By Ryan Miloshewski
Every outdoorsman loves a good cocktail at the end of the day’s hunting or fishing trip. So for the second edition of “Milo’s Top 10”, I have power ranked the best alcohol/beer to enjoy when you are at hunting camp, hiking, or just in the great outdoors in general. I’ve also included my recommended “activities” to pair with each outdoor drink.
*Do not under any circumstances drink these while you are hunting or handling a gun. That’s a recipe for disaster. Save these beverages for when you’re done. They taste better then anyway.*
10) Tito’s Vodka (80 proof)
-I don’t fancy myself a drinker of the Russian nectar, but Tito’s is a good one. Many of my friends have a glass of Tito’s and tonic after a long day hunting, so I’ll include it on this list. I just have a tough time thinking of anybody that drinks vodka who isn’t a 18 year old college girl (they’re partial to Burnett’s, if my memory is correct). However, if there ever was a vodka outdoorsmen should enjoy, it’s Tito’s.
Activities: taking a hike in the winter woods with your significant other
9) Bird Dog Whiskey (80 proof)
-I first tried Bird Dog last year after a rainy, unproductive deer hunt. And let me tell you, for a blended whiskey it is good. I tried the apple flavor and it wasn’t too sweet (like that swill Crown Royal) and had the right amount of balance between whiskey and flavoring. It’s good for a couple shots or glasses on the rocks, but that’s about it. Overall a good whiskey to drink on the back of the tailgate with your pheasants or quail from the day’s hunt.
Activities: upland bird hunting, duck hunting, rabbit hunting
8) Hiram Walker Blackberry Brandy (70 proof)
-I was wading below Table Rock Dam fly fishing Lake Taneycomo when I had my first taste of blackberry brandy. I was 7 years old and it was freezing rain. My grandpa noticed I was freezing, and being prepared, he waded over and told me to take a little bitty sip. I did, and it barely touched my lips before my mouth was burning. I immediately blabbed to the whole family I just had my first drink..at age seven. But I digress. Once I finally reached the legal drinking age, Blackberry brandy became a staple in my fly fishing trips from then on out. Whenever the sleet starts falling while you’re on your favorite trout stream, make sure you have a pint of this handy to warm your body and soul.
Activities: fly fishing
7) Schlafly Can Sessions IPA (5% a/v, 30 IBUs)
-I first tried this beer after I almost blew my thumb off this past fall (story for another time), and man did it taste good with the mix of pain coursing through me and the crisp, cool air. I tried this after deer hunting again this year, and it just fits. There’s something about the hoppiness that tastes great with the atmosphere of the woods. This is a good beer to drink when you get back to camp after a long hike out of the deer woods.
Activities: deer hunting
6) Deschutes Mirror Pond Pale Ale (5% a/v, 40 IBUs)
-This is a fantastic beer to drink while you’re floating on the water, just taking in the scenery with your buddies or significant other. This beer simply works with being on the water, and not just because of the name. The floral, citrus and caramel notes pair well with the smell of the water on a fall day.
Activities: fishing, boating
5) Boulevard 80-Acre Hoppy Wheat (5.5% a/v)
-Boulevard makes good beer–simple as that. Most of them you would not think of pairing with an outdoor activity, though. But, I think Hoppy Wheat is one of the best “outdoor beers” on the market. I’ll admit it tasted the best to me while fishing in the summer on a bright, sunny day. It’s definitely a summer beer for all intents and purposes. But, the hoppiness of it makes it a good fall beer at times, too. After bird hunting or rabbit hunting, or any activity where you do a lot of walking in the woods, would be the best time to drink this bad boy.
Activities: hiking, upland bird hunting, rabbit hunting, squirrel hunting
4) 4 Hands Chocolate Milk Stout (5.5% a/v)
-This brewery, 4 Hands, is slowly becoming my favorite out of St. Louis. They put Schafly, O’Fallon, and Urban Chestnut to shame. Every beer I’ve had is great. Drink this on the banks of a trout stream or pond during a break in the action. Trust me, you can’t beat it.
Activities: trout fishing
3) Johnnie Walker Black Label (80 proof)
-If there were ever a drink to enjoy while sitting in your cabin, around a fire, with the snow falling outside, Johnnie Black would be it. The smokiness of this scotch pairs amazingly with relaxation by a fire in the dead of winter. Scotch isn’t for everyone, but I’d be hard pressed to find any outdoorsmen that would not like a glass of Johnnie on the rocks while drying out after a snow-filled hunt.
Activities: duck hunting, deer hunting, upland bird hunting, fishing
2) Busch Light (4.1% a/v)
-Ahh, yes, the sweet nectar of the gods that is Busch Light. Some people claim it’s a “redneck beer,” or a “beer you drink while you scream at your wife.” But they couldn’t be more wrong. It trumps any other light beer out there as is, but it tastes especially great when you’re done turkey hunting, fishing, deer hunting, or just about anything else we do as outdoorsmen. The lightness doesn’t fill you up, and almost gives you a hydrated feeling when you tiredly wander back to camp. One sip of this elixir will have you feeling like you should.
Activities: ANY outdoor activity
1 )Jack Daniels (80 proof)
-The undisputed heavy weight champion of the world when it comes to outdoor drinks. There’s absolutely nothing like sipping on Jack Daniels while sitting around a fire with your boys after a day hunting or fishing. The burn, the mellowness, the charcoal notes–all of it–makes you wonder what outdoorsmen did before it. But be careful! As Eric Church says in his appropriately named song, “Jack Daniels”: “He don’t fight fair like daddy taught me to.”
Activities: sitting around an outdoor fire
Drink responsibly, but don’t miss out on these drinks to enjoy in the great outdoors next time you can! You won’t be disappointed!