Lonely in Gillette Wyoming drinks talk more

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Aptly, Gillette has nicknamed itself the Energy Capital of the Nation. And while this has led to periods of great wealth and success, the nature of the industry means there are inevitable busts along with the booms. When one family struggles, they all feel it. New restaurants, shops and businesses are sprouting up from downtown all the way out to city limits. Until recently, they only brewed and served their own mead, which is an unfamiliar liquor to most modern drinkers. Different than wine or beer, mead is fermented honey, yeast and water and stands alone as its own rank of alcohol, like cider.

Though a distinct honey taste is always detectable, mead distillers create different flavors and varieties by infusing the base with assorted fruits, Lonely in Gillette Wyoming drinks talk more, hops and grains. Sam had been casually brewing his own beer when a Lonely in Gillette Wyoming drinks talk more asked him to try his hand at mead.

Initially Sam was hesitant, as honey is expensive and even a small batch of mead requires a considerable investment, but they found a honey farmer who was willing to sell them a barrel at cost, so Sam agreed simply because he ran out of reasons to say no.

Picture a Scandinavian cowboy. Genuinely kind and lovably garrulous, Sam has made friends across the world. They want to be happy, have a family, make a living and live their life. He moved back in to proudly wear a Campbell County Fire Department patch to work. Gillette had grown. There were more young people there, families from different ethnicities, and not everyone worked at the coal mines anymore. He wanted to create something that was for both his lifelong friends as well as all of the new faces in town. And Big Lost Meadery was born. Downtown Gillette is classic small-town Americana.

He bought an abandoned second-hand store, and though the location was perfect, the building needed serious work. With the help of dozens of family members, friends and fellow firefighters, Sam deed and rebuilt the space. But other than that, I had people in there helping me out all the time. The Big Lost building is nothing short of magnificent.

Two levels of exposed brick, mismatching tables and chairs as well as a striking, handcrafted bar will bring the cowboy out of any Norsemen. And as artfully as the building was crafted, so too was the Big Lost brand. These characters all intersect at the fictional Big Lost cabin, which is hidden somewhere deep in the woods of western Wyoming.

Lonely in Gillette Wyoming drinks talk more

For example, the Island Gypsy product is a banana-flavored mead that Sam and a group of friends peeled thousands of bananas to make, after he bribed them with pizza and beer. The character is a Romanian Gypsy who was marooned on a Caribbean island as a young girl by herself for twenty years. Via sheer will, she managed to find her way to the Wyoming mountains and the Big Lost cabin. But the most legendary tale of the entire cast comes from its original member, the Wild Man, named for the first Big Lost mead.

His story begins in a small African village where he was in pursuit of a leopard who had been terrorizing local famers and livestock. A celebrated hunter, the Wild Man laid dozens of traps for the beast, whom locals had named Nataka, or Devil Cat in Nigerian.

Lonely in Gillette Wyoming drinks talk more

The Wild Man approached with a rifle to finish the job, but the cunning Nataka managed to escape. With mutual respect, they both retreated, and to this day, Nataka has never again been seen in the village. It might be something extraordinary like getting attacked by a leopard and living to hang the shirt on the wall, or it might mean beating your buddy at arm wrestling.

Sam has definitely been getting his professional pillage on, as his business has flourished. Despite the growth, his commitment to quality has stayed as stringent as ever. With this move, the back of the Big Lost building became vacant, so Sam and his brother-in-law, Bob Hewitt-Gaffney, started brewing small-batch beer.

Lonely in Gillette Wyoming drinks talk more

The main bar where Sam serves mead was built in the s for a Campbell County fire station by firemen, all of whom Sam knew personally. The Big Lost basement is home to the Fire Room, a small private space filled with Fire Service memorabilia like photos, tools, patches and statues.

Alan was killed in a structure fire when he fell through the roof of the Antelope Valley Baptist Church in He was one of the firefighters who built the bar. The Gillette community is the beating heart of the Big Lost family. The hugely anticipated Viking Dinner is an annual fall event where Sam, his staff and all of the guests dress up in Viking garb for traditional Norse food, music, dancing and even poetry. Everyone is seated at a long, buffet table, and food is passed around family style.

Naturally mead is the drink of choice, but you only get served if you slam your fist down on Lonely in Gillette Wyoming drinks talk more table and yell for the bar wench. Most nights of the year, Big Lost is quiet.

Lonely in Gillette Wyoming drinks talk more

There are no TVs, and the music is soft background noise. In the front, an oversized wooden chair sits next to a small, wood-burning stove that warms the building and stirs the aroma of honey with its own campfire scent. Sam says that when he opened, one of his fantasies was that someone might come in to sip mead and read a book from that chair next to the fire, because that would mean he created an atmosphere warm enough that people could come in and be themselves.

Maybe she had just hiked Devils Tower, and she needed to warm up from the inside out. Perhaps she was in town for a job interview and was sampling what downtown had to offer. Or maybe she had heard that the bison at the Durham Ranch just outside Lonely in Gillette Wyoming drinks talk more Gillette needed saving from a menacing leopard. Like many young boys, Sam dreamed of being a fire fighter, although not necessarily in Gillette.

He ed the Youth Fire Department in junior high, and left Wyoming after high school to work in the fire service and go to college. He held different positions within the industry across the country, including a job with a Hotshot crew in Utah for the Forest Service. They did manage to catch the leopard in one of their traps, but as Shane was about to pull the trigger for the final kill, the chain broke and the cat attacked.

The bloodied t-shirt is framed and hanging on a wall inside the meadery, and Sam recommends Wild Man to mead virgins. Meet The Locals. Meet Sam at Big Lost Meadery.

Lonely in Gillette Wyoming drinks talk more

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Gillette, WY Senior Guide