What are you drinking? Photo: Smith Optics

The Inertia

You’re done shredding the gnar, and everyone in the crew is thirsty for…something. Refreshments. Tall boys. Tonics. However you want to slice it, we’re talking beverages, Broski.

Many of us keep a jug of water in the car or mix up a smoothie when we get home to replace lost calories, and that’s all fine and good, but I’m talking about a different type of thirst. I’m talking about a sweet elixir that bridges the gap between an ocean of deep carves and dolphins and a real world of emails, errands, and “emergency” slack notifications from your team. 

Here, in no particular order, are my picks for a sublime liquid experience that will either elongate your surfing high or mellow out the stoke – some, in fact, may do a bit of both. 

I’ve had some help here from a few wave-riders who love a crisp parking-lot lager almost much as they love a cold day of swell. 

Yes, with tongue firmly in cheek, I did what I used to tell my writing students never to do. I interviewed my surf buds.

The Bloody Mary

Massachusetts shredder Josh Rollins says that the classic Bloody Mary, “bridges that awkward post-sesh brunch gap when a round of heavy IPAs might raise eyebrows.” Rollins likes to entice the boys with a round of savory, spicy cocktails as soon as they shuck off their neoprene. The budding mixologist adds that he thinks Bloody Marys help make the beach parking lot feel a bit more “sophisticated,” and recommends not to “underestimate the nutritional value of a solid bloody mix.”

Indeed, Bloody Marys offer all the sodium you need for the next calendar year. The vodka takes the edge off the beating you took on the inside, while the pickled vegetables, olives and bacon slice provide subtle nourishment.

Rollins and his cohorts, also known as the Bloody Mary Barry’s, are setting trends under a rising sun the color of vivid heartburn, and they wouldn’t have it any other way.

New England IPAs

A West Coast IPA can be a refreshingly bitter pill to swallow, but based on my New England lineage, I say the more ABV and hops, the better. Why? Because after I surf, I’m typically both exalted and in pure physical pain, but one tall can of hazy goodness puts me on cloud nine.

Another Masshole who wishes to remain anonymous provides a glimpse into the lives of middle-aged watermen everywhere. For his post-surf slammer, the veteran longboarder chooses “the best shelfie New England IPA you can find at whatever packie you pass on your way to the beach, because if I leave the house with beers my wife is going to know I’m not coming home after I get out of the water…”

This statement may necessitate translation: shelfie is beer-nerd slang for a beer that is quaffable but unremarkable enough to be available in most places. A packie is a liquor store where people will be rude to you, but in the nicest way possible.

The West Coast has come a long way with their New England IPA knockoffs, but you haven’t lived until you’ve smuggled a truckload of Treehouse through TSA in a duffel. Careful, though: imbibe too many of these heavyweights and you’ll miss the dawn session.

Non-Alcoholic Brews

Non-alcoholic beer has come a long way in the past few years and can provide a great option if you want to share some liquid vibes with your peeps after a killer session…but you have a long to-do list and/or a normal life based on good health and reasonable behavior and expectations. 

I’m a lifelong Celtics fan but being there for my team throughout last year’s long playoff run began to sap my surfing strength. Last Spring, I dropped the booze from the equation and picked up a sampler pack of Athletic Brewing. The suds was spectacular and I was able to scream from the couch, cry softly, and then get back to work. The Golden Ale, which Athletic describes as “light bodied, with citrusy aromas,” perfectly accompanied my afternoons of sweaty athleticism.

In other news, a long soak in a bucket of that “citrusy aroma” would also really help my booties right now, which are not allowed in the house. Time for a sixer.

The Mexican Lager

Whether Corona, Pacifico or Modelo, a Mexican pilsner-type lager, served ice-cold with a generous lime chunk, is a joy to sip on after a session. No wonder these brews are synonymous with surf culture.

Gloucester, Mass. ripper Brian Johnson’s unabashed support of Mexican lagers is as strong as his backside rail grab. BJ describes the bevy from across the border as “wonderfully refreshing,” and praises the ability to “have six and still get another session in.” Johnson may be exaggerating, but then again, his life motto is “train like it’s the ’80s” and he is from hardy New England, so perhaps we should take him at his word. 

Side note: In no way do we condone drinking alcohol before surfing. Or after. Well, after can be nice if you’re into that. Just be responsible about it, eh?

See Also: Crispy Bois

These lagers or ales pack a thirst-quenching bite and are filtered to bright clarity, creating a crisp taste and appearance. A perfect follow-up to the gallon of saltwater you just knocked back, crispy bois (as in “Hey Brosef, toss me a crispy boi from the fridge?”) lead with dry clean flavor and very little sweetness. They also blend perfectly with your buddy’s post-beach breakfast tales about getting “totally covered up” out there.


Wise people have consumed fermented tea for thousands of years, and the health benefits are indisputable: the probiotics help mellow out your gut microbiome and can reduce the risk of heart disease. Many kombucha blends are brewed with green tea, too, which offers proven health benefits.

Bambucha is one of my favorite beverages; I dig the earthy, fruity taste and the bite of carbonation after a surf. Most brands also offer a spiked version if you’re that much of an animal. Reporting from Northern California, Ryan M. says that he enjoys spiked kombucha “when he wants to quit drinking…but doesn’t really want to quit drinking.” Confused? The West Coast carver clarifies: “If I drink hard kombucha at least I’m improving my gut health and getting a buzz on at the same time.”

Words of wisdom from the Ry-Guy, especially with the gut-health and smooth digestion needed to paddle out at Ocean Beach on a big winter day.

Fine Wines

Wine goes with the beach like your step-up goes with a jacked-up swell, and when you bust out a jug of Pinot and offer a swig to the guy you just cut off on that set wave, he’ll be even more apt to punch you in the face. 

More worried about pollution than localism? You should be. Tahoe snowboard pioneer and climate activist Jeremy Jones, however, is pow-surfing to the rescue. Jones, along with big-wave guru Shane Dorian and a host of other athletes created Revelshine, a new series of blends that eliminate traditional packaging. The brand describes its aluminum bottles as eco-friendly, lighter than traditional glass, and great for a post-surf bonfire or just awkwardly twitching around the parking lot on a surf-skate.

Honorable Mention: Adaptogen-rich Elixirs

Non-alcoholic functional beverages are booze’s mature cousins who no one wants to talk to at a party. Seriously, these calm cans mix filtered water and fruit flavors with nootropics and adaptogens like theanine and ginseng. Adaptogens are meant to fight enemies like stress and fatigue; nootropics are intended to improve cognitive function.

Kin Euphorics, for example, makes drinks that contain lavender and Reishi mushrooms while Hiyo claims that their cans produce a “mood-boosting, natural lift that [they] call “the float.”

When I reached out, most of the crew had not yet sampled these booze-free botanic tonics, but Ryan M. was quick to suggest that if the drinks really make you “float,” he’d slug one down before and after the session, accepting all the help with buoyancy he could get.

Here’s to Ripping with your Buds and Tipping your Tenders

In any case: surf like you mean it, enjoy your rightfully-chosen refreshers, and, by all means, hide from your responsibilities at the beach for as long as you can with your crew. After all, isn’t that what friends are for?


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