THE INTERNET MONK SATURDAY BRUNCH
”It is talk-compelling. It puts you in a good temper, it makes you satisfied with yourself and your fellow beings, it sweeps away the worries and cobwebs of the week.”
Welcome to a special edition of the Internet Monk Saturday Brunch. The last thing you might expect to be served at a Lenten brunch is beer, right?
Ah, but this is one of the reasons Internet Monk is such a special place. We know what our readers want and we know how to loosen tongues for good conversation around the table.
So welcome to this Lenten Beer Fast edition of our IM weekly soirée.
Back in the 1600s, Paulaner monks moved from Southern Italy to the Cloister Neudeck ob der Au in Bavaria. “Being a strict order, they were not allowed to consume solid food during Lent,” the current braumeister and beer sommelier of Paulaner Brewery Martin Zuber explained in a video on the company’s website.
They needed something other than water to sustain them, so the monks turned to a common staple of the time of their region – beer. They concocted an “unusually strong” brew, full of carbohydrates and nutrients, because “liquid bread wouldn’t break the fast,” Zuber noted.
This was an early doppelbock-style beer, which the monks eventually sold in the community and which was an original product of Paulaner brewery, founded in 1634. They gave it the name “Salvator,” named after “Sankt Vater,” which “roughly translates as ‘Holy Father beer,’” Zuber said.
HERE is the account of a contemporary man who tried out the monks’ beer fast for himself.
And so, this fine Saturday, we join him and all the monks in raising a glass to the end of another week in Lent. Welcome to brunch!
LENTEN QUOTE OF THE WEEK
Or, as many have sung since…
WRONG TIME TO GIVE UP BEER…
Leandra Ruiz is crying in her beer. The woman from Harlingen, Texas entered an online contest to win a home delivery from Budweiser driven by their iconic Clydesdales.
Then she gave up beer for Lent. O ye of little faith.
Surprise, surprise, she won the Budweiser contest! And the whole neighborhood turned out as Ruiz watched the impressive horses trot down the street and pull up in front of her home to deliver the prize. As the winner, she even got a ride around the block.
Whaddya wanna bet she broke her Lenten fast to celebrate?
WRIGLEY GETS ITS OWN BEER
It used to be, whenever one thought of the Chicago Cubs, Old Style beer came to mind, and in Harry Caray’s day Budweiser came to the fore.
Well, last week the Chicago Cubs, Wrigley Field and Chicago-based Goose Island brewery (now owned by Anheuser Busch) expanded their partnership, announcing a Cubs-themed craft beer – the 1060 Wit. The brew will be unveiled on April 10 at Wrigley Field, and will only be available on draft at kiosks around the ballpark and at Goose Island’s taprooms on Fulton Street and Clybourn Avenue.
The press release described the beer like this: It is “inspired by traditional Belgian Wits, using a lot of unmalted wheat along with orange peel and coriander. It’s lightly fruity and a touch spicy with low bitterness that is a natural fit for the ballpark and refreshing on hot Chicago days.”
Doesn’t sound hardy enough for Lent, but in the bleachers? Yeah, I can go for that.
THE NEW “BEER HOTEL” — HAPPIEST PLACE ON EARTH?
And then there’s this, from the Washington Post:
There’s a craft beer company from Scotland called Brewdog that hasn’t sold any beer yet here in the United States. But it plans to. How to get the word out? Many business owners would resort to the traditional methods like advertising or marketing campaigns. But the owners at Brewdog have decided to do something different to create a buzz and build a community. They’re starting a hotel. A beer hotel.
Located in Columbus, Ohio and conveniently next to Brewdog’s 100,000 square foot brewery, guests at the company-owned hotel called The DogHouse will soon be able to enjoy certain amenities that only super-serious beer loving lunatics will appreciate.
According to the Daily Mail, the hotel will feature a “craft beer spa, complete with hop face masks, malted barley massages, “Hoppy Feet” pedicures, plus hop-infused shampoo and shower gels.” (hop-infused shower gels?). But that’s not all. Rooms will overlook the feeders inside the brewery and there will be mini-fridges filled with specially chosen craft beers…located in rooms and in the showers, of course. The brewery’s finest offerings will be on tap throughout the facility and guests can enjoy brewery tours as well. Oh, and let’s not forget the “deluxe beer-infused breakfasts, lunches and dinners, with beers matched to every course.” Yum. Burp.
I see a possible location for our first Internet Monk retreat!
To cap off our special emphasis today, here’s a ramble through the history of craft beer in the U.S., courtesy of Food and Wine. These are not necessarily the “best” craft beers today, but they represent important developments in the craft beer movement.
Here’s how F&W compiled the list:
To help better appreciate the history of American craft beer, we reached out to 21 experts from across the American beer scene, including legendary brewers like Ken Grossman and Jim Koch, industry representatives like Julia Herz, and veteran writers like Aaron Goldfarb and Joshua Bernstein.
We asked each voter to nominate five to seven American beers that they consider to be the “most important of all time.” The only stipulations were that the beer must have started production after 1960, and it must have met the generally-accepted definition of “craft beer” at the time it was introduced. Voters were limited to two beers from any one brewery and encouraged to diversify their choices across years, states and styles. In the case of brewers, they were allowed to vote for themselves; however, every single beer on this list received multiple votes, meaning a brewer’s self-endorsement only counted if it was seconded by another voter. The final order was determined strictly by the votes received, with the exception of any ties, at which point we used our editorial judgment to determine ranking.
According to an article at NBC News, “Reports of electronic cigarette batteries exploding have been documented across the country. Battery malfunctions have been known to cause burns on the hands and face, fractured bones and even loss of eyesight.”
It couldn’t have happened to a more stereotypical victim.
Stephen Gutierrez is a defense attorney in Florida who was representing a client in an arson case when his pants appeared to spontaneously combust, and he began to feel the heat. He rushed out of the courtroom with smoke pouring out of his pocket, and ran to the bathroom where he emptied some e-cig batteries from his pants and into a basin of water.
[Insert lawyer joke of your choice here.]
THE BOY WHO PLANTED TREES…
One of my all-time favorite stories is Jean Giono’s The Man Who Planted Trees, the tale of a shepherd who, day after day, planted seedlings in an effort to reforest an area in the foothills of the Alps. It’s a lovely tale that reinforces the practice of doing small acts of good over a long period of time to accomplish remarkable things.
There’s a young man today who’s taking this story seriously.
Nine year old Felix Finkbeiner was a fourth grade student in Uffing am Staffelsee, south of Munich, Germany, when his class studied climate change. The boy’s attention perked up, and he pursued the subject so passionately that he was invited to speak to the United Nations General Assembly as a teenager.
National Geographic reports that the young Finkbeiner, still not out of his teens, now leads “a remarkable environmental cause that has since expanded into a global network of children activists working to slow the Earth’s warming by reforesting the planet.”
Today Finkbeiner is 19—and Plant-for-the-Planet, the environmental group he founded, together with the UN’s Billion Tree campaign, has planted more than 14 billion trees in more than 130 nations. The group has also pushed the planting goal upward to one trillion trees—150 for every person on the Earth.
The organization also prompted the first scientific, full-scale global tree count, which is now aiding NASA in an ongoing study of forests’ abilities to store carbon dioxide and their potential to better protect the Earth. In many ways, Finkbeiner has done more than any other activist to recruit youth to the climate change movement. Plant-for-the-Planet now has an army of 55,000 “climate justice ambassadors,” who have trained in one-day workshops to become climate activists in their home communities. Most of them are between the ages nine and 12.
Truly, a little child shall lead them.
QUESTIONS OF THE WEEK
- What implications might an SBC investigation of Russell Moore have for predominantly black SBC churches?
- Are the American suburbs, as we know them, dying? (Here’s the whole series on this question.) (And here’s an interview with the project’s editor.) (Here are some thoughts on what this might mean for suburban churches).
LENT WITH NEIL YOUNG: THE PRETTY SONGS
This old guitar ain’t mine to keep
Just taking care of it now
It’s been around for years and years
Just waiting in its old case
It’s been up and down the country roads
It’s brought a tear and a smile
It’s seen its share of dreams and hopes
And never went out of style
• This Old Guitar (from Prairie Wind)
Neil Young’s After the Gold Rush and Harvest were two of the albums most important to me in my coming of age years. At that time, I spent a lot of time learning to strum and pick my acoustic guitar, trying to write songs, and expressing my own feelings as a youth while “Mother Nature [was] on the run in the 1970’s.”
It was Neil Young’s folky, “pretty” songs that inspired me back then. The intimate poetry of his lyrics, his use of major 7th chords, his vulnerable voice — they all spoke to me in a deeply personal way.
Over the years, Neil Young has continued to produce appealing folk songs, some commercially successful, but others embedded like jewels in his many album releases. Here’s a list of 24 of my favorites from his career. It’s a great resumé.
- Expecting to Fly (with Buffalo Springfield)
- Tell Me Why (After the Gold Rush)
- Only Love Can Break Your Heart (After the Gold Rush)
- Helpless (with CSN&Y)
- Heart of Gold (Harvest)
- Old Man (Harvest)
- The Needle & the Damage Done (Harvest)
- See the Sky About to Rain (On the Beach)
- Borrowed Tune (Tonight’s the Night)
- New Mama (Tonight’s the Night
- Long May You Run (with Stills-Young Band)
- Comes a Time (Comes a Time)
- Lotta Love (Comes a Time)
- Sail Away (Rust Never Sleeps)
- From Hank to Hendrix (Harvest Moon)
- Harvest Moon (Harvest Moon)
- One of These Days (Harvest Moon)
- Dreamin’ Man (Harvest Moon)
- Silver & Gold (Silver & Gold)
- The Great Divide (Silver & Gold)
- The Painter (Prairie Wind)
- Falling Off the Face of the Earth (Prairie Wind)
- Here for You (Prairie Wind)
- This Old Guitar (Prairie Wind)
One of Young’s very best songs from the list is the utterly romantic “Harvest Moon,” from the 1992 album of the same name. Here’s the “Unplugged” version. Love the broom!