After the screening of The Unsinkable Henry Morgan, I had a chance to chat with super chill underwater archaeologist and all around good guy Fritz Hanselmann.
Hanselmann is really the star of the film. His voice drives it and his personality shines through. He’s the kinda guy you’d want to get drunk with as you listen to him educate you about pirate history. It’d probably be pretty sweet to scuba dive and recover sunken sea treasures with the dude as well. Here’s the conversation we had:
CS: So who discovered the cannons first?
FH: I did.
CS: You did. So you were there? How did you know where to look? You had to have gotten like a tip or something, right?
FH: We knew that he’d wrecked the ships in that general area on the reef, so we started looking in the reef. And that’s one of those spots where it’s like waves are crashing and you’re just kind of holding on. What we did was we run a line and we’d follow that and just do visual observation. We call it visual survey. We’re basically just observing what’s there. And then we make notes and we come back and we do illustrations and create a site map of anything we found. We found eight guns to start off and then when we went back in 2010, a couple of guns, the two smallest, were gone. We also noticed that there was a lot of disturbance to the site. They’d had a big storm come through and the two smallest guns, those ones you could lift with your hands. I’m presuming that they were rolled offsite during the storm because some of the other ones that were exposed were buried under rock that we found with the metal detectors later on. Still sort of in the same place but the site had changed.
CS: So how come you could only excavate in the summer?
FH: Well we teach the rest of the year so…
FH: So it’s I do have a day job. This is just one of those things where the best time to go is typically July through September. So we try to go May/June so that it coincides with summer break and we can get some students involved and we can get some other people from different organizations and institutions to come and take part in the project.
CS: There has to be like a huge waitlist for students that wanted to get in on this shit, right?
FH: Oh, yeah. Oh, yeah. It was graduate students only and to be honest I think we had about four or five because this project wasn’t quite ready for field schools, which is what the students typically participate in to get that experience. So we had volunteer drivers, friends and colleagues of mine from the National Parks Service’s Submerged Resources Center, from NOA, Aquarius Reef Base, the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement, they have maritime archaeologists. So we had a number of people from different organizations and the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, which is part of the Smithsonian, they’ve got a base in Panama, helped provide some logistical backing as well, scuba tanks and whatnot. So I pulled a team from, basically friends and colleagues of mine that were top notch and raring to go. There was a waitlist among them, too.
CS: How did you first get into the whole underwater archaeology thing?
FH: Man, that’s a good question. I grew up snorkeling and free diving in Florida where my grandparents live and I was in love with all things aquatic. I watched the Jacques Cousteau reruns, but I also love history so I would read biographies of Leif Ericson and Columbus and the explorers and the history of Mesoamerica and the conquest of the Americas by the Spanish. And what little kid doesn’t like pirates? I mean how many Pirates of the Caribbean movies do we need? It’s a good business model, everybody wants pirates.
FH: I mean I even watched the old Errol Flynn movies when I was a kid.
CS: The Black Swan was featured in the film. I used to watch that a lot growing up.
FH: Yeah, exactly! See? It’s there and it’s fascinating and it’s something that people are interested in. And when I found out that there were like various possibilities that I could make a living doing it, I was like…
CS: Sign me up.
FH: Yeah! And here we are and it’s been amazing and I’m looking forward to more stuff in the future.
CS: So what’s the game plan for the upcoming summer?
FH: I’ve got a couple grad students who are interested in looking at the one shipwreck that we do have and so I’d like that to continue doing the study on that.
CS: But you’re going to move on to other potential –
FH: Absolutely, man! We have, I talked about anomalies in the Q&A session, we have approximately a 150 targets and we’ve only been driving 20 to 22 of them. So there’s all kinds of stuff that we still need to check out and with all the movement of the sediment at the bottom, chances are they’re going to be completely buried. Until we actually start digging holes and testing to see what’s there, we won’t be able to know. It’s not like we can just go and see so that’s a disadvantage and it makes it harder to find. But the flipside is when you find it you have something that’s phenomenal, like that shipwreck where you’ve got an intact hull structure. I mean if you think about it, it’s a three-hundred-and-twenty some year old shipwreck and you’ve got the hull, you’ve got these wooden chests, and if it were exposed, you wouldn’t have half that stuff. So the fact that it’s buried, it creates an environment that’s anoxic. So oxygen can’t get to it, it can’t cause deterioration.
CS: And that also helps the wood.
CS: And I know you mentioned the warm waters, is that an additional challenge because of the preservation factor?
FH: Yeah. For preservation of organic artifacts, especially in the case of shipwrecks, warm saltwater is the worst there is. And in addition, in the Caribbean, there’s an organism called Teredo navalis or Teredo worms. It’s basically a ship worm. It eats wood. So you’ll find these pieces of wood and you’ll see that worms have bored through the wood and that leads to further breakdown of the shipwreck. So if you take what you saw there and if you go up to the Baltic Sea by the Netherlands, you will find intact ships with masts upright, hole in the hull and it’s because it’s that cold that the wood doesn’t deteriorate. Same with the Great Lakes. You’ll find some phenomenal shipwrecks in the Great Lakes because it’s cold and it’s fresh.
CS: So how long does it take to uncover and recover four feet of sand?
FH: Well once we’ve uncovered it…
CS: You know what you’re doing at that point.
FH: Yeah, yeah. The trick is, that sediment has been there for almost a few hundred years, however long it took for that wreck to come into a state of equilibrium with the surrounding environment. So sometimes you have to work really hard just to get up some of that sand because you’ve got a mixture of sand with river sediment and river sediment’s more clay and so that makes it stickier and harder to get through. So that’s one of the difficulties but once you get that off, it becomes looser and when you go back to review it again…
CS: It’s a much easier job.
FH: Exactly! The first try is always the hardest because it’s been there forever and it’s compact and it’s more difficult.
CS: So in the film you had that moment where you talk about finding the cannon and you were kind of at a loss for words. Can you find some of those words for me?
FH: I think that was one of those moments where I think I even said to Michael, “You guys are going to use that, right?”
FH: Yeah, right? It’s breathtaking really because for me that’s what archaeology is all about. That’s what makes me be like “This is the coolest thing,“ because we’re not just reading about it, we’re touching it. We’re interacting with it. It’s like, you put your hand on that handle and it’s like “Holy crap! This was on Captain Morgan’s ship,” you know. What was it used for? And that to me is what archaeology is about; it’s about making history tangible. We’re really, literally interacting with the past.
CS: So what kind of classes do you teach on the regular? It can’t all be sunshine and Caribbean vacations.
FH: Well the trick is, my faculty position at Texas State is a research faculty position, so I’m not beholden to a certain course load. The tradeoff is that I don’t have a tenured position. So I teach courses in Scientific Diving, so training students in the basics of how to do science underwater, mapping, fish counts, transects, looking at shipwrecks, hull-based communications, surface of wide air. I think you saw in there at some points we didn’t have tanks on our backs.
CS: Yeah, I noticed that. It was just a big, long tube.
FH: Yeah, we had a unit on the surface that would pump air down the hose to the regulator in the hull and as long as there’s gas in the unit, you will dive for four hours. You’re not limited by the capacity of the tank. So all the different things that you can use in these different situations, you’ll learn about in the basics of scientific diving. I teach an Underwater Technology Techniques course. I also teach a graduate seminar on heritage management, so looking at how different countries, different organizations and institutions manage historical archaeological sites.
CS: It’s gotta vary across the board in terms of standards and regulations.
FH: Yea, it is. I look at it as more of a theoretical course and so we look at what makes them decide…why are they building this massive highway around Stonehenge? Not that they are, but what are the implications of doing so. What are the different implications of construction or whatever? Like do you open it up to the public? Do you allow people to go snorkel shipwrecks? And it’s not just shipwrecks it’s also looking at sites that are on land as well.
CS: So do you suspect then, I mean you didn’t find The Salvation, but was it likely one of the other ships that was wrecked during that whole Panama siege?
FH: I’m pretty certain that this wreck that we’re looking at is of the same time period, but I think it’s Spanish. Some of the chests,the tops of them were eroded away and you could see nails and mule shoes. Now the mule train was like the backbone of Panama, because the mule train would take the goods and the gold and the silver and all the stuff from the Pacific to the river to the mountains. The other route was across Panama City to Portobello. So that speaks to me that is was Spanish. Looking at the sword. And in doing some follow up archival research, I had a colleague of mine who’s a historian in Seville who did me a big favor. He looked up a few things for me, and there was a Spanish merchant ship that sank in 1681, ten years after Morgan, and it had a cargo of chests and mule shoes and stuff like that and who knows? Maybe it was inbound to help reconstruct the fort after Morgan thrashed it.
CS: But you’re still pretty confident that those are Morgan’s cannons?
FH: Oh, yeah. The distance between where we located the cannons and the shipwreck is roughly a kilometer. So they weren’t really on the wreck at all. The guns were on the reef and that’s why those smaller guns speak to the fact that some of those other anomalies could be really interesting. And this is a really bad place to dive, the swells are big. So you’ll be on the bottom and you’ll have a four or five foot swell. And it hurts your ears because you can’t go any deeper, but it’s increasing the pressure on you and after a while it starts to make you dizzy and of course it makes it harder for the guys topside to try and tend the line.
CS: Especially with the reef involved.
FH: Oh, yeah. And if you’ve trying to dig there, you need to have at least two, probably four anchor systems, so the boat doesn’t go everywhere and take you off the site. But yeah, the cannons were on the reefs themselves and they’re smaller which means they would’ve been on the upper decks. So if you hit, then they’ve fallen off. But the bigger guns probably would be with the wreck.
CS: Super buried.
CS: So were you stoked when Captain Morgan the brand, the rum company, got involved? Was that a fun thing? Like, oh yes, extra interest!
FH: Yes, absolutely. Working with the Captain Morgan brand has been great because normally with grants and research funding that we look for, the process to get those funds is….
CS: There’s got to be a lot less red tape when you’re going straight to someone who sees the benefit of a marketing opportunity.
FH: Yes, exactly. Sometimes the process can be convoluted and sometimes it can be bureaucratic and the Captain Morgan brand is kind of like “Cool, this is awesome! We want in. How much can we give you?” and I’m like …
CS: “How much you got?”
FH: Exactly! So they’ve dialed it back a little bit but it’s been great. It’s been really great working with them and I look forward to doing stuff in the years to come.
CS: How long do you spend on something like this? Is this something that you spend all your summers on for the foreseeable future?
FH: Yeah, absolutely! What I’d like to do is have another two month field season and then look at making it like a month every year, where we come into the field, we’ve got all the equipment and we just dive in, work for four weeks, see what we can find and keep studying. As an example, there’s a shipwreck off the coast of Turkey and it’s like been 10 years of excavating. Of course they did a total land excavation. In this case, we’re probably not going to excavate the entire shipwreck.
FH: Maybe. If there’s money, yeah sure, but we have to be realistic. Like Tomas said in the film, Panama is hoping that this will be a long term project and so am I.
CS: That’s got to be good, having the government’s support.
FH: Absolutely. I mean they’re the ones who allow us to be in their country and allow us to work with their cultural heritage. And the trick is that we’re doing this as a public good, a public benefit. It’s just fun and we’re learning and everybody’s learning and the Captain Morgan brand helps to put that message out there and teach people more about underwater archaeology and the history of Panama. So really, it’s a win-win for everybody and Panama keeps its heritage and it’s not being sold off.
This past Tuesday I attended a screening of The Unsinkable Henry Morgan, a 30 minute documentary that will air on the Sundance Channel this Sunday night. The film will also be showcased at Sundance over the weekend.
The documentary follows underwater archeologist Fritz Hanselmann and a team of specialists who conducted an archeological expedition in Panama with the hopes of finding five ships that Morgan lost in 1671 by the Lajas Reef. Among the ships lost was Morgan’s flagship, The Satisfaction.
The documentary covers the crew’s work that was conducted this past summer, but the story really starts back in 2010, when Hanselmann discovered six iron cannons belonging to Sir Henry Morgan himself. After receiving funding from the Captain Morgan rum brand, Hanselmann has been able to go back to Panama each summer to try and uncover more historical goodies found in the lost wreckage of a ship that dates back to the same era.
Directed by Michael Haussman, the documentary is put together really well. The film provides a good bit of history into this Captain Morgan’s pirating ways, British challenges to the Spanish Main and Morgan’s impact on the history of Panama. You get into the characters as the try to rebuild/revisit the world of Captain Henry Morgan. And Fritz Hanselmann is just a badass.
Here’s the trailer:
So basically its 30 minutes well spent. After you’re done watching football this weekend, make sure to queue it up on your DVR. Oh, and the film is best viewed with a Captain Morgan cocktail in your hand (trust me). Here’s some Captain cocktail inspiration from the screening:
What’s up all you MANjr / Mac fanboys out there. You interested in the most badass case for your new iPhone 5? Well, I have it for you…
The guys at Element Case have been making sick cases for iPhones (and other phones too….if you care) for a while now and their case for the new iPhone is the best yet. I personally used their case on my iPhone 4 for two years and my experience with the case is that it’s bulletproof and stylish at the same time. The Sector 5 case for the iPhone 5 is no different.
I installed the case on my new phone and immediately starting getting comments. “What kind of phone is that?” “Do you work for Apple?” “Is that some sort of pre-production Apple phone?” I get at least one comment on this case every 48 hours. It’s that dope. I use it on my personal phone and carry it around every day .and I love it.
A quick review on the company’s website will give you all the details on this kickass case. Yes, its spendy ($139.95), but you’ve already decided to buy one of the most expensive phones on the market. Why not protect it with the best case out there?
Here are the spec / goodies that come with the case:
- Ultra thin “Multi-link” system for fast and easy install
- Modular design for replacement and upgrade parts option
- CNC machined in the US using aerospace grade materials
- Large volume control ports for easy access
- Large peripheral ports, fully compatible with the original Lightning cable
- Protective Zipper case with transit kit (screen protector and speed wrench)
The stickers included with the case to cover the sides of your phone are there so the case doesn’t scratch the edges of your phone (metal to metal is no bueno). It is kinda tedious to install, but a necessary evil unless you don’t mind scratching your phone.
If you want a super bitchin’ case to go with your super cool phone, this is the one. Period. End of story. MANjr approved….no question.
Steven G. Patton
Jetsetter & MANjr Product Tester at Large
The Presidential Inauguration will be held in Washington DC January 21 on Martin Luther King Jr Day. The reelection and swearing in of America’s first African-American president 150 years after the Emancipation Proclamation signifies a major step forward for our country.
In commemoration of the United States’ perseverance and unity, the official theme for the inauguration is “Faith in America’s Future.” For those in Southern California unable to attend the festivities in our nation’s capital, there is an event on Sunday, January 20 that encapsulates the theme of “Faith in America’s Future.”
Thanks to Jeffrey Coprich and the Inner City Youth Foundation, the best local student athletes will be honored at the Annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration & Inaugural Unsung Heroes Awards “An Evening of Champions” to be held at Celebrity Centre’s Garden Pavilion in Hollywood.
Award recipients will be recognized for their exceptional performance in the classroom, on the field and within the community.
Media coverage for the event will be provided by www.collegelevelathletes.com. Founded by former UC Davis wide receiver and kick returner Aaron Plunkett, CLA serves to empower the next generation of student athletes by providing a platform to gain exposure. Student athletes can create a free recruiting profile that provides coaches and recruiters better insight to their talent. CLA is dedicated to helping any athlete interested in competing at the college level.
Several of the student athletes to be honored are committed to big time college football programs. With quality young people like these, faith in the future is simple.
If you’re in the Hollywood area Sunday night, come on down to Garden Pavilion to the Unsung Heroes Awards Ceremony and celebrate student athletes every American can be proud of.
At Denver -9 Baltimore
Manning steamrolls at home.
Pick: Broncos -9
At San Francisco -3 Green Bay
Green Bay gets revenge.
Pick: Packers +3
At Atlanta -2.5 Seattle
Seattle confirms Atlanta’s playoff weakness.
Pick: Seahawks +2.5
At New England -9.5 Houston
Brady makes sure the Texans play from behind.
Pick: Pats -9.5
At Houston -4.5 Cincinnati
It’s strange to think that Andy Dalton has more playoff experience than Matt Schaub, but it’s true. Schaub’s set to make his first postseason start, and his team has dropped three of the last four games. The Bengals, on the other hand, are coming in pretty hot. I think both of these teams are not likely to make a deep run, but I like the Bengals to come in to Houston and put up a damn good fight.
Pick: Bengals +4.5
At Green Bay -7.5 Minnesota
I want to believe that the Minnesota magic will continue, but I think it stops here. The Packers are healthy, humbled and ready to put a stop to all this Vikings madness. Everyone knows AP’s carrying the load, but I think this time, it won’t be enough.
Pick: Packers -7.5
At Baltimore -7 Indianapolis
I’m a big fan of momentum going into the playoffs. Teams can’t just turn it on at will. You gotta be riding on something positive to sustain success in the postseason. The Ravens have lost four of their last five games. The Colts have won nine of their eleven games. The links between these two franchises run deep, but the momentum is all on Indy’s side.
Pick: Colts +7
Seattle -3 At Washington
Two sensational rookie QBs duke it out for the chance to advance. If this game was in Seattle, the Seahawks would be favored by multiple scores. It’d be an easy call. But the Skins get home field advantage, and they’re gonna need it. The Seahawks are riding a five-game win streak and that includes a three week stretch where they absolutely crushed people, beating the Cardinals, Bills and Niners by a combined 150-30. One thing to consider though, is the only quality opponent that Seattle has beaten on the road is the Bears. And that was in overtime. Seattle’s road victories include wins at Arizona, Carolina, Buffalo and Chicago. This is easily the toughest road challenge they’ve had all season. If Seattle can get over this hurdle, they’ll make some noise. I think the Skins, winners of seven straight, can feed off the home crowd and stay in it.
Pick: Skins +3
Last Week: 10-6
Last Season: 140-120-12
It’s the last week of the regular season, folks. It’s been an interesting year. Young QBs have injected hope in sad, sorry franchises. The playoff-bound teams of the AFC look similar to the group that went last year, with the Colts being the only new addition. There’s been considerably more turnover in the NFC, with the final slot still TBD.
Fantasy football is over, but there’s still time to make a few more bets or look to bet on the Super Bowl online. On to the picks.
At Buffalo -3.5 NY Jets
Sanchez gets the call and no one can be happy about that. On the flipside, Ryan Fitzpatrick is fielding questions on whether this will be his final NFL start. Both QBs could be destined for clipboard duty soon.
Pick: Bills -3.5
At New England -10 Miami
The Pats put forth a sorry effort last week. Look for them to end the year with a convincing W.
Pick: Pats -10
At Cincinnati -2.5 Baltimore
This game changes nothing about the AFC Playoff picture. I think the crowd in Cincy will fire the Bengals to victory.
Pick: Bengals -2.5
At Pittsburgh -10 Cleveland
Everyone who can make plays for the Browns will not be making plays on Sunday. Thad Lewis gets the nod under center, with Brandon Weeden and Colt McCoy out. Trent Richardson is sitting too. This is a meaningless game for both teams, but you’d think the Steelers would show some pride and close out the season at home against what amounts to a second-string team.
Pick: Steelers -10
Houston-6.5 At Indianapolis
This game means more to Houston than it does to Indy, but I don’t think that’s going to dictate how things will unfold. The Texans have never won in Indy, and they’ll be up against a raucous crowd, a playoff-like atmosphere and the return of Chuck Pagano. I like the Colts to ride into the playoffs with some inertia.
Pick: Colts +6.5
At Tennessee -4 Jacksonville
The Titans are coming off a serious drubbing. The Jags are a two win team riding a four game losing streak. There doesn’t seem to be anything compelling here, but I think the home team with the better record gets the benefit of the doubt.
Pick: Titans -4
At NY Giants -7.5 Philadelphia
The Giants need all kinds of help to get to the postseason. It all starts with a win against Michael Vick, who’s basically treating this game like a job interview. New York needs a win plus a Dallas loss or tie, plus a Chicago loss and a Minnesota loss to get in the tourney. It doesn’t look good. Still, I think the G-men show up for the first time in weeks.
Pick: Giants -6.5
At Washington -3 Dallas
A win for Dallas clinches the NFC East. Same thing is true for the Skins. This is really a playoff game for both teams. The Skins can still sneak if they lose, provided that the Bears and Vikings both lose as well, but this is a win and in situation. As awesome as Romo and Dez Bryant has been these past few weeks, I like the Skins’ chances better. RGIII is healthier and ready to will this team to the postseason.
Pick: Skins -3
Chicago - 3 At Detroit
The Lions can spoil things for the floundering Bears. The Bears need a win and a Vikings loss to get through. It all starts in the Motor City though. The Lions are going to come out chucking the football, trying to get Megatron over the 2,000 yard mark. The Bears haven’t exactly been lighting up scoreboards these past few weeks. I say they finally get it together and put up some points.
Pick: Bears -3
Green Bay -3 At Minnesota
It’s hard not to love the Vikings. They’ve been on such a roll of upsets. And I know the Packers are already locked in to the playoffs, but I still think they’re a much better team. Still, there’s something about the Vikings at home. They’re 6-1 at home this season and oone more win gets them in.
Pick: Vikings +3
At Atlanta -3 Tampa Bay
The Bucs have lost five in a row and Atlanta’s not resting any starters.
Pick: Falcons -3
At New Orleans -5 Carolina
Up and down year ends on a high note for the Saints.
Pick: Saints -5
At Denver-16 Kansas City
The Chiefs are the lowest scoring team in the NFL. The Broncos are second only to the Pats in the points department. The Broncos are locked in to their playoff slot, but Peyton Manning knows all too well what happens when you let up off the gas to close out the regular season. Broncos roll.
Pick: Broncos -16
At San Diego -8 Oakland
This one’s for Norv!
Pick: Chargers -8
At San Francisco -16.5 Arizona
Brian Hoyer makes his first NFL start. It could be his last. Aldon Smith has 19.5 sacks on the year. He’s within striking distance of Michael Strahan’s sham sack record and you know he’s going to be gunning for Hoyer all day. Six players from San Francisco’s defense are heading to the Pro Bowl. Six! Arizona’s looking at a painful end to a painful season.
Pick: 49ers -16.5
At Seattle -10.5 St. Louis
The Seahawks look like the team most likely to do damage in the playoffs. At home, they’re lights out. Look for them to go 8-0 on the year in Seattle.
Pick: Seahawks -10.5
Last Week: 11-5
Last Season: 140-120-12
The NFL playoffs are right around the corner, and it’s not too late to show your team spirit with a bit of an old-school flavor. Karmaloop’s Mitchell & Ness Nostalgia Co. collection offers some pretty sweet throwback gear for teams from the NFL and other major sports.
Sure, Mr. Purist, it would be nice to get your hands on the real, authentic, old-school deal, but you know it’s just way too hard to track down your favorite team’s throwback stuff at a thrift store, flea market or other vintage purchasing spot. Plus, if you do find old-school gear for your team, it may not be in the best shape. And it may not be as comfy as the new-school throwbacks that are currently available from Mitchell and Ness.
We were sent an extra cozy Steelers sweater, and I got to say with LA temperatures hitting an all-time low of 55 to 60 degrees, I’ve been sporting this thing on the regular. It’s super-soft, pretty durable, and it’s something you can wear on the couch, in the bar, out and about, you name it.
So if you want to support your team going into the playoffs (or if you’re a Jets fan and you just want to show your rebellious pride/hope for next season), I suggest checking out the collection of old-school gear (hats, jackets, sweaters, jerseys) available from Mitchell & Ness Nostalgia Co. Stuff isn’t cheap, but you do get what you pay for: unique, high quality, throwback team support apparel that’s totally worth the price.
Zombies, hot pin-up girls, Rev Run, a full military evacuation, off-roading, zip lines and ATVs, spa treatments, freshly fallen snow, southern luxury, a decommissioned government bunker and one really posh hotel built in the mid-nineteenth century. If the world was supposed to end, this is where you’d want to be.
December 21, 2012 came and went, and we’re all still alive. But if for some reason the world had come to a close, the MANjr team and 400 other party goers would have been save and sound. That’s all thanks to Shock Top and the End of the World Bunker Party that the beer brand hosted at The Greenbriar in West Virginia.
The winners came from far and wide. Some people won a trip to the party from Facebook. Others gained entry through giveaways and sweepstakes held at bars, on the web and on the radio. However they got there, the people assembled were ready to party like there was no tomorrow.
The whole event was a study in clever brand marketing, high-level logistics and epic execution. Designated survivors were notified weeks in advance of the party and were sent top secret materials about the weekend’s events and festivities. We were given the option to choose from a variety of “end of the world” training events. This included a 5K Zombie run, off-road driving training, a zip line and ATV adventure, a trip on a biplane (which was cancelled due to the weather conditions), polar plunge, bungee jumping or the chance to do nothing and get pampered at the spa and hit the casino.
Although we didn’t get to participate in these training events, by all accounts each activity option was pretty awesome. With the amount of unfiltered beer I consumed the previous night, I don’t think I would’ve survived the zombie run. But that’s just me.
After the activities were completed, it was time to rest up for the final, epic last meal. This was really a treat. The multi-course meal was set in a large banquet hall.
Here’s the breakdown of the courses:
First Course (Most Important Meal of the Day)
- Sugar Glazed and Fresh Cut Fruit Topped Donut
- Melting Chocolate Chip Made From Scratch Pancakes
- Thick Cut Applewood Smoked Bacon
- Scrambled Farm Fresh Eggs
- Suggested Pairing: Shock Top Raspberry Wheat
Second Course (Living off the Land)
- Deep Fried Seasoned Country Chicken
- Memphis Style Cole Slaw
- Sothern Baked Macaorni and Cheese
- Suggested Pairing: Shock Top Belgian White
Third Course (Break Bread Together)
- USDA Prime Cut Strip Steak
- Hot Fresh Baked Rolls and Light Churned Butter
- Country Mashed Soft Fluffy Potatoes
- Select Mixed Green Salad with a Light Vinaigrette
Fourth Course (End of the World Midnight Snack)
- Double Stuffed Oreos served with ice cold milk
- Chocolate Sundae waffle cups with chopped nuts, whipped cream and cherries
- Orange Sorbet dollop floating on a Shock Top Belgian White
- Plated Snickers bar on Fine China with sterling silver
Epic last meal indeed. All the guests were stuffed by the third course and before the midnight snack desert could be served, the dinner was interrupted by a news broadcast that reported the demise of the globe and the existence of a group of survivors set to post up in a bunker in West Virginia. That was immediately followed by a rush of military personnel calling for an evacuation of the survivors assembled in the banquet hall.
Everyone got up out of their seats and grabbed what beers they could. We were handed these metallic heat jackets and loaded on to buses. A short ride later, we arrived at the main entrance to the bunker, with Humvees and military members standing watch. We entered the bunker (a decommissioned Eisenhower-era top secret U.S. government relocation facility for Congress) ditched the heat jackets, and the party was on.
Gorgeous Shock Top girls littered the crowd and ensured that everyone had a beer in hand and a smile on their face. The setup was pretty elaborate. All the Shock Tops were present: Belgian White, Wheat IPA, Lemon Shandy, Raspberry Wheat, Apple Cider and the specially-brewed End of the World Midnight Wheat.
“We set out to brew an indulgent beer for a once in a lifetime occasion,” said Shock Top’s brand manager Zach Hotz. “We achieved it by combining midnight wheat, chocolate malt and chilies.”
We danced, we drank, we hoped for survival…
At midnight we were treated to a surprise guest – Rev Run from Run DMC. He fired up the crowd and kept the party going. Good times we’re had by all.
“The Shock Top End of the World Bunker Party provided a unique experience for a unique group of beer drinkers,” Hotz said. “A time to have fun, cross items of the bucket list and enjoy good beer with great company.”
The event was success all around. Posh digs, cool activities, an elaborately executed schedule. Some serious planning must have gone in to the whole weekend.
Thanks to Shock Top for sending us out to cover such a fun event. The Shock Top End of the World Bunker Party definitely lived up to the hype. If the world was going to end, there’s no place I would’ve rather been than drinking good beer with good people in a party bunker atmosphere.