There are things in this world that are simply unfathomable.
I’ve sat in stunned silence on the edge of the South Rim of the Grand Canyon at sunset, as purple shadows veiled the inconceivably wide gorge. And I’ve felt a dizzying sense of gravity as a telescope on a clear night in Lake Elmo transported me 2.5 million light-years away into the cloudy swirl of a nearby galaxy.
But for Minnesotans like myself, and for Upper Midwesterners in general, we don’t need to travel across the country or the universe to experience moments of transcendence. We need only visit the shores of the Great Lakes.
These freshwater seas are at once awesome and disquieting. Their vastness dwarfs even the largest freighters, rendering the term “lake” and all its quaint connotations laughably inadequate. And in their depths, which range from 210 feet deep in Lake Erie to over 1,300 feet deep in Lake Superior, lies inherent mystery.
In this issue we attempt to plumb these depths, exploring the wrecked remains of ships the lakes have swallowed (pg. 20). We get a taste of how the lakes have influenced the people and cultures living on their shores, from the Ojibwe whose prophetic migration brought them to Gichigamiing (pg. 28) to the changing food scenes of major Great Lakes cities (pg. 66). And we look at the important work being done to restore and conserve the lakes for future generations to come (pg. 10).
This month’s Great Lakes Issue is a reminder that even in the things we know well, there is so much more to be explored. With a voyageur spirit, we are excited to continue bringing you stories that dig deeper into the world of craft beer, food, spirits, arts, the outdoors, and more.
Under The Fresh Water Seas
Divers explore the otherworldly realm of Great Lakes shipwrecks
By David Scheller
Make The Lakes Great Again
The Great Lakes Restoration Initiative restores and maintains the largest freshwater system in the world.
By Jonathon Heide
On The Shores Of The “Great Water”
The Ojibwe people’s migration to Gichigamiing
By Mattie Harper
Craft Culture: Heirloom Muskie Lures
Supernatural Big Baits
By Nels Gilbertson-Urtel
Great summer concerts along the shores of the greatest Great Lake
By Mike Novitzki, The Current
By Kate Murphy
Clues and Solution
By Victor Barocas and Andrew Ries
Dr. Emily Geiger is taming wild yeast on the shores of Superior
By Cedar Schimke
Brewer Profile: Earth Rider Brewer’s Rule of Three
Allyson Rolph, Tim Wilson, and Frank Kaszuba
By Jimmy Gilligan
By John Garland
Fleming Florey & Chain at Vikre Distillery
By John Garland
What We’re Drinking
By Growler Staff
Smoke and No Mirrors
The effort and integrity behind Northern Waters Smokehaus
By Steve Hoffman
Taste of the Great Lakes
The changing food scenes of Milwaukee, Detroit, and Toronto
By Lacey Muszynski, Lexi Trimpe, and David Ort
Looking for past issues? Browse The Growler Archive.