Thursday, December 29, 2005
Paddling for Beer
One of my fond memories of canoeing in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area, http://www.ely.org, near Ely, Minnesota (even though I have been a tea totaler for the last six years) is the return paddle to our outfitters, http://www.williamsandhall.com/, located on Moose Lake because the staff greets you at their dock with cold beers which taste really damn good after a week or more of paddling against the wind and battling mosquitoes.
I was reminded of both of these great traditions -- canoeing and cold beer -- this month when within one week of each other two giants in their field died. Who were these industry giants you ask? Let me introduce you to them via these abbreviated obituaries:
1.) Joe Seliga -- long time builder of "wood-canvas canoes" died in Ely, Minnesota died at age 94. He was featured in the book, "The Art of the Canoe with Joe Seliga" , having completed over 650 canoes in his career with prices for his best versions hovering around $3,000 per canoe.
2.) Joseph Owades -- a biochemist credited with inventing "light beer" died at age 86. His major discovery was a process for removing starch from beer to reduce carbohydrates and calories. Dr. Owades' first light beer was created in 1967 under the fantastic name of "Gablinger's Diet Beer" which is really interesting because in the USA we say "Diet Coke" but in Europe we say "Coke Light" but I never see "Miller Diet" advertised anywhere :) Dr. Owades may be known as the "Inventor of Light Beer" but I don't want to fail to mention his valuable work on wastewater purification systems which benefited people around the globe.
Joe and Joseph are no longer with us but canoes and beer are immortal :)