Friday, June 20, 2008

Days of the Beer, June 22

There's a series of beers to be drank today.

The first beer is from Bells Brewery, Hopslam. The second beer is from Shoreline Brewery, Smokestack Porter. The third is Three Floyds Behemoth.

On June 22, 1918, was one of the worst circus train wrecks in U.S. history. It happened near Hammond Indiana (original home of Three Floyds until they moved to their new location in Munster, Indiana). 86 circus people died and another 127 were injured when a train engineer fell asleep and ran his train into the rear of the circus train.

Around 4 a.m. Alonzo Sargent was operating a train pulling 20 empty cars. He was following a slower circus train that had 26 cars. The circus train stopped because one of the axles was overheating, Sargent had just fallen asleep and his train plowed into the caboose and 4 sleeping cars, he was going roughly 35 miles per hour.

Sargent's train initially left Kalamazoo Michigan at 10:35 on June 21. (Kalamazoo is the home of Bells Brewery). The train next stopped in Michigan City to take on water. (Michigan City Indiana is the home of Shoreline Brewery). At about 4:05 a.m. June 22, near Hammond Indiana, Sargent fell asleep.

The circus train held about 400 performers for the Hagenbeck-Wallace Circus. Almost a quarter were killed in the first 35 seconds after the collision... then it caught on fire.

Many of the dead were burned beyond recognition and were buried in Woodlawn Cemeter, in Forest Park, Illinois, in a section set aside as Showmen's Rest.

The circus only missed 2 performances, the first in Hammond, the next would have been in Monroe, Wisconsin (home of Minhas Craft Brewery).

The first beer, Bells Hopslam is an American Double IPA. It clocks in at 9.3% ABV. I had this delicious beer on March 16.

The second beer is Shoreline Smokestack, they had recently run out of this brew when we went there March 5. It comes in at 5.5% ABV.

The final beer is Three Floyds Behemoth Blonde Barleywine. It clocks in at 12.5% ABV. This was the 1000th different beer I had last year, on November 3, 2007.

As for why? Each train had a smokestack, the train slammed into the other. Behemoth is in 22 oz. bombers, if you drink that, with the rest, you'll probably fall asleep.

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