Get access to everything we publish when you sign up for Outside+.
It’s no secret that the craft beer and outdoor industries often collide. SNEWS has featured a number of hybrid stores in the #CoolShop column, including The Hub & Pisgah Tavern in North Carolina, Colorado-based Shoes & Brews, and Escalante Outfitters, which exclusively serves local brews from Utah.
For these select stores, it was a no brainer to offer beer on tap. It’s a simple way to draw people in, keep them lingering longer, and get them chatting. So much about the outdoors is about bringing people together and building community—just as it is in the craft beer industry.
Looking for a new beer to taste? Here’s our list of 10 outdoor-inspired beers.
Black Dome Mountain Sports | Asheville, North Carolina
For the 50th anniversary of the first ascent of a Yosemite climb called The Nose, people celebrated at Black Dome Mountain Sports in Asheville, North Carolina. Fortunately, the store’s six taps, along with a variety of cans and bottles, kept the party going. Manager Deb Thomas says customers can expect local brews, such as Boojum Brewery, Wicked Weed Brewing, Hi-Wire Brewing, Highland Brewing Company, and Ginger’s Revenge. “Having beer is a great addition to fundraisers we host,” says Thomas. Recent fundraisers include an event for Carolina Climbing Coalition and a 26-mile sponsored hike from the Make-A-Wish foundation.
Redpoint Climbing Store | Terrebonne, Oregon
Redpoint Climbing Store co-owners Eric Bostard and Gwen Hobbs, who are husband and wife, installed taps in the store for one reason–they wanted the space to serve as a hang out for local and visiting climbers. With a sitting area both in the shop and on the back patio, there are 15 taps, which always have one dedicated to nitro beer (a nitrogenized beer that gives it a creamier texture), three to IPAs, and two to gluten-free options. The rest rotate between different styles (ambers, stouts, and so on) along with taps for kombucha and soda. “We’ve gotten to know the local community, and we were really excited to bring back the old feeling of the shop as a climber’s hang out,” says Bostard.
Rocky Mountain Underground | Breckenridge, Colorado
The beer isn’t afterthought at Rocky Mountain Underground in Breckenridge, Colorado. While half the building is a ski shop, the other half is a full bar with taps from all over. There’s support for Colorado beers, especially for nearby Broken Compass, Outer Range, and South Park, for example, but it’s definitely not limited to the state. “If it’s good, we’ll put it on tap,” says RMU marketing Suzy Wasick. “We’ve tried to create a space where everyone feels welcome and can enjoy a beer and talk about the mountain activities we all love,” she says. There’s also a beer garden in the backyard that is open in the summer where live music plays four days a week and morning yoga classes are held three days a week.
Eurosports | Sisters, Oregon
Eurosports Owner Brad Boyd says serving beer boots business. “People don’t need a new bike or new skis every week, but they can come in a few times a week to get a beer,” says Boyd. “Once people start hanging out, when it’s time to rent skis or get a bike, we’re on the top of their list.” Besides building a community, another important factor is encouraging the customer to buy local. “We try to bring in beer that people aren’t going to find elsewhere,” he says. “We want to help the new brewers and give the smaller players a chance.” The six taps and 30 bottles include options from Sunriver Brewing Co., Mazama Brewing, and Sam Bond’s Brewing.
Bryson City Outdoors | Bryson City, North Carolina
“Most of the people who end up in Bryson City, whether to live or just to play, are active and community-minded,” says Bryson City Outdoors co-owner and beer buyer Liz Nance. “Folks wrap up a good mountain bike ride at Tsali or a kayak trip at the lake right here at our taproom.” Ten taps and more than 70 hard-to-find bottles and cans are available at the bar. “We are excited to offer locals and visitors a selection of craft beers that you cannot otherwise find in the Bryson City area,” Nance says. The taproom has become a place to end outdoor adventures and meet new people with the same interests.
3 Rivers Outdoor Co. | Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Even though 3 Rivers Outdoor Co. just opened in Pittsburgh a week ago, co-owner Christine Iksic is already in the process of setting up taps. Customers can expect to find a variety of beer styles and breweries from around the state. “I think beer and gear go hand in hand,” says Iksic. “Lots of folks love to gather after an outdoor activity and have a beer to share the experiences of the day.” Iksic says that having beer in the store is an important to being seen as a hub for the local outdoor community. “We want to be a place where experiences and stories are told and shared, and our customers not only find the right products, but hopefully find new friends, new running buddies, or boating partners, and so on.”
Flywheel Bicycle Solutions | Talent, Oregon
Flywheel Bicycle Solutions Owner Ian Bagshaw set up a seating area with a bar around the repair area so customers could watch the team work. “Enough people said, ‘This bar sure makes it feel like I should be able to order a beer,’ that I gave it a shot,” says Bagshaw. Eight taps change regularly, and usually consist of West Coast microbrews. “It makes the shop less of just a retail establishment and more of a hang out,” he says. To make the set-up even sweeter, he recently had True South Solar install a 100-percent offset system, so all the beer is now chilled by the sun.
Sunlight Sports | Cody, Wyoming
Unlike other stores, Sunlight Sports doesn’t just have beers on tap from established breweries, they also encourage submissions from home brewers. In the photo, Jarren Kuipers, who is the head of the local home brewer’s association, shares two of his beers with the Cody, Wyoming, store. There’s also local breweries, such as Wild West Brewery, Melvin Brewery, and Black Tooth Brewery. But in order to get the beer, which is free, customers are required to own a special pint gifted to them at a community event night. Alternatively, people can purchase a pint glass for $12.95, which is all donated to local nonprofits that encourage kids to get outside. “My hope is to be a place where people hang out,” says owner Wes Allen. “Last week, we had a group planning their next adventure over beers. That’s exactly what we want.”
Crow’s Feet Commons | Bend, OR
Crow’s Feet Commons Owner David Marchi is pictured pouring a local beer in the Bend, Oregon, store. While browsing the latest bikes and ski gear, customers can enjoy brews from Central Oregon as well as all over the world, along with a cider. “Outdoor people love elixirs,” says manager David Sword. “There is a social component with drinking that suits those who adventure–ride, ski, or climb.” Sword’s advice for other outdoor stores that want to incorporate beer in the business is to check out state laws regarding taps, especially the regulations around selling versus sampling. “We don’t sell beer and cider in the shop. We only offer 4-ounce samples free of charge,” he says. “It shouldn’t be a central focus of the shop, just a great addition to your customer service.” People can also pay to fill a growler to-go.
Outdoor 76 | Franklin, NC
Opening an in-store taproom was partly why the Outdoor 76 owners were inspired to move from an 1,800-square-foot retail shop to a 5,000-square-foot building in 2013. Over the years, the tap area has grown to feature three North Carolina beers to 18 craft draft beers and 15 bottled beers from across the country. The area also features dart boards, a shuffleboard table, 60-inch projector TV, and a stage for music. “When we opened up our tap room, we knew that the outdoor industry and craft beer went hand and hand,” says co-owner Cory McCall. “The first thing we want when we come out of the wilderness is beer and good food. Food would be a hard area to fulfill since we are limited on space, so we decided to stick to what we know–craft beer.” Current tap room favorites are a Black Raspberry Sour from Deschutes Brewery, a Delicious IPA from Stone Brewery, and a Wayah Lager from Currahee Brewing Company.