New & Noteworthy -- Backcountry Bar

Hydro Flask 64 oz. growler

Hydro Flask 64 oz. Wide-mouth Vacuum Insulated Stainless Steel Growler

Call it four pints or just shy of a six-pack, or you can just call it awesome. They call it the Hydro Flask 64 oz. wide-mouth vacuum insulated stainless steel growler. I mean, sure you could put something else in it (water, chili, what have you...), but I purchased mine for beer transport. My local brewery offers growlers and six-packs to go. For the sake of convenience I prefer a large vessel (no bottle deposit or return, and I do all my own recycling -- if you know what I mean). Previously I have used a glass growler for these purposes, but this poses its own challenges: how do you keep it from getting broken? In the past, I’ve used bungee cords to hold my growler down, but on one occasion somehow it freed itself and broke in the back of my  Jeep... $11 wasted and the great the smell of barley and hops is replaced by the rotten egg smell in few days. (Then I had to break out the vinegar and clean like a madman.) Also, keeping a glass growler cold can be an uphill battle.  All in all, I’m left wishing I had something better.  With a Hydro Flask Growler, now I do. Hydro Flask makes great vacuum stainless steel insulated bottles that have kept my coffee hot for up to 12 hours and my water cold for up to 24 hours. They come in sizes ranging from 12 to 40 oz. Yet even the 40 oz. size was not enough capacity to satisfy for my passion for good brew. Enter the Hydro Flask growler. The beer is fresh and cold when you get home or four hours later or even the next day.  This past weekend I filled up my growler with some Mackinac Island Fudge Stout from the Corner Brewery in Ypsilanti, MI. This beer is pretty rich, so I could only drink a couple pints.  The next day I finished off my growler and was amazed that the beer was cold and fresh just like the night before. Plus, the double insulation prevents sweating, so no coaster required! The lid is not insulated but Hydro Flask has informed me that they will be offering an insulated lid soon. Cheers to that. $49.99 Christopher Sorel -- Saline, MI Platypus PlatyPreserve wine preserver

Platypus PlatyPreserve Wine Preserver

The PlatyPreserve wine preserver from Platypus is a pretty sweet way to keep a bottle of wine in decent shape for your outdoor adventures. However, the only difference between this and a Platypus SoftBottle seems to be that the PlatyPreserve is about the right size (800ml) to hold a standard bottle of wine (750ml), and costs two dollars more. Although if you do decide to go the route of the SoftBottle ensure you get the screw-on closure cap as you wouldn’t want a bottle of red and a bottle of white to spill all over your gear. We did test the PlatyPreserve at picnics, day hikes, and over-nighters. I wouldn’t recommend putting a 1945 Chateau Mouton-Rothschild in one of these it held up rather well. And if you need to store wine longer than a couple days, you, my friend, need to drink more wine. $9.95 Erick Pound