Saturday, August 01, 2009

White Breast Brewing

There are a few days a year when I wish I could manage to drink beer, when offered, without having to hold my breath so as not to taste the stuff. As a matter of fact, I can't remember the last time I drank a beer, or tried to. For better or worse, all beer tastes to me as if a large number of sour dishrags had been soaked in water, then wrung out and the result bottled (or canned). It may be genetic. My paternal grandma wasn't a member of the Womens Christian Temperance Union for nothing.

However, I am interested in the micro-brewery process; even know a brewer way up north (in Northwood), who considers brewing beer an art form.

So I was interested today when looking for something else to find the startup blog of folks aiming to start a brewery in Knoxville, called White Breast Brewing.

Now before you get all excited about that white breast, providing you don't already know the lay of the land around here, White Breast Creek (probably spelled "Whitebreast" more often than not here in Lucas County) is a tributary of the Des Moines River that rises over west in Union County, twists and turns through Clarke, then cuts northeasterly through Lucas and Marion to enter that big puddle called Lake Red Rock (it used to enter the Des Moines River near the Red Rocks on the river before the Corps of Engineers flooded everything up thataway). It also has created some of the prettiest scenery in the northwest half of Lucas County --- beautiful valleys and wonderful hills.

I see the brewing proprietors track the name White Breast (or Whitebreast) to a white-breasted bear, which is an interesting legend. But here's what Virgil J. Vogel, author of Iowa Place Names of Indian Origin (University of Iowa Press, 1983) has to say:

"The last treaty signed in Iowa by the Sauks and Foxes, on October 11, 1842, named "White Breast Fork of the Des Moines River" as part of the boundary of the tract that the Indians were to occupy for the next three years, preceding emigration to Kansas.

"According to white accounts, the Indian name for "White Breast River" was "Waupeka sepo." That differs somewhat from the more correct rendiition, Wapeskikaka (White Breast) plus sepo ("river"). The longer word was a name borne by several generations of a Fox Indian family of the Thunder gens. The name appeared as a stream name on maps by Albert Lea (1836) and J.N. Nicollet (1841). It is likely that whites named the stream for one or more of the Indians bearing the name."

Whatever the case may be, I hope the beer becomes famous and the brewers rich. If you'd like to check out the blog, here it is.

No comments: