When one hears the words “Lake Erie Monster,” one likely immediately thinks of the large, serpentine creature that has been so often sighted, and is thus widely believed to make its home in Lake Erie. But there are plenty of other Lake Erie Monsters too. For example…
The beer: Cleveland-based Great Lakes Brewing Company describes its seasonally available Lake Erie Monster Imperial IPA as a “South Bay Bessie-inspired brew” that “launches an intense hop attack amid torrid tropical fruit flavors” and pairs well with “steak, aged cheeses and tall tales.” The art on the can features a scary-looking green sea serpent rearing out of the lake.
The sandwich: Cleveland-based restaurant chain Melt Bar and Grilled’s Lake Erie Monster is a Guinness-battered fillet of walleye, perch or cod, with American cheese and a jalapeño tartar sauce between two thick slices of toast. Like all of Melt’s sandwiches, the portion-size is truly monstrous. The sandwich is part of Melt’s rotating line-up, but you can always attempt your own with the recipes published in Field & Stream or The Washington Post (Me, I’m vegetarian, so I’ve never tried it, but I’d happily recommend the restaurant to anyone).
The ice cream: The Sandusky-based Toft’s Dairy has been in business for over 120-years now, and one of its many offerings is an ice cream called Lake Erie Cookie Island Monster, which starts with a base of blue cake batter ice cream and mixes in chunks of cookie dough, chocolate chips and chocolate cookies and cream. The artwork on the half-gallon container features a friendly-looking black serpent shaped creature with fins on its humped back, making its way through a moonlit lake. If you can’t find it in the store, there’s always the Toft’s Dairy parlors, in Sandusky, Port Clinton and inside Cedar Point. Hitting one of them to taste this concoction is on my to-do list for next summer.
The milkshake :The Fairport Harbor Creamery in Fairport Harbor offers a Lake Erie Monster among their boozy milkshakes, consisting of mint ice cream infused with whiskey and Creme de Menthe, along with chocolate sauce and crushed Oreos and topped with whipped cream and a cherry.
The hockey team: The Cleveland Monsters are an American Hockey League team that began life as The Lake Erie Monsters in 2007, their logo featuring a black, finned head and a pair of yellow eyes breaking the surface of the water. They later changed their name to the Cleveland Monsters, but kept the cool logo. They are currently the top affiliate of the NHL’S Columbus Blue Jackets, and play in downtown Cleveland’s Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse.
The comic book: Cleveland artists J. Kelly and John G.’s quarterly horror anthology The Lake Erie Monster featured a serially-published chapter of their “adaptation” of their pretend movie, also called The Lake Erie Monster, which was originally concieved part of a series of “Ten Imaginary Movie Posters.” Set in 1970s Cleveland, the melodrama featured a scaly fish-man like monster that had more in common with the Charles Mill Lake Monster than the more familiar serpentine image of Bessie. Each issue, hosted by the Cryptkeeper-like character The Commodore, also featured a back-up story.