is only brewed during the cooler months and is best enjoyed with a fine meal of wild game or seafood next to crackling fire. Roasted coffee flavors and a hefty body will stay with you while you dream of bluebird skies and rising trout. Wool sweaters and cloudy skies mandatory!
These are just a few of the beers that anglers can enjoy when the fishing day comes to an end. Close to Vail Valley Anglers we have a couple of microbreweries we can highly recommend. Across the street from the shop in Edwards is Gore Range Brewery who partnered up with us in the summer for special events. Downstream in the town of Eagle is Bonfire Brewing which shows off an extensive list of beer flavors and styles including my favorites Demshitz Brown Ale and Brush Creek Blonde which is brewed with water directly from the namesake little trout stream in our backyard. They have beers for any angler in any season. Enjoy responsibly and keep it safe out there on the water!
Brody Henderson, Senior Guide and Web Content Writer