Friday, October 24, 2008

The Chosen Beer

Tomme Arthur, ex-altar boy, has a confession: "He's using God to sell some beer."

That's what the AP says about Arthur's Lost Abbey Brewery, which brews Judgment Day ale and "where the tap handle is a Celtic cross." The story rambles somewhat, but talks about the long tradition of monastic brewing, as well as modern tongue-in-cheek homages to same. Consider, for example, the Russian River Brewery, which makes beers called "Damnation," "Salvation" and "Consecration." (That's their logo on the right.)  Or the Schmaltz Brewing Company, makers of "He'Brew: the Chosen Beer." (We've tried some; it's worth a sip. We haven't yet sampled their "Messiah: the Beer You've Been Waiting For," and fear yet another lightning strike if we do. Still, maybe in Advent.)

We're not sure how we feel about all this, honestly. Religious humor is tricky on its best day, as is humor about alcohol. Mix them together and market them, and you have a real challenge to good taste. On the other hand, we are Lutheran, and we do like beer. And our teetotalling mother-in-law is visiting this week, which makes us like beer all the more.

So we remember our favorite piece of God-n-booze levity, from Curtius's Latin Literature and the European Middle Ages, from memory because we can't find our copy.  Buried deep in a monastery library, the scholar came across this note, in the margin of a long and hard-to-copy manuscript: "I'm done. Now for the love of God, give me a drink."

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