Live Long and Prosper (burp)

On June 11, 2013 · 10 Comments

The Twelve Mile Circle is all about geo-oddities although the author of the site also has other interests. Sometimes those topics collide. I’ve made no bones about my interest in craft beer and it creeps into 12MC from time to time. Today is one of those days.

I noticed a passing reference to Vulcan Beer in a brewery publications I follow. It’s apparently the first in a series of officially licensed beers with a Star Trek theme that will be produced by Delancey Direct. Their site includes a copy of the bottle label with slogans like "Mind Melding Good" and "A logical choice for a palate pleasing libation." I guess anything can be licensed today.

According to a press release, Vulcan Beer is described as a 5.4% ABV Irish Red Ale contract-brewed by Harvest Moon Brewing Company of Belmont, Montana. Each year Delancey Direct will issue another beer to represent a different season in the television series… Vulcan, then Klingon, and so on. Labeling has been designed with collectors in mind of course.

What could this development possibly have to do with geography? Vulcan is a town in Alberta.

Vulcan, Alberta, Canada

Vulcan Beer was brewed to coincide with the centennial of Vulcan — the one in Canada — and timed for a May 2013 release. That would place it on liquor store shelves right before Vulcan’s 21st annual Spock Days celebration.

Starship in Vulcan, Alberta
SOURCE: Flickr by fracture via Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic license

The Vulcan of Alberta’s prairie existed long before any notions of Star Trek ever crossed Gene Roddenberry’s mind, or before he was even born for that matter. The town of Vulcan, in a county of the same name, began as a stop on the Kipp-Aldersyde line of the Canadian Pacific Railroad:

Street and avenue names in Vulcan originally included Apollo, Atlas, Juno, Jupiter, Mars, Neptune and Vulcan. They were later changed to numbers, but the town readopted them in 1998 for Vulcan’s 85th anniversary.

The founders envisioned Roman Gods rather than paying homage to intergalactic science fiction locales. Their choice became rather fortuitous for town residents several decades later. Imagine if they’d selected Vesta or Ceres or one of the other Dii Consentes (the 12 major deities in the Roman pantheon) instead of Vulcan. That allowed their descendants to playing-up a tenuous Star Trek connection and earn a descent living in the process. Why not? Other rural towns have claimed fictional sons. It’s no different than Metropolis in the United States claiming Superman. Vulcan can select Mister Spock.

Vulcan wouldn’t have anything other than agriculture if it wasn’t for the Trekkies. That’s why a welcoming replica of the Starship Enterprise stands outside of Vulcan’s tourism station…

Sign in Vulcan
SOURCE: Flickr by nicodeemus1 via Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.0 Generic license

… complete with greetings in Vulcan calligraphy (pictured) and Klingon.

Unfortunately the 2013 Spock Days happened last weekend so I missed my opportunity. Too bad I found out about this four days too late — pretending for a moment that I might actually have been able to travel to Alberta for a bottle of beer. No, I’m not the Weekend Roady.

Other Vulcan towns exist on Planet Earth.

Vulcan, Michigan, USA

I found one example in Michigan, USA. Consulting GNIS, I discovered another dozen-or-so, including a couple of historical sites that no longer exist. I couldn’t uncover anything special about any of those poseur Vulcan settlements other than their physical locations. Residents have done little to attract Trekkie tourism as far as I could tell. They’re missing out on some solid business opportunities as Alberta can attest.

Vulcan, Hunedoara, Romania

I also discovered the city of Vulcan in Hunedoara, Romania. Wikipedia says, "The city is named after the Vulcan Pass that connects the Jiu Valley to Oltenia, itself being derived from Slavic ‘vlk’, meaning ‘wolf’ (even if ‘vulcan’ means ‘volcano’ in Romanian)." This Vulcan is by far the largest example, with a population of 23,000. An additional, smaller Romanian Vulcan is located near Brașov. Could Romania become the next Star Trek center of the universe?

I’d drink a Vulcan beer if I could get my hands on one. Are there any 12MC readers in Alberta that might be able to snag me a bottle? I’d even take an empty just to put it on a shelf.

On June 11, 2013 · 10 Comments

10 Responses to “Live Long and Prosper (burp)”

  1. John Deeth says:

    If you like Vulcan you’ll love Riverside Iowa’s Trek Fest, in just two weeks:

    Based on one offhand line in the 1986 Trek film – “I’m from Iowa, I only work in outer space” – Riverside declared itself the “future birthplace of Captain Kirk” and the rest is history. Or will be.

  2. I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention that there exists a “Romulan Ale” from Guatemala, blue-colored and from all accounts disgusting (I haven’t tried it). My understanding is that it’s an adjunct lager with blue food coloring added, which makes me unlikely to ever seek it out.

    It was briefly available in my corner of Michigan, but I never bothered to buy it and the distributor has since dropped the product. Really a novelty purchase, anyway. (If I could still get it I’d happily mail you a bottle.)

    With regards to all things Vulcan, Birmingham, AL (the city of my birth) has a giant statue of the Greek god, with connection to the steel industry, which helped build the city. I don’t think they’ve ever done anything Trek related, but it’s a city landmark for sure.

    • I was actually thinking about your Beyond the Pour series of podcasts as I wrote the article. Romulan Ale sounds pretty terrifying although Vulcan Ale seems as if it might hold some promise — would love to hear your review if you ever get your hands on it. Geographically, it may happen sooner for you than I.

      • Glad to hear you’re listening; I don’t get a lot of email feedback or comments so it’s hard to tell sometimes if anyone cares when I put them out. I’ve been busy with classes and such for the last year, but hopefully I’ll get back into a more regular production schedule.

        I’ll keep my eyes open for the Vulcan Ale, but it looks like a one-off kind of release for the Alberta area. We don’t get any Canadian micros here in MI, except for Unibroue, so it’s unlikely it’ll show up here.

  3. Bill Harris says:

    In a related vein, Riverside, Iowa lays claim to being the future home of Captain James Tiberius Kirk:

    It’s still not too late for their annual celebration:

    No mention of craft beers, though.

    • John Deeth says:

      We have a lot of good local beer here in Iowa City, 15 minutes up the road.

      Trek Fest is an odd mix of Get A Life trekkie convention and regular old Iowa small down festival. You see Klingons with funnel cakes.

      Several of the Trek TOS stars – George Takei, Nichelle Nichols, and Walter Koenig – were here in 2009, but the meet & greet was out of our price range. See for yourself if it was worth $150 a head:

      William Shatner himself has never been at Trek Fest proper but did film the spoof “Invasion Iowa” in Riverside.

      In any case Riverside’s main claim to fame these days is less Trek and more casino and events center. A good place to see an aging classic rock act and/or leave your money with us natives.

  4. Calgully says:

    There is a MUCH bigger example of potential

    The Australian city of Melbourne, with a population of 4 million was very nearly named not after Lord Melbourne, but rather after its founder, John Batman.

    In the early 19th century Batman’s name meant nothing more unearthly than a personal assistant.

    Even today, the good citizens of Melbourne are surrounded by reminders of their superhero heritage:

    Batman Street
    Batman Avenue
    Batman station
    Batman’s Hill Hotel
    Batman Park
    A different Batman Park
    The Member for Batman
    These lucky kids get a great start in life
    The man himself

    Surely Melbourne could follow the lead of Vulcan Alberta and capitalise on its co-incidental name history. Many would say that apart from its name, there is more than a passing physical and cultural resemblance between Melbourne and Gotham City!

    • January First-of-May says:

      That’s, of course, assuming that they won’t get outcompeted by the city of Batman in Turkey 😉
      As far as places with the “same” names as sci-fi planets go, my personal favorite is Tataouine, a village in Algiers. I distinctly remember reading somewhere that the famous planet was actually named after that village 🙂 (admittedly with a slightly different spelling).

  5. weekendroady says:

    Hah, this is great. I visited Vulcan, Alberta many years ago on a family trip to Banff. My dad went a bit out of his way to visit the town (much like I do these days) and get a postmark for his collection. I definitely remember the monument to the Enterprise…

  6. We thank everyone for their interest! We have several “Empty” bottles following the 2013 @yegbeerfest that was held this weekend!

    Live Long & Prosper!

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