In 1968, Doug Tompkins, founder of The North Face; skier Dick Dorworth; climber and filmmaker Lito Tejada-Flores; English climber Chris Jones; and Yvon Chouinard, the man who made Patagonia a global brand, drove a van from California to Mount Fitzroy in southern Patagonia. The 18,000-mile journey, which took six months, ended with a successful ascent of the mountain – the third ever – that took 60 days, many of them spent trapped weathering storms in snow caves. No American had ever summitted Fitzroy before. “It really opened up Patagonia,” Dorworth told ‘Men’s Journal’ in 1999. He recalled a “traveling circus of surfing, skiing, and mountain-climbing – a road trip à la Neal Cassady, with a soundtrack by Mingus.”
“It really changed our lives,” he said.
Forty-five years later, on the fortieth anniversary of the company Chouinard founded, Patagonia collaborated with New Belgium brewery to toast that road trip – as well as the ascent – with a canned lager called California Route. To come up with the recipe, a group of Patagonia employees (including Fletcher and Claire Chouinard, Yvon’s children) spent time at the New Belgium Brewery testing beers and weighing in on the flavor. The result is an medium-bodied lager, appropriately brimming with Cascade Hops and their pine and grapefruit notes synonymous with California beers (including, but not limited to offerings from New Belgium, Sierra Nevada, and Stone Brewing). The company serves the brew in 12-ounce cans emblazoned with the Patagonia logo.
True to Patagonia’s environmental stewardship – demonstrated in their wild, sustainably sourced salmon jerky, donations to environmental causes, and sustainable clothing innovations – the beer is brewed with all-organic ingredients (certified by Oregon Tilth, one of the first companies to offer USDA organic accreditation). [Look for rare cans near Patagonia outlets.]
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