The award winning
beer historian and raconteur
(or, The Saints and Sinners of Beer)
The Book of Revelation makes reference to Armageddon, or the place where the
final battle between the forces of good and evil takes place just before Judgement Day.
There are those who think that America’s Armageddon may be occurring right now as the
forces of evil attempt to destroy our history and culture by tearing down statues, deifying
criminals, satanizing police forces and driving an obvious wedge between its citizens.
Beer lovers have been dealing with their own Armageddon for years, but our
“beermageddon” is a win, win situation. If good triumphs over evil, we win, and
conversely, if the forces of Satan defeat the armies of God, we also win. But the forces
are so evenly matched that there will be no clear winner, except for the beer geek.
The “good” side of beermageddon is led by the saints of brewing: St. Bernardus, St.
Feullian, St.Jozef, St. Hubert, St. Bernard of Clairvox, St. Sebastian, St. Christopher, St.
Benedict, and St. Peter, with Saint Arnold, the patron saint of brewing at the head of the
legions of Belgian Abbey and Trappist beers. Fighting right alongside them we find
America’s contributions to the war effort, “St. Stan’s” from Modesto, California and the
Saint George brewery of Hampton, Virginia, ably assisted by those fighters who have not
as yet achieved sainthood: Anderson Valley’s “Brother David Dubbel,” Shepherd
Neames’ “Bishop’s Finger”, and Avery’s “The Reverend”.
While the armies of good in beermageddon are overwhelmingly Christian, we must not
forget Schmaltz Brewing Company’s “He’Brew”, “Messiah” and “Jewbelation” brews
pitching in to destroy the forces of evil. The Supreme Commander of this whole army is
Du Claw Brewing’s “Sweet Baby Jesus”.
As a child, I was read Hans Christian Andersen’s Fairy Tales, one of which was “The Girl
Who Trod on a Loaf”, about a mean, vain little girl who, rather than soil her new shoes,
threw her mother’s fresh loaf of bread into a mud puddle to use as a stepping stone. As
soon as she did, she was sucked directly down into hell, where the “Marsh King” had a
brewery. The accompanying illustration depicted a glowering, unkempt, heavyset king
surrounded by a huge spider web occupied by an even bigger spider with a leering
human face, both faces glaring at the five year old reader as the king raised a moss
covered stein to his greenish lips.
That picture caused me to think of breweries as dark, evil places, and even though I
have happily come to the realization that they are not, many modern brewers draw upon
that image to promote their products. Because of this, the opposition to “Sweet Baby
Jesus’” army is powerful and not to be taken lightly. Its malefic leader is Belgium’s “Satan”
biere and to confuse the army of righteousness, he assumes many different guises and
names: Young’s “Old Nick”, Wychwood’s “Hobgoblin”, Southern Tier’s “Krampus”
(Christmas devil), Weyerbacher’s “Old Heathen”, Flying Dog’s “Old Scratch”, Midnight
Sun’s “Arctic Devil” barleywine, Rock Bottom’s “Black Peter” and the 13% “Bezelbuth” ale.
Whatever his name, he leads an army of Unibroue’s “Maudite” (accursed) on its
“Deathly” (pale ale by Reagan Ales of California) mission to defeat the “Blind Faith”
(Magic Hat) of “Sweet Baby Jesus’ “ army.
The fight rages on as it will for as long as there are beers and brewers, and on any
given day the beer lover can settle down with a glass of Asylum Brewery’s
“Ambergeddon”, and take one side or the other, secure in the knowledge that no matter
his choice, he can’t lose!
|Someone has to say these things
and it could only be