Salmon on Tap – Beer tasting on the Salmon River

When I think of summer, obviously rafting comes to the front of my mind.  However, summer also brings to mind barbecues with friends and nights sitting around the campfire.  It’s not summer without great food enjoyed with good friends, while enjoying a pint or three of some delicious ale.   So for me the ideal summer experience combines all three of these summer staples, and with the first “Salmon on Tap” rafting trip we worked with our friends at Deschutes Brewery (The Northwest’s premier Micro-Brewery) to create the ideal combination of whitewater, camping, food, and beer.

This was a 4 day camping trip down the Lower Salmon River in Idaho.  The Lower Salmon is the ideal place for this type of trip.  The huge white sand beaches make for ideal camping, the warm water is perfect for swimming, and the thrilling rapids keep a paddler’s attention during the day.

So at this point the logical question should be, what makes this trip so special?  Well, to start with, we had a brewer from Deschutes Brewery on the trip.  Owen was on hand answering questions about the brewing process and helping explain some of the thoughts behind the diverse flavors of beers we sampled on this trip.  Second, unlike most of our trips, we had our beer on tap.  Owen and the folks at Deschutes Brewery hand-picked some of their signature brews for us to taste and sent us out in style with kegs to connect with our Jocky Box.  This set up gave us spectacular tasting beer, at the ideal temps, right out of the tap; all next to the river.

The fine folks over at Deschutes Brewery sent us with their classic brews, Inversion IPA, and Mirror Pond Pale Ale.  Both were very popular on this hot trip and tasted great sitting next to the river.  We also had the classic Black Butte Porter which perfectly complimented our steaks on night 3 (it also happens to be my personal favorite beer of all time).  However, the two most popular beers on tap were the newly released Chainbreaker White IPA, and the amazing summer seasonal, Twilight Summer Ale.  The lighter body, but full flavor of Twilight was perfect for sitting with your feet in the river, and the citrus aroma with the hopped up wheat malt of Chainbreaker was perfect for relaxing after a day of paddling.

This was a great journey on the river and off.  We were challenged by whitewater, slept under the stars, ate some great food, and had the chance to enjoy a variety of delicious beers, including a few special editions out of bottles.  I’m already excited for next year so keep your eyes on the website for the announcement of the dates for next years trip.