Give this day O Lord to Sister Doris Engelhard who crafts beer 80,000 gallons annually, as brewmaster at Mallersdorf Abbey in Germany. Contrary to my thoughts on the distance of God in my last post, Sister Doris speaks of a close relationship with the Almighty.
She always felt that she had an intimate relationship with God. “I have experienced God as a close, constant companion—in fact, I assume this is how every human experiences it, regardless of whether or not they believe in the one God,” she says. “I also think that God receives my prayers and accepts me just as I am, without needing my adoration or worship. Otherwise he wouldn’t be God. I need him, not the other way around.”
Besides the divine, Sister Doris walks and crafts closely with malt and hops, creating in her life and work a bond of heaven and earth. So in her honor, and the honor of the Lord and Earth, I present a couple of beers I’ve worshipped lately.
One of my favorites breweries Founders Brewing Company premiers another great brew in their Barrel Aged Series, Curmudgeon’s Better Half. Molasses, Maple Syrup and Bourbon, well that’s a Michigander’s dream. On the nose I’m inundated with notes of molasses, maple syrup (of course) along with citrus and strawberry. Oh so delicious. On the tongue and rolling in the mouth I swish berries and cream, spice, faintest hint of sour, bourbon and peanut butter. God in the first creation story in Genesis runs through the greatest hits of light and night, grass and fruit, evening and morning, creatures that crawl and fly, and finally God decides to make a photocopy or paint a picture or take a selfie.
So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.
Of course, as Plato and Walter Benjamin famously point out, there’s much to be suspicious of when it comes to a phantasm, a reproduction. Even as we observe and analyze, using the image to further our critical reading and thinking skills, it may fool us for the real thing and it’s always of a lesser quality lesser aura then the original, allowing in a loss of individual contact and even individuality.
North Coast Brewing offers their barrel aged beauty Old Stock Ale 2013 Cellar Reserve. And what a beauty it is! Combining nose and mouth I visit the lands of dark, rotting fruit and bourbon rolling in barrels of oak and vanilla, roasted malt on top of roasted malt, plums and prunes, fruitcake loaded with all the candied fruit imaginable, healthy pours of maple syrup, a light touch of sour and tang in the finish which has me wandering through orchards of green apples and bruised apples fallen from the tree. So this question of distance resides in our very making in the first creation story of Genesis, which does read much as Hesiod meets Plato, myth meets abstraction, meaning we are an apparition of light and dark, a shadow and a flash on film existing for a certain time to wander the earth looking for our original. Plight of a doppelgänger if you will. Of course, mirrors complicate the problem endlessly, offering more and more versions of ourselves there and not there; and then another problem, who may be on the other side looking. To be and not to be. Bon Appétit!