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Best Product Description: “Icelandic Beer Made From Smoked Whale Testicles”. Really.

“We started last year with our first whale beer, Hvalur 1. The health
department didn’t want us to produce it at first, but we were allowed
to. The beer used whale meal as an ingredient, and it was something new
for Iceland. It sold out almost immediately. This year, for Hvalur 2, we
wanted to keep the concept, but use a different whale ingredient. We
decided to use fin whale testicles… We wanted to create a true Thorrablot atmosphere that celebrates
traditional Icelandic food. Every winter, Icelanders gather to eat
traditional food that sustained our ancestors for generations. This is
very popular here in the countryside, and we wanted the beer to be
released at the same time of the festival. The dishes we eat include
boiled sheep heads, liver sausage, ram testicles, fermented shark,
wind-dried fish, smoked lamb meat, and blood pudding. We thought that Hvalur 2 would fit in well with Thorrablot…

Courtesy of David Z.

New Year at the Spur

Our annual tradition: seeing out the year at the Golden Spur Saloon. A selection:

House band: manager Monana Pettis and chef Linda Rael, heading up the ever- evolving 86’d Again, offer up a stomping rock version of Folsom Prison Blues:

(It is a matter of being a local I suppose– it had to be pointed out that an oryx or a bighorn or a javelina wearing a hat are not usual ornaments for a band stage…)

Below: owner Darrel Pettis beams; Bobby Contreras show off his moves; bartender Cat Aragon smiles a BIT wearily (she teaches full time too); Juan Malvido is having too much fun…

Happy New Year from Querencia and the Spur.

Friend’s Adventures, Urban and Rural

Patrick Porter’s survival kit for Sandy, in Natick, MA:

Cole Brooks, Malcolm’s* son, takes his first elk in Montana:

“… kid drew a lottery cow elk tag for this week. Second day out at 3 in the afternoon we hiked up the side of a ridge where we’d spotted cows the evening before. I walked around a stand of trees and right into several dozen animals–maybe 50 total?–squinting into the sun behind my back. I hustled Cole into position, and with a downed tree as a rest he knocked this one down with my BRNO 7×57. 215 yards, and thank God for all that shooting practice the last six years. We spent all yesterday quartering and packing her out (including head and hide), about a mile to the truck, in wet, muddy, miserable weather…but we’ve got meat! Like I said to Cole at the end of it, we earned these ingredients…”

Strange to think I have lived in both environments…

* Malcolm has a book coming soon– watch for it in this space and others…

Vodka from our Mongolian “Home Town”

Lauren brought among other things (like eagle tack I have never seen– be patient!) a bottle of new vodka named after the capitol of Mongolia’s Kazakh “Aimag” or state, therefore the de facto “Berkutchi” capitol. The back is attractive enough, with a Berkutchi painted on it (all photos enlarge if clicked on):

But the front is sensational: a cutout in the shape of the Aimag showing a better view inside the bottle:

And who is that handsome eagler? It’s ARALBAI! (Photo by Cat– you can also see him in the “cowboy” hat with Lauren a few posts below, and read about him in Eagle Dreams).

Good vodka too– thanks, Lauren!