Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Lake Superior Holds Deep Secret of Serpent Lore

Michigan's North Peak Brewing Company Celebrates the Legend with its Seasonal Sinuous Celtic Ale -- Available March 1

The legend has been passed down for generations – 100 years or more, of a massive 75-foot long serpent-like creature seen lurking in the cold, fresh waters of Lake Superior. Containing 10 percent of all the Earth’s fresh water, Lake Superior – at about 350 miles long, 170 miles wide and some 1300 feet deep – is more than ample in size to be home to a large and mysterious creature such as this.

With its long neck and whale-like body, the creature is said to resemble that of the Loch Ness Monster, of Scotland notoriety. Often spotted in the deep, rocky waters off the Isles of Presque, some have suggested this creature is actually a giant sturgeon or even an extremely large Northern Pike. Yet those who have had personal encounters with the nautical beast say that simply is impossible.

As far back in time as 1894, crews of two steamers spotted the creature protruding seven to eight feet out of the water about halfway between Whitefish Bay and Copper Harbor. In July 1895, three members of steamer crew caught sight of a dark and scaly creature keeping pace with their boat. They claim it had a jaw at least a foot wide, with a 15-foot-long arched neck.

A Detroit man fell overboard and was attacked by a large serpent near Duluth, Minnesota in 1897 and while three of his shipmates witnessed the horrific event, they were unable to pull him from the jaws of the giant creature.

Two fishermen spotted a serpent near Pictured Rocks in the mid 1930s. They said as the creature swam, it created a wake so large it rocked their boat from side to side. As recent as May 1977, a hiker reports being menaced by a large serpent with a horse-like head and long catfish whiskers as he walked the rocky Lake Superior shoreline.

In honor of this mystical creature, Northern United Brewing Company has released Sinuous Celtic Ale – the latest seasonal in its line of hand-crafted microbrews. Sinuous will be available in early March in six-packs, 1/2bbls and on tap at pubs around the state – including Jolly Pumpkin, North Peak Brewing, Blue Tractor and other fine establishments.

“The Sinuous name came from a close childhood friend, Mike White, who is the only person we've ever known to have had an encounter with this creature,” says Greg Lobdell, who – along with Jon Carlson, Ron Jeffries and Mike Hall – are the managing partners of Northern United Brewing Company. “Like almost everyone from Northern Michigan, Mike is an outdoorsman – with an appreciation for all aspects of nature.”

It was his passion for snapping turtles that actually lead Mike to his first and only life-altering encounter with the Lake Superior creature.

“It was a trip to Marquette while we were in high school,” recalls Carlson. “Mike was walking the shore of Lake Superior in search of the snappy reptile when he spotted the massive creature skulking in the crystal-clear waters. While he was too shocked to get a photo with his camera, the image of the hideous creature remains burned into his brain to this day.”


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