If you're a fan of craft beer and also enjoy the outdoors, you're all too aware of the problems inherent in camping — much less hiking — with full kegs. Hiking with a six pack of glass bottles isn't really a lot of fun either. Lucky for us all, REI has the perfect solution: a 64-ounce wide-mouth insulated Hydro Flask.
Maybe they call it a Hydro Flask instead of a growler (a much better word) since you can also, of course, transport liquids like coffee or even soup inside the thing, which is made of BPA-free, food-grade stainless steel. But really, if you're hiking up to camp in the San Gabriels or to pitch a tent somewhere on or near the beach, 64 ounces of cold ale is probably going to suit you far better than, I don't know, vichyssoise.
REI sells these for about $50, but if you consider how versatile it is, and the fact that you can't break it, it's not a bad deal.
Fill your new growler up with Mumford Brewing's Black Mamba or their West Coast IPA, or whatever your local brewery has available, maybe pick up some good bread and cheese or whatever you like with your beer, and head out, happy in the knowledge that your beer will stay cold in spite of the fact that it's already insanely hot in L.A. (REI claims cold beverages will stay so for 24 hours, which will probably be far longer than you'll have any of them left.)
Maybe pick up some good coffee too, so that you can refill your growler (sorry, hydro flask) with caffeine the next morning. Nothing like cowboy coffee in your hipsteresque bottle — which, by the way, comes in stainless steel and black matte as well as what looks to some of us comfortingly like Valrhona 64%.
If you like this, remember to come back later this week for our upcoming Beer Guide, a whole issue devoted to L.A.'s craft beer scene.