Compliments of the season to one and all, and welcome to the last beer column for 2018. I have just returned from sampling some of the delights of Europe’s vast beer list on my recent trip to Germany. I was lucky enough to be near the Dutch border and the town of Tegelen, which is home to the abbey of Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception, a Trappist monastery. Trappist Monks have a wonderful brewing history and while the Tegelen abbey no longer produces beer, they certainly serve an amazing array of Trappist brews along with other wonderful beer offerings from the region in the on-site café restaurant “Oelespot”. Trappist beer is renowned for their highly alcoholic content and complex nature.
Beer has a wonderfully vibrant association with religion throughout history, and the Trappist monks certainly weren’t the only religious order to brew beer. The Paulaner monks, from Bavaria, brewed heavy beers called Dopplebock for consumption during Lent, when they would drink beer instead of eating.
The ancient Summerians, whom many credit with first brewing of beer, even had a
goddess of beer, Ninkasi. The Catholic Church has a patron saint of hops, St Arnold of Soissons – a Catholic monk who encouraged people to drink beer instead of water, due to its obvious health benefits of course.
A patron saint of bartenders, Saint Amand, and yet another patron saint of brewers, Arnulf of Metz, all extolled the virtues of this lively libation. So, it is highly relevant that this year you take a religious approach to your beer selection for the festive season. Choose beers that really knock on your door of life.
In many parts of the world where the cool yule really is cool, and the temperatures are sub-zero, local breweries produce seasonal beers specifically for the silly season. Often dark broody beers that taste of cinnamon and grandma’s chrissy cake. They are the perfect accompaniment for a winter Christmas. Here in Godzone, where we celebrate the season in much warmer climes, the juicy East Coast IPAs or our local pilsners and lagers go down a treat. Sour beers will be around my Christmas picnic blanket this year again. I can’t get enough of the refreshing tartness of them. And for dessert, a luscious Bohemian Apple Cider to tickle the trifle.
Whatever you choose, I hope you all have a wonderful and safe festive season and drink responsibly – and religiously.
A Cool Yule to all.
Ian Marriott, Tahi Bar