Pat's Backcountry Beverages Backpacking Beer Review

  • Updated: June 09, 2018
  • Post By: Matthew Hengst


Pat's Backcountry Beverages Beer Kit

I'm a little late to the party here since this product was released years ago and can currently only be found at a few retailers.  In fact it had been on my radar as a curiosity that I wanted to try out for years but I never pulled the trigger until I realized it had been pulled from the market.

As of early 2018 the website (http://www.patsbcb.com) seems to have gone offline and you can only find the product in stock in a few online stores.  What appears to have happened is they shut down Pat's and reformed as Sustainable Beverage Technologies focusing on using the same technique to sell soda like beer dispensers to resteraunts.

According to someone I corresponded with on their end they currently do not offer the backcountry kit and while they may do so again at some point in the future they currently have no plans.  So if you're interested in experiencing this particular backcountry oddity best do it soon!

I found everything still in stock at the website Liquorama.  (Note that since this is alcohol deliveries require an adult signature so you have to arrange to be around when it arrive which was a challenge for me.)


Pet's also offered a soda option that you can still find at Amazon if that's your thing.

In the name of science I ordered a combo pack for $91.40 shipped and a few weeks later I brought it along on a two day trip to Hockett Peak.  Conditions for this test were in the 70s and our water source was a cool but not cold spring that was flowing right by the camp.



The pack came with a bottle which has a reaction cup to isolates the activator liquid while allowing gas into the main chamber and a pump on the lid which lets it hold and dispense a specific amount of water.


The activator packets are citric acid and potassium bicarbonate which is supposed to result in a pleasantly fizzy drink.  This is the weakest component of the system in my opinion.


And of course you have the beer concentrate.  Each packet is 50 mL and has around 50% alcohol content.  Now of course the obvious question is did I taste the raw concentrate.  Yes.  Yes I did.


It wasn't great.

Having gotten that over with (though I did repeat that tasting for each of the three varieties) I went about following the actual directions.


First off you're instructed to add water to the bottle without the reaction cup in place, flip it upside down, and pump until all the air is displaced from the cap and it's stored the measured amount of water.


You add the concentrate and water to the main part of the bottle.  It recommended 16 mL but after the first attempt tasted a little weak I switched to 14 mL which seemed to be an improvement.

Next up the dual contents of the activator packet are added to the reactor cup.  It's white powder at this point and wont start reacting until you add water.  Attach the reactor cup to the lid, put the lid on the bottle, and it's reaction time!


You now pump the handle 6 ish times but only to 45 degrees so it discharges the water into the reaction cup but doesn't allow air to escape.  Then lock down lever and start shaking.


It says shake for 1-2 minutes making sure not to tip the bottle.  This is so the contents of the reaction cup don't make it into the beer which isn't toxic but won't taste great.  After a few minutes of this you are instructed to leave the bottle alone for at least a minute then pop the lever to depressurise and your beer is ready to drink.


The first time I was careful shaking and the beer didn't have much head.  I could see bubbles in the liquid itself but the consensus after tasting was that it tasted like a marginal beer that had gone flat.


Subsequent times I shook more vigorously and threw in a few white guy dance moves which *may* have helped things along and resulted in a far more significant head.



So that was certainly entertaining but how was the beer?


I only had a single packet of each variety along and they seemed to improve as we went along but the results were underwhelming.

American Logger was everyone's least favorite with the most commenting the flavor wasn't great and it tasted flat.  This was the only one where we used the recommended 16 mL vs 14 however and as I mentioned my shaking wasn't as vigorous.

Black Hops IPA had a much warmer reception with most people commenting that the flavor was surprisingly decent.  We'd managed a bit more carbonation this time though not enough to be truly satisfying.

And finally I made the Pale Rail a few hours later with dinner and that was also met with positive reactions to the flavor though again the carbonation still seemed insufficient.

So would I recommend Pat's Backcountry Brew?  Eh.  It's something that's fun to pull out to entertain your friends on your next backpack but everyone agreed that while it did make something approaching beer it didn't scratch that itch that drinking an actual beer does.

I am curious if mixing the concentrate directly with carbonated water would result in something more appealing but at that point you've carried in the same amount of liquid as a normal beer so my standards get a lot higher.

Still, it is one of those interesting curiosities and I'll likely grab a few more of the 4 packs ro bring along on future outings.

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