Digging for dinosaur bones isn’t glamorous.
It’s scraping away layers of dirt for hours in the dry heat.
It’s forgetting to eat lunch or drink water because you’re so focused on getting your bone out of the sandstone, but now you’ve realized that the fossil you’ve been excavating is actually a peculiar rock.
It’s carefully and painstakingly picking and brushing a dinosaur bone from its matrix, being cautious as to not tap it in the wrong way and have it shatter into tiny irreparable pieces.
It’s accidentally gluing your fingers together with a substance similar to super glue after hastily saving a broken bone.
It’s feeling the sheer adrenaline and elation of pulling out an intact fossil that was once a living and breathing giant of the Cretaceous period.
It’s having difficult conversations with the airport’s Transportation Security Administration about why you have heavy bones and teeth in your carry-on bag.
Fossil hunting for extinct mammal and sea wildlife remains has been a hobby of mine since childhood. I found my first shark tooth on a beach in Florida at 3 years old, and the hobby took off.
Through the Athens Rock and Gem Club, my family and I were able to find the prime spots to hunt for fossils and gemstones. To name a few, our travels have taken us to the mud pits of Fort Drum, Florida, to look for fossilized shells covered in calcite crystals, the shores of Fernandina Beach to find a range of teeth and bones, and the alligator-infested waters of the Peace River in Florida, where I dug up an ancient jaguar tooth and mastodon molar.
But not once did I expect to embark on a dinosaur-hunting excursion.
My mom and I were invited last winter by an experienced dinosaur fossil excavator to join a research team in June out in the middle of an ancient riverbed near New Castle, Wyoming.
For nearly a week, we scraped away at dirt and stone, and to our surprise, we uncovered a bunch of fossils. Some of our major finds include Tyrannosaurus rex teeth, a piece of a triceratops skull and horn, duck-billed dinosaur teeth, a crocodile tooth and a triceratops vertebra.
My mom and I have geeked about fossils for as long as I can remember, so you can bet we were floating on clouds the whole trip.
On the last day of our hunt, I did what any craft beer acolyte would do. I brought enough beer for everyone in the crew to drink.
My brew of choice after digging through dirt all day in nearly 100-degree weather was Black Tooth Brewing Co.’s Bomber Mountain.
When I was drinking it during dinner, the beer tasted of malt and caramel with a nice touch of wheat on the backend.
When I was drinking it after fossil hunting, it tasted like holy liquid from the Fountain of Youth.
Never have I experienced such a welcoming rush of ice-cold beer. I’m usually not one to crush alcohol after physical activity, but holy cow you guys, this was well worth it.
It has taken me years, but I now properly understand the term, “lawnmower-crusher beer.”
If you ever find yourself in Wyoming looking for a local brew, pick up Bomber Mountain. And if you find yourself needing a partner to join you on a dinosaur dig, send me an email.
For more information about Black Tooth Brewing Co., visit blacktoothbrewingcompany.com.
Brewery: Black Tooth Brewing Co.
Alcohol by volume: 4.6%
Bottom line: The only beer I want to crush after excavating dinosaur bones all day