What’s a float trip without a cold one? A lot less pleasant, that’s what. Beer is a paddling staple right up there with sunscreen, which inspired us to sample some local flavors and break down their finer points for your next outing. Keep in mind that just because we’re showcasing these six beverages doesn’t mean they’re the end all be all in floating potables. There are as many sippable, trippable options as there are rivers and streams to explore in Missouri. (That’s a lot.) And there are no wrong choices. Just be sure to bring cans (not bottles), drink responsibly, and pack out what you pack in.

Float Trip Ale (Piney River Brewing Co.)
How could we not include this American blonde ale crafted in Bucyrus, Missouri, when “float trip” is right there in the name? The wheat-based brew is smooth and balanced, and its 4.5-percent ABV makes it easy to session all day long. Float Trip Ale has won top honors from the World Beer Cup and US Open Beer Championship, so it’s sure to be a popular pick in your cooler.

Perennial Coffee Stout with Dark Matter Coffee (Perennial Artisan Ales)
Some folks like to start their float with a strong brew before switching to the mellower stuff. This breakfast beer of champions is made with two types of coffee beans blended with European malt and flaked oats. The result is a dark brown imperial stout that packs a punch at 11.5 percent ABV. You might not want more than one, which is good because each 16-ounce can costs $9.

Melvin Heyzeus (Melvin Brewing)
Mexican lagers are crisp, refreshing, and perfect for slaking a sunbaked thirst. Tastes like great float trip material to us! Melvin’s Heyzeus is brewed with flaked corn and lightly hopped, with a floral smell and tart finish. It’s also a drinkable 5.0-percent ABV. Get it at your local craft beer store or head on down to the Melvin Brewpub in Eureka and grab a sixer to go.

Logboat Snapper (Logboat Brewing Co.)
Snapper, like Float Trip Ale, is a quintessential river beer. The difference between the two is the bite bestowed by this IPA’s four varieties of American-grown hops — not face-puckering bitter but pronounced — as well as its potent 7.2-percent ABV. The taste is citrusy and piney, with a pleasing malt backbone.

Contact High Radler (4 Hands Brewing Co.)
Radlers are traditionally a blend of lager and carbonated citrus soda, light on the stomach and in ABV (3.5 in this case). They’re fizzy and bright and pair well with outdoor activities. 4 Hand’s radler is a collaboration with Excel Bottling Company; a mix of the original Contact High American wheat ale and Rummy Grapefruit soda. It’s a great heat-crusher.

Urban Seltzer (Urban Chestnut Brewing Co.)
Our last beer isn’t a beer at all but rather a thirst-quenching alternative from one of St. Louis’ leading microbreweries. Urban Seltzer currently comes in two flavors: Passion Fruit & Citra Hops and Lime & Salt (with more on the way). Both are 4.0-percent ABV, gluten-free, and low in calories. But, most notably, they’re effervescent in a way beer will never be.

Author: Brad Kovach is the editor/publisher of Terrain Magazine.