Drawing on a bit of first-hand knowledge and doing some sniffing around the Internet, I came up with this list of beers bearing labels that stir the hunter’s soul. Try one after (AFTER! NEVER DURING!!) your next day afield, or when at the tavern with a few buddies, order one to kick off a round of hunting stories. Here’s a Quilmes Stout and homemade empanadas that capped a day of hunting red stag in La Pampa, Argentina. Related Articles: Favorite Summer Brews >>
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Big-game brew In 1867 English immigrant Susannah Oland founded a brewery in Nova Scotia. Since then, six generations of Olands–a family with beer in their blood–persevered through numerous hardships and several relocations to keep the business going. Now located in St. John, New Brunswick, the company became MOOSEHEAD Breweries Ltd in 1947. The name change was prompted by their widely known Moosehead Pale Ale. Cool logo, eh.
Froth from the last frontier Alaskan White Ale made my list because the label features a polar bear, and because every hunter dreams of an Alaskan adventure. Produced in Juneau by the Alaskan Brewing Company, this beverage is based on Belgian-style witbier (white beer), so named for the suspended wheat proteins that create a cloudy appearance. The folks who brew it say “the crisp flavor of Alaskan White Ale pairs well with spicy foods.” Sounds like a good one to put on the table with venison chili.
BEAR WHAT? While attending graduate school in Philadelphia I met a local named Ed. He called YUENGLING LAGER “bear-whiz beer” because it’s made in Pottstown, PA, about 40 miles northwest of Philly. What sounds derisive was actually a compliment to Yuengling’s pureness. In Ed’s urbanite mind, anything beyond city limits was untamed wilderness full of lions and tigers and bears. And those disrespectful bruins most certainly whiz in the otherwise pristine streams that supply the brewery. Founded in 1829, Yuengling holds the title of America’s Oldest Brewery. The company survived the prohibition years by making Near Beer, but I can forgive them for that. Another Yuengling product lets us…
Hoist one for the hounds Introduced in 1986, Yuengling BLACK & TAN follows the tradition of an English Half & Half. It contains a 60-40 blend of Yuengling’s Dark Brewed Porter and Premium Beer. The company describes it as having “a faint sweetness with hints of caramel and coffee from the dark roasted malts.” Ever heard a few coon hounds bawling on a hot trail? Now THAT is sweet!
When the going gets tusk You can hunt wild hogs with hounds; you can also try stalking or waiting them out in a tree stand. No matter which method you choose, hog hunting always has excitement on tap. So tap the house beer at the HOG’S BREATH Saloon, an iconic drinking establishment in Key West, Florida. Their slogan: “Hog’s Breath is better than no breath at all.”
A mane stay Set your sights on one of the big five and score a six of LIONSHEAD. This frothy feline prowls out of Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, home of the Lion Brewery. Aiming high at the 2008 World Beer Championships, Lionshead Light Pilsner earned a silver medal (category: Reduced Calorie Lager) and Lionshead Deluxe Pilsner brought home a bronze (category: Pilsner). Just goes to show you there’s a difference between “high caliber” and “big bore.”
Take pride Tracing its origins back to 1383 when it was first brewed at Zum Lowen (The Lion’s Inn), LOWENBRAU (Lion’s Brew) makes other beers look like new cubs on the block. From the mid 1970’s to 2002, the Lowenbrau sold in the USA was produced under license (was it a CITES permit?) by Miller Brewing. Now the company exports beer directly from its brewery in Munich.
Lowenbrau has been served at every Oktoberfest in Munich since 1810. Maybe African PHs who bait for lions should forget the customary dead impala. It takes many pounds of bratwurst and liquid refreshment from a keg to attract trophies of this size!
Argentine Ale Argentina offers wonderful opportunities to hunt doves, ducks, puma and red stag. I’ve been there four times and will go once again next year. The country’s largest brewery is QUILMES, founded in 1888 and named for the city in which it’s located. I admit I’m partial to Argentina, but this label made my list because Quilmes is pronounced “Kill-mees.”
Holy cow I live in Brazil, where the most popular beer is BRAHMA. So, how does brewski named after a sacred bovine get on the list? Follow the chain of multicultural logic that clanked through my brain and you’ll see Brahma has more to do with hunting than would, for example, any doe-eyed Bollywood actress. A bull elk bugles; a red stag roars. In Argentina, a red stag’s roar is called “el bramido” and the rutting season is “la brama.”
I’ll be Bock I’m happy to leave Lionshead and Lowenbrau for the other guys. If I ever fulfill the dream of traveling to Africa, I wouldn’t want to hunt dangerous cats. Plains game hold a fascination for me. What would you say if I abandoned my career as an outdoor writer to found Andy-Lope Brewery? Our first label could be a full-bodied beer called GEMS BOCK.