Gear and Beer: Summer Fun

Summer’s the time for sunscreen, mosquito repellent, a cruise on the SUP and… pink beer?

By Lisa Lynn and Abagael Giles


Yeti has become synonymous with keeping things cold. Now, the Yeti Panga 28 Backpack ($299, 28 liters) is promising to keep things equally dry. Measuring in at 20” x 12.5” x 7”, it’s shaped like a back-to-school pack that might carry a small laptop. And it might. We tested it and it kept four rolls of toilet paper dry when submerged, thanks to the HydroLok zipper and U-Dock handle cover. Made of a durable laminated nylon, it’s a heavy duty pack that can withstand a beating. And with shoulder straps and plenty of places to hook on water bottles or other gear, it’s the perfect pack to take on a downwind SUP adventure, a trek to go cliff diving or a kayak trip.


Tired of carrying around a full Dopp kit of skin products  to races? Body Glide SPF 30+ SUN (1.5 oz. $9.99)  is an advanced formula that not only protects against chafing but doubles as an SPF 30. It bills itself as “never greasy and never wet” and we became confident enough in that fact to throw the push-cap container into our gym bag without the cap. Of course, you don’t necessarily want Body Glide all over your body (and it’s expensive) so you will still want a second sunscreen, but this is good for those transition areas where straps (or waist-bands or the elastic of bike shorts) meet the skin.


We love the idea of natural bug repellents and the notion that anything that smells this good to us, smells bad to mosquitos. Packed with ingredients like organic white vinegar, clove and lemongrass and totally gluten free,  vegan and citronella-free, Brittanie’s Thyme Organic Bug Spray (4 oz, $8.95) is a pleasure to the senses. But will it keep the bugs off? Meh….not so much. We cross-tested our findings with Consumer Reports. After extensively testing a variety of repellents, CR concluded that in the “natural” category, only “two of the three active ingredients that have regularly earned recommended status in our insect repellent ratings—picaridin and oil of lemon eucalyptus, or OLE—are derived from plants. But several other plant-based chemicals, including lemon grass and soybean oil, typically end up at the very bottom of our ratings.” Oh well…

PINK local BEER?

If you’re headed to St. Albans to go kiteboarding with KiteNPaddle or to ride the Mississquoi Valley Rail Trail, be sure stop by 14th Star Brewing Co. This summer they’ll be serving up a handful of beers that are only available at their Main Street tasting room and beer garden.

New this summer, 14th Star’s Raspberry Vermonter Weiss is so good it’s popular with people who don’t even like beer. The dry, crisp sour is modeled after a Berlin Weiss, a balanced, low-alcohol beer that is neither vinegary nor sweet. Every ingredient from the malt to the hops was grown in Vermont. It’s also brewed with local raspberries, picked fresh from Spirit Ledge Farms in Georgia, Vt. Did we mention it’s pink? Seriously–this beer somehow manages to satisfy people who don’t like sours, don’t like fruity beer and people who prefer cider and wine. If you don’t like summer, you’re probably out of luck.

Then there is 14th Star’s most requested beer: The 1493. This tangy, hoppy American Pale Ale is brewed with fresh citrus zest and coriander. The brewery has decided to keep it as a draft special to spare its brewers from hand-zesting any more grapefruits, oranges and lemons than they have to.

On July 26, 14th Star announced it will donate one penny from every draft, can or keg of its Recruit Golden Ale sold to Vermont Adaptive Ski and Sports.

The beer pairs well with the taproom’s Grazers farm-to-table burgers, local greens and creative pub fare. Burgers range from $11.75 to $14.