The Growler: Issue 68 – June 2019 – Wild

"Golden Hour" by Kurt Seaberg

“Golden Hour” by Kurt Seaberg

When I was in the Scouts, I spent a night in the woods for the Wilderness Survival merit badge with nothing but the clothes on my back, a bottle of water, and a few essential items I could fit in my pockets—a medium-sized Swiss Army knife, flint, space blanket, carabiner, and a small length of lightweight rope.

Out of earshot of the main campground, a group of us spread out and built improvised shelters for the night. I used my rope to lash together a basic lean-to using spruce boughs laid over a frame of sturdy branches. As the sun set, I ran my knife across the flint to throw sparks into a ball of tinder I placed in the bottom of a makeshift fire pit dug into the dirt.

Though I was within eyeshot of the other scouts and adults, it was easy enough to pretend that I was alone in the wilderness, like the 13-year-old protagonist from Gary Paulsen’s “Hatchet.” I sat around the crackling fire deep into the night and wondered if I had what it took to survive in the wild as Brian Robeson had done in the book. Hungry and chilled, I took out my space blanket, crinkled it around myself, crawled under the lean-to, and shut my eyes.

The wild has a way of showing us who we are and what we’re capable of. At the same time, it commands respect and reminds us that, no matter our best-laid plans and strategies, we are not fully in control.
This month in our “Wild” issue, we share expert advice on how to seek adventure and manage risk when exploring remote places like the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness. We share stories of distillers and brewers harnessing the power of wild yeast and microflora, and winemakers celebrating the fruits borne of volcanic destruction. And we profile a century-old organization whose mission is to give kids of all backgrounds the chance to experience the wild and find out who they are.

As I learned all those years ago, it can be one of the most powerful experiences a kid can have.


Brian Kaufenberg


Canoeing across a fog covered lake // Photo by Hansi Johnson

How To Boundary Waters
Minnesota’s favorite outdoor playground is open to all—with a bit of planning
By James Norton

Camp Fire
Over a century of bringing kids of all backgrounds into the great outdoors to discover their true natures
By Brendan Kennealy

Artist Profile
Kurt Seaberg
By Lauren Sauer

Cooke Custom Sewing
Handsewn outdoors gear for the harshest elements
By John Lundquist

Cooke Custom Sewing
Handsewn outdoors gear for the harshest elements
By John Lundquist

Musical Minnesota
Bands (other than Bon Iver) that chased the muse into the woods
By Lydia Moran, The Current

The Growler’s Outdoor Guide

Growler Crossword
This month: “Culture Club”
By Victor Barocas and Andrew J. Ries


Eastern Promises: Getting them right in a cocktail takes a delicate touch
Shochu and baijiu are entering the Minnesota market
By John Garland

Brewer Profile: Jace Marti The Starkeller
Bringing Berliner Back
By Ellen Burkhardt

Spirits Close-Up: The Next, Next Cool Spirit
A Compromise Cocktail Recipe
By Zachary Sapato

Spontaneous Reaction
The Méthode Traditionnelle Society aims to define and brand ‘American lambic’
By Louis Livingston-Garcia

Wine Time: Volcanic Wines
Volcanic Wines Aren’t Just Trendy, They’re Timeless
By Matt Wieland

What We’re Drinking
June 2019
By The Growler Staff


Willi Lehner in his cheese cave at his home in Blue Mounds, Wis. // Photo by Lauren Justice

The Cheese Stands Alone
Willi Lehner forges world-class wheels on his self-sufficient wisconsin farmstead
By Lindsay Christians

“Plants Have So Much to Give Us, All We Have to Do Is Ask” is botany, history, and sacred stories, all wrapped up in leaves
By James Norton

Northern Lights
Talent and ambition powers the dining room of Poplar Haus on the Gunflint Trail
By James Norton

Looking for past issues? Browse The Growler Archive.