Tony the Skinna'Did you catch the first chapter of this beer story, Old Glory 802?

Tad and I took a ride up to Turner to take possession of a certain moose head from Tad’s kin. “It’s out in the garage, in a cardboard box.” Figured it was in plastic, a garbage bag maybe. We walked out to the garage and nope, just 41 pounds of furry head,operating table peering out of a cardboard box, frozen solid.

Back at the Bunker a table was prepared.

As is often the case with our meat beers, the transmogrification began with Tony C., our man for the skunnin’. Tony made fairly quick work of it whilst listening to the Eagles station we made for him on Pandora. We tried to pawn off the velvety furred skin to some fly tyers but, to our disappointment,  none of the folks seemed too interested. Prolly some taxidermists would have been game but we didn’t know any. If we do this again we’ll be sure to line up all the folks necessary to make sure no animal parts go unused.tony1 (We did save the ears and skull for decoratory purposes.)

Next step was to prepare the head for a long simmer to extract as much of “the goodie” out of it as possible. Tony suggested we brown/caramelize it first–with a blow torch.b.torch1 So we gave it a rub of salt, pepper, and sugar and lit the torch. Seemed like it took hours before the deed was deemed done. By then the room smelled oddly like popcorn, really. Did this fiery exercise actually contribute anything besides dramatic/disturbing photos? Who knows?

Next we mixed a few pounds of DME into some water. Took 25 gallons to cover the modifications in our boil kettle along with the head, much more than was ideal we suspect. The sweet water was brought to a boil and in went the head. Since the heating element was either on or off, we cut the power, waited ’til the temp dropped to 180-190, and turned the power back on until it was back to a boil. This was repeated for 3 hours. The resulting savory broth was promptly drained irubbed head2nto some kegs and put into the fridge. After the head cooled off, pretty much every piece of meat/tendon/cartilage was pulled or cut off/out of the skull, bagged, and tossed in the freezer (so that a certain chef could have his way with it at a later date).postboil

The next day an amber gruit was brewed, to which Sage, Labrador Tea, and Sweet Gale were added. The thought here was to add native herbs from the area the cow was “harvested” in, herbs that might also be used in cooking such meat. Just before flame-out, 20 gallons of the meat broth was added to the boiled wort—after the congealed fat was skimmed off because, as we all know, fat is a foamy head’s worst enemy!  Shortly thereafter the now meaty wort was pumped into a fermenter and the yeast commenced its business. The remaining 5 gallons of broth was mixed with some Belgian candy syrup and added in two weeks later.

Thanks so much to all the folks who made this historic brew possible, particularly Tad, his generous nephew Josh, his talented niece Erin, Tony the skinner, Taylor the simmer-sitter, and Evan for his unwavering enthusiasm! We expect Bog Mare will be on tap TODAY!

PROST, intrepid imbibers, PROST!!