Going camping doesn’t mean leaving your palate at home with many of the conveniences of modern life. You may not bring your table linens with you, but that doesn’t mean you can’t put a little thought into ensuring that even the most common camping foods have something delicious in a glass to complement them.
For this list of camping wine and beer pairings, we turned to our friends, Bret and Andrea, for guidance. Here are some recommendations they gave when it comes to uncapping or uncorking something drinkable to go with that classic outdoorsy dish:
Grilled Beef / Hamburgers / Hobo Stew
Recommendation: Cabernet sauvignon is a classic wine match for beef, but to accentuate the smokiness, try a syrah or malbec. Beerwise, try something dark with roasted malts, such as a porter or stout.
Grilled Pork or Chicken
Depending on the preparation, a lighter meat generally calls for a lighter wine. Go for a pinot noir or a robust white, such as chardonnay or dry viognier. If your preparation is spicy, stick with a white or a medium-bodied beer: a pale ale or your favorite Belgian brew.
If spicy, try an earthy red like tempranillo. If mild, try a medium-bodied white, perhaps an off-dry (i.e. slightly sweet) riesling. A German beer would be a great choice as well. If your sausage is a hot dog, definitely stick with beer.
White wines generally work best here. Chardonnay goes well with rich, fatty fish or anything that’s been breaded. For a simple preparation with lemon, there’s a world of crisp, bright white wines that will work wonderfully: Sauvignon blanc is familiar, but if you're feeling adventurous, branch out and try a muscadet or vinho verde. Any beer on the lighter end of the spectrum should work as well. If you caught the fish, have someone else open the bottle and serve you the first pour. This is doubly the case if you’re cooking the fish, too.
Anything with Sweet Barbecue Sauce
The sugar in the sauce pushes you toward a fruitier wine, perhaps a zinfandel, Rhone red (like grenache), or a young merlot.
The richness of this dish makes it want the same sort of robust wines and beers that would match with the beef dishes listed above. If your chili has much kick, be forewarned that spicy food can clash with a high alcohol content in wine. Look for a dark red that shows a little more restraint than some of the high-octane options on the market. It's hard to go wrong with beer and chili. Actually, it’s hard to go wrong with beer at all.
This may seem like a hard pairing due to the sweet marshmallows, but thank goodness for the dessert wines. A tawny port might be your best bet if you really must have something from the bottle, as it will bring out caramelized notes from the burnt sugar. Better yet, have a s'more and then wait until it’s gone and the chocolate and graham crackers are put away to sit around the campfire sipping your favorite adult beverage. At that point, you could even open up a bottle of scotch and have a dram. If you don’t mind some smoke in your glass to match the smoke wafting your way from the burning logs, go for something peaty, like Laphroaig or Talisker.