Chapter 9

Montana and other weird beasts

Rocky Mountains Montana Bisons Another couple of hundred years flew by and our Brewer Gnome with his airborne buck swooped, one chilly morning, over some high rocky mountains not realising that these would be named the "Rocky Mountains". Many years later, he was told by a Spanish aunt that this province called Montana meant mountains in her language. As our gnome looked down from a granite peak (called Granite Peak and 3901 meters high) he saw wide pastures teeming with animals looking like thousands of ants nests packed together. As he swooped down from the Rocky Mountains to the land below he suddenly realized that these anthills were herds and herds of four legged cattle whose size and weight he had greatly underestimated. American Bison Some of these hairy colossi were about 3 meters long, surely 2 meters in height and weighed around 1,000 kg. They moved around in large herds. And watch out! Never call an American Bison a Buffalo or your time will be up! These animals roamed free in those days and there were hundreds of thousands of them.

National Bison Range The "National Bison Range (NBR)" was formed in 1908 to protect this exceptional species. The NBR is one of the oldest national animal parks in the USA. Now it's time to ask about the local people. Between the alpine meadows full of flowers and woods with wild animals, our Brewer Gnome landed near a group of indigenous Indians called Crows. These people who had evolved from being brave bison hunters through many tribal feuds and colonial wars had transformed themselves into valiant warriors.

John Merin Bozeman (1837 –1867) John Merin Bozeman (1837-1867) was an early Montana pioneer and assisted in the creation of the "Bozeman Trail" which opened up the goldfields of South West Montana. This was accomplished through hard fighting with the local Indian tribes. The town of Bozeman (MT), with its 40,000 inhabitants, still remembers the nineteenth century gold rush.

headstrong Pale Ale Our Flying Brewer Gnome found out that his two faithful friends, Chris and Pierre from Achouffe, had experienced their first "Intercontinental Collaboration Brew" there in 1998 with the "Big Hole Brewery" (alas now no longer in business). The "Big Hole Headstrong Pale Ale" was named in commemoration of the American bison. Together with Jeff  Dafoe, their American importer of La Chouffe, Bison Beer was test brewed in a small brewery with a capacity of only 7 hectolitres. A paddle was used to stir the brew and the "Big Boogaloo" was filled exclusively in casks. A label was never made for this brew. This special event took place in Belgrade, a small place near to Bozeman airport.

City Bozeman (MT) The Brewer Gnome and his flying buck stayed on in search of lively and tasteful company and developed useful friendships which led them to understand the heartfelt enthusiasm of the average American for good brewing.