Nevada’s oldest award-winning brewery, Great Basin Brewing Company, is celebrating its flagship Ichthyosaur “Icky” India Pale Ale at the first ever Ichthyosaur Expedition Party on Friday, April 7 from 5 to 10 p.m. at the Taps & Tanks production facility at 1155 S. Rock Boulevard Unit #490 in Sparks.
Along with beer and a plethora of fun activities, Great Basin Brewing will also be raising money to help fund Germany’s Bonn University and Nevada paleontologists’ continued work of exposing and bringing awareness to Ichthyosaur fossils. An incredible collection of Ichthyosaur fossils was originally discovered in Central Nevada and state legislature soon deemed it the official state fossil of Nevada.
About 335 million years ago, Ichthyosaurs roamed the supercontinent Pangea before it drifted apart into smaller landmasses including Nevada, California, and North America.
“Great Basin Brewing Company is proud to continue our support of the Bonn University field team’s vital efforts by providing inspiration, funding and cold beverages,” says Great Basin’s Owner and Head Brewmaster Tom Young. Before launching the brewing company, Young was a geologist and beer-lover, bringing his passions together to form Great Basin Brewing Company.
Along with the Bonn University, Great Basin has also been working with the German Research Foundation, the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles, and the National Geographic Society to support the scientific endeavor of unveiling Ichthyosaur fossils to help further the understanding of what it was like in the Triassic era.
Previous expeditions have helped uncover up to 12 different species of Ichthyosaur fossils, including one of the largest specimens that is known to have been up to 60 feet in length. It was found in the 1920’s near Gabbs, Nevada and is available to view at the Berlin-Ichthyosaur State Park.
At its Ichthyosaur Expedition Party, the brewing company will roll out the first of four new commemorative beers honoring the ancient creature and genus of Ichthyosaur, called Phalarodon. In brewing terms, Phalarodon is a barrel-aged, dry hop IPA. For a minimum $10 donation, beer-lovers will receive an Icky pint glass and one beer. Other beer, wine and food will be available to purchase and attendees are encouraged to play Pin the Tail on the Ichthyosaur and participate in the Ancient Creature Spelling Bee competition.
All donations from the event will be used to help fund the scientific field work of the Germany-based Bonn University Ichthyosaur expedition led by Dr. Martin Sander. At 7 p.m., Sander will discuss what Ichthyosaurs mean to Nevada, evolution, and changing landforms. Learn about the fascinating, cross-cultural coincidence that linked these European scientists with Great Basin beer and the team’s years of research that went into this study.
“The Ichthyosaur Expedition Party will be a great time to learn about the fascinating history of Nevada’s Ichthyosaurs, a chance to enjoy our new Phalarodon (one of the Ichthyosaur species discovered by the team) brew, and an opportunity to assert that ‘Gimme an Icky!’ is more timely and relevant than ever,” says Young.
Fun facts about Great Basin’s flagship beer, the Ichthyosaur IPA:
• It was named after the official state fossil of Nevada and appealed to the geologist in owner Tom Young
• The brewing company ran out of Icky two days after it was introduced
• The Icky IPA is Great Basin’s best selling beer
• Icky was one of the first aggressive IPA’s available on the West Coast
• One part of an Icky fossil was found in Wyoming, another in Nevada
• One theory of how Ichthyosaurs died was that the animals were beached and stranded together like a group of whales
• A rumor went around that Nevada miners who came across the large, round vertebrae used them as dinner plates in the late 1800’s, but these stories are unsubstantiated