“The Ojibwa called Superior Gitchee Gumee. They told of a terrible serpent called Mishi Ginabeg who lurked in the dark depths and submerged caverns. It was said that when the spirit of the south wind, Showondesi, came laughing Mishi Ginabeg awoke from slumber for vengeance against all who had not made sacrifice. The crew of the Fitzgerald had grown old hearing those tales, but paid them little mind. This was the Twentieth Century, and surely there were no monsters skulking beneath Superior. The laughing Showondesi had long been replaced by the measurable science of meteorology. On that cold November night impassionate science abandoned the good crew, and not a soul could completely dismiss those ancient legends…A terrible moan arose from the ship…the storm was now at a murderous tempo. A new wave slammed the ship sideways nearly tearing her in two. O’Brien felt the wheel go dead in his hands and knew they were at the mercy of the lake. He turned, just as the bow slid into a deep trough. For a moment the ship’s great rudders spun free in the air…a giant wave built over the bow. McCarthy saw it first and crossed himself as the bow plowed under…”Those with a bit of history about the Great Lakes will quickly recall the fate of the Edmund Fitzgerald, here retold in my first novel, Broken: One soldier’s unexpected journey home, W.C. Turck.
I left earlier this week on a trip to Michigan’s Lake Superior shore. On the way up from Chicago I stopped off for a good beer to enjoy on the beach that evening. Something interesting to ponder and decipher a bit, and take the edge off the long trip. When I spotted a couple 4 packs of Great Lakes brewing Company’s Lake Erie Monster, a seasonal offering by a consistently strong brewer my choices narrowed considerably.
This handcrafted Imperial Pale Ale pours to a summer sunset deep golden hue. The head is pale white. After a long day on the road, take the edge off the long trip, it melted it away. Half way through the bottle, the 9.1ABV didn’t hurt either. There were just the caramel malt, hint of citrus and a comfortable hoppy finish that, from the first taste, didn’t two questions remaining; what food would this work well with, and which of the Great Lakes monsters would win in a fight?
This one is a no-brainer. The sightings of the so-called Lake Erie Monster, though no doubt encouraged by copious amounts of some cheaper swill, leave much to be desired. One, eh-hem, witnessed described the “South-Bay-Bessie” as cigar-shaped. Yet another described it as having a “long neck and an eye was visible on the side of the head with a grin going up one side The creature appeared to be playing in the water…” Sorry, but Frolicking serpents don’t evoke awe, at least not to this reporter. The grainy videos and photos hardly prove more than sightings of a prize-winning sturgeon, a wayward beaver or the existence of the Ohio mafia. Mishi Ginabeg has never, nor would ever allow itself to be photographed, nor would it ever, ever, ever frolic. But then Mishi Ginabeg doesn’t have its own beer, at least for now.
I was staying with our old friends the Coopers for the week. Carole, who authored the Simply Healthy Gourmet had supper waiting- http://www.simplynaturalgourmet.com/. She’d prepared roasted Rosemary Chicken, with roasted potatoes and onions. The warm sweetness of the onions nicely complimented the hint of citrus in the beer. A few days later, meeting up with a buddy, the sculptor Ritch Branstrom for a Lake Erie Monster in his studio, I tricked things up with a sliced roast beef, a slice of fresh mango and some local melted medium cheddar on croissant with homemade cilantro mayonnaise for a perfect match with the beer.
So, I guess when it’s all said and done it’s a draw between the two great lakes monsters. And though I’m hardly convinced of the actual creature, I’m fully convinced of Great Lakes’ Lake Erie Monster. Thank you.
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