I’ll be the first to admit it: one of the larger reasons I exercise is because I enjoy the occasional cocktail. Those occasions tend to become more frequent as the days grow longer and the sun begins to bake the trails and warm the rivers around my house. Such atmospheric conditions spur me to jump on my bike, maybe throw on the trail runners, or con my neighbor into lending me her kayak. Combine this with the fact that I live in a neighborhood of like-minded people who enjoy playing outside just as much as I do, and it would be fair to say that I (we), may just….perhaps…drink on the upper end of the socially-acceptable spectrum.

When this line of thought is brought up, I simply assuage everyone’s conscience by saying we’re “exerciseaholics”, and not the other kind of holic. Plus such exercise outings only happen one to two (perhaps three to four) times a week. And they’re done by Labor Day; Columbus Day at the latest. And while margaritas and liquids that go well with tonics tend to garner the limelight during the warm months, my group’s post-ride/run/paddle beverage of choice is beer.

It has been agreed upon by this elite group of athletes that there are few substances as refreshing as a great beer. For one, beer is typically 70% water so you’ve got the hydration angle covered. Throw in the fact that its other primary ingredients are plants (hops, barley, wheat, etc.) and you’ve got a case for being just as health-conscious as a vegetarian.

So, to celebrate the coming summer and all of the sun-soaked adventure it brings, here are the eight beers (in no particular order) you’re most likely to find being passed around by some of the BA faithful.

  1. Mirror Pond Pale Ale. Deschutes Brewery. Bend, OR. It’s a pale ale that doesn’t tie your tongue into a square knot from being too hoppy. And as one of our group who used to live in central Oregon put it, “When you drink one, you taste the beauty that surrounds Bend.”
  2. Pacifico. Pacifico Brewery. Mazatlan, Mexico. It’s almost summer; did you not expect to find a Mexican beer on this list? Plus this one is tasty, with or without a lime.
  3. Fat Tire. New Belgium Brewing. Fort Collins, CO. It’s an amber ale that has just enough of a hint of fruit to make you think you’re drinking Colorado sunshine.
  4. Anything in a pony bottle. For the uninitiated, a pony bottle is a 7-oz bottle that, for whatever reason, most people are able to drink in about three minutes. Rolling Rock pioneered their use, and drinking a bucket of pony ‘Rocks is a great bonding experience.
  5. Lucky Me. Covered Bridge Craft Brewery. Lyndonville, VT. You’ll only find it in Vermont, and then only in draught, but you can buy growlers to bring home and its light-beer-without-being-a-light-beer taste makes it a favorite on a really hot day
  6. Star Island Single. Smuttynose Brewing Company. Portsmouth, NH. If everyone’s riding back to your house to grill up some chicken on the barbeque, this golden beer is the perfect beverage.
  7. Sam Adams Light. Boston Beer Company. Boston, MA. Perfect if you feel you didn’t work-out hard enough. It’s only got 120 calories in a 12-ounce bottle and is a light beer that has a bit of a smoky taste.
  8. Johnny’s American IPA. Moab Brewery. Moab, UT. Aggressively hoppy, this one’s fun to drink if you need to anesthetize your bones and/or joints, but don’t want to have to drink six beers for the effect.