Any longtime fan or customer of ours is probably quite skeptical when reading that title. You see, we played a little April Fool’s prank a few years back about a new product called Insta-Beer. We duped quite a few people with the stunt, but this time it’s no prank. This is the real deal. It’s not actually called Insta-Beer, but it’s pretty much the same idea. Pat’s Backcountry Beverages, the maker of the Carbonator Bottle, has recently announced that they have successfully developed a beer concentrate, which they’ll be launching in September.
I find this to be incredibly exciting news. When I’m out in the woods, whether it’s a day-long hike, or a week-long trip, I like to have a beer or two (or five). And most times it’s just not possible, as beer is unnecessary weight. Cans and bottles are bulky and heavy, and unless you’re car camping, they’re simply not an option. That’s where the beer concentrate comes in.
Pat Tatera, the owner of Pat’s Backcountry beverages, found the inspiration for this portable beer system on a backpacking trip about 17 years ago in Utah’s Canyonlands National Park. He and his friend went out for a hike and left some cold beers back at the car for their return. Here’s how he tells it:
“We got to our designated campsite and it’s like 1 in the afternoon. We’ve got a whole day ahead of us still, so we milled around camp, found lots of little side hikes to do – but we just kept thinking about that cold beer that was back in the car. So we made the very wise decision to pack up our tents, pack up everything, hike way into the evening, and we car camped just so we could have a cold beer. From that point forward, it was like, ‘there’s gotta be an intelligent way to be able to bring beer with you when you’re on those lightweight outdoor adventures.’ “
He knew after his Canyonlands trip that a solution was needed. The beer was holding him back from really taking off in the wild, but he wasn’t willing to go without it. So he set his mind to developing a beer concentrate for traveling.
By trade, Tatera is a chemical engineer, but he’s also an avid homebrewer, so he combined his knowledge of both fields and took to finding a solution. Over the years, he fine-tuned his work and developed what he now calls “Hybrid Brewing Technology.”
The concentrate works in conjunction with the Carbonator Bottle, which is the size of a standard water bottle, and allows you to create a 16-ounce brew in a matter of minutes. This is no joke. All you need is the Carbonator, some concentrate, and water. He’s launching two flavors in September – Pale Rail and a Black IPA, which he plans to sell for about $10 per four pack.
He hasn’t said much about his recipe or the “brewing” process, but he did say that they absolutely uphold the German purity laws – using barley, water, hops, and yeast – along with much of the same brewing equipment used to make “regular beer.” From there, however, what they do with the ingredients is very different from the standard brewing process.
Once the initial two beers hit the market, the company plans to add a new style every month or so. Some possibilities include an American lager, a nut brown, and a pilsner.
If you’re interested in trying the system before the beer comes out, you can purchase the bottle and some soda packets at his web store. Pat originally came out with the Carbonator Bottle and the soda packets last year in an effort to raise money for the brewing equipment needed to work on the beer concentrate.
Beyond selling the concentrate to consumers, he sees a commercial market for his product as well, but that’s off in the future. For now, he’s focused on bringing the concentrate to all the outdoors people yearning to carry some lightweight beer on their backs.
Bear in mind, you’ll still need water. But if you’ve got a purifier, the Carbonator, a few packs of concentrate, and a source of water nearby, you should be good to go.
For a more detailed review of the Carbonator and the beer concentrate, check out this great Gizmag article here.