Vernal Brewing Co. | Allosaurus Amber Ale
Utah’s September muzzleloader buck deer hunt yielded, for me, the viewing of several beautiful sunrises, tons of squirrels, birds of prey attacking those squirrels, other orange-clad hunters, lots of does and one tiny spike buck that I thought about shooting for only a moment before letting him walk away unscathed. What it didn’t yield was any buck sizable enough to fill the freezer.
Now I sit here, in October, drinking an Allosaurus Amber Ale from Utah’s Vernal Brewing Co. I drink this tasty, medium-bodied amber ale next to a campfire in the Book Cliffs of Utah, where I’ve spent the last two weekends trying to make up for a failed deer hunt by trying in vain to fill my spike elk tag for the winter’s meat. We’ve seen some elk, but so far the only spike among them was in our neighbor’s campsite, already dead and being prepared to fill their freezer.
Yeah, there’s some disappointment in two failed hunting seasons this fall, but drinking this ice cold bit of goodness somehow makes it better. Allosaurus is smooth but rich, and it has a tasty floral hop bite and aroma that many amber ales lack. Its name is a tribute to Dinosaur National Monument, which lies on the Utah, Colorado border and houses over 1,500 fossil bones. Tonight this beer is washing down baked beans and grilled venison backstrap, a final reminder of last autumn’s good fortune.
It’s uniquely good microbrews like this that help me realize that failing to fill a tag doesn’t necessarily mean a failed season. I’m sitting by a crackling fire under some of the most brilliant stars I’ve ever seen. I’ve spent the last several weeks out in nature with good friends, seeing things that people sitting at home on their iPhones will never see; watching wild horses kick up red dust as they run across vast and gorgeous landscapes; witnessing an eagle swoop down into sagebrush to fly away with a snake in its mouth; and hearing the surreal guttural grunts and then high pitched whistling bugles of bull elk responding to our calls. Oh yeah, and seeing (on this elk hunt) no less than a dozen huge buck deer, six of them travelling together, unphased by our presence as they presented themselves broadside at 40 yards. Where were you guys a couple of weeks ago?
There’s a reason it’s called hunting, and a complex and refreshing beer like this helps remind me of that.