Raising the Right Ale to the Rogues of the Bering Sea

While “reality television” may be a bit of an oxymoron, like most viewers I enjoy the possibility of a big rig crashing through the ice on its way up to Prudhoe Bay, or some overly vexed gator finally getting the chance to experience the fruits of Cajun cooking–even if it is secondhand. Quite honestly though, I have very little respect or tolerance for this broadcast genre. But there is one show that I believe is worthy of its popularity and critical acclaim–the Discovery Channel’s Deadliest Catch.

 On April 12th, the courageous crews of the Cornelia Marie, Time Bandit, Seabrooke, Ramblin Rose, Kodiak, Wizard and of course Captain Sig’s Northwestern will once again brave the deadly and unforgiving waters of the Bering Sea hoping for another bountiful harvest of the two-clawed treasure. And once again, the crew at American Public House Review will fill our glasses with that fine India Red Ale from the brewers at Rogue, as we wish all those who bring  home the catch “Fair winds and following seas.”

Creating my own maritime superstition

Sailing the salt seas has always been one of mankind’s most dangerous missions.  Despite dizzying advancements in technology over the centuries, it still remains a difficult and at times deadly occupation.  For the men who fish for crab in Alaska’s Bering Sea, it can often seem downright nutty.  Huge seas, dangerous condition on deck, and unconscionable working hours can make even the hardiest of men weary of his surroundings and of the supernatural forces that seem to control them.

That is why you will find no place more full of superstition than on the deck of a working ocean vessel.  Years and years of experience make the fisherman certain of one thing; these superstitions are not to be taken lightly.

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For instance bananas are terribly bad luck on board a ship, as are women and black suitcases.  No sailor would ever be comfortable knowing that a priest or even some flowers are on board, as on a ship both seem to only be useful for funerals.  If you think it’s a good idea to whistle while you work, you’ll soon find that you have whistled up a storm.  You must, under all circumstances, step on board with your right foot first.  And don’t ever, EVER, leave port on a Friday.

But not all superstitions bring about certain nautical doom.  Some bring good luck.  For instance, dolphins following in the wake of a ship are terrific good luck.  Even though I mentioned before that women are seen as bad luck, a naked woman is good luck.  (That’s right!  Those figures on the bow of old sailing ships are not naked just because the guys have been at sea with a boat full of men for months and months.)  And thankfully pouring wine on the deck is also good luck.

Captain Sig's Deadliest Ale from the Rogue Brewery

Well, I think I have found a new omen that can bring good luck to those at sea.  Captain Sig Hansen of the F/V Northwestern, seen on the Discovery Channel’s immensely watchable reality television series about crab fishing on Alaska’s Bering Sea called The Deadliest Catch, has teamed up with the Rogue Brewery in Oregon to produce Captain Sig’s Deadliest Ale.  Now the name may not sound like it brings good luck, after all the word “deadliest” doesn’t exactly inspire good feelings.  But I am fairly certain that if you toast a glass of this beer to the health and well being of the fleet, it couldn’t hurt.  And while you’re at it, toast to everyone else at sea.  Again it can only help!

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Posted by: David McBride 

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