Suds in the Shower

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Whenever we have guests over, I’m struck with nerves about the state of our bathroom. No, it’s not because there are whiskers in the sink, something growing in the shower, or that it’s missing a door (true story, at the moment a curtain provides just enough privacy). In fact, for a person who would rather spend weekends playing in the woods than doing chores around the house, our bathroom is remarkably clean. What concerns me is that I have a tendency to leave an empty beer (or two) in the shower.

Before jumping to conclusions about my beverage consumption, allow me to clue you into one of the most magical rituals of outdoorsy people: the shower beer. Although beer ads and Patagonia catalogs would have you believe that the best way to wind down after a big day in the backcountry is with beers stashed in a snowbank, or propagate the image of cracking cold ones hidden in an icy stream after a day at the crag, the truth is that most of us often only have so much time to spend in the outdoors and would rather spend it playing than drinking.

John Muir famously said the mountains are calling and I must go,” and I am here to say the same could be said for home. When you consider the early starts, late finishes, and long drives that are a reality for many of our mountains experiences, there just isn’t always time to sit back and toast a good day in the mountains in the trailhead parking lot. (Not to mention that it’s also irresponsible to chug a beer while being physically depleted only to jump in your car and drive right after.) As if I needed to dispell this myth more, after a long day in the elements, the last thing many of us want to do is sit outside for any longer than we have to.

However, after a day in the mountains, the shower provides a bubble of peace, quiet, and comfort—and the addition of your favorite brew makes it even better. In the winter, a warm shower balanced with a refreshing brew is a great way to keep your body’s equilibrium. In the summer, a cool shower is made even more refreshing with the addition of an ice cold beer, providing a perfect escape from the heat suffered over the course of the day.

Looking for another reason to work the shower beer into your life? The shower is one of the few places that we are, for the most part, left alone. Separated from our phones, televisions, and numerous other daily distractions, the shower provides a few moments of solitude to enjoy your favorite beverage while reflecting on a day of skiing steeps or crushing cruxes.

While I won’t make recommendations for a beer-shower pairing, I have settled on 16 oz. cans of a Double IPA as my go-to shower beer, as they are plenty strong and their hoppy notes pair nicely with my body wash. And, after an unfortunate incident with a glass tumbler in the shower a few years ago, I have adopted a no-glass-in-the-bathroom policy which suits these big beer cans perfectly. Lastly, after a long day in the mountains, I deserve a long shower…and 16 oz. cans ensure I stay in the shower for at least 4 extra ounces.

Just remember: the shower beer is only acceptable after a day spent in the outdoors, otherwise, it may be an indicator of something a little less healthy.