The Gospel According to Saint Pauli
“Beer is living proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy.”
- Benjamin Franklin
“There are only three things you need to tackle any home improvement project - a hammer, a friend who knows which end of it to hang onto, and a six pack.”
From time to time in this column, I have mentioned the word, “beer.” In response to this, I sometimes hear from readers with comments like, “We really enjoy your work, but it seems like you drink an awful lot of beer. We have children, you know.”
OK, first off, rest assured that I’m not in any way trying to lead your children down the road to ruin. That’s your job as a parent. All I’m doing is writing about beer, not actually swilling it on a public street corner with my pants around my ankles, shuffling in circles and singing, “Polly Wolly Doodle.”
In fact, you can find beer lore throughout the history of mankind. According to the Book of Genesis, Noah’s provisions for the Ark included beer, although most bible historians agree that he was probably really good about not tossing the empty cans overboard.
In 55 BC the Roman legions introduced beer to Northern Europe. Led by the resourceful General Marcus Labaticus, these troops befriended the little-known “Pretzel” tribe in present-day Germany, and thus were able to conquer the entire region with nothing more than a couple of fist fights in the parking lot.
In 1492, Columbus found Indians making beer from corn and black birch sap. Sensing a marketing opportunity, the explorer set the tribe up in a trendy brick building with big copper vats and $15 hamburgers, inventing the first “brewpub.” This establishment, unfortunately named, “Yellow-Bear-Stream-In-Woods Beer Company,” has faded completely from most history books.
As the Pilgrims sailed up the Atlantic Coast in 1620, they realized that their beer supplies were running low. Mistaking Plymouth Rock for a 7-Eleven, they immediately landed and spent their first harsh winter in the new world foraging in vain for Slim Jims.
In 1909, Teddy Roosevelt took five hundred gallons of beer along with him on safari to Africa. While the expedition failed to bring home a lion, they did bag a cow, a donkey, two squirrels, Roosevelt’s personal chef, and a “Yield” sign.
There are some countries in the world today in which children are virtually raised on beer, drinking it almost from the day they are weaned from their mothers. While I don’t really condone this, it does make a certain amount of sense to go ahead and let the tykes have a little fun, considering just what it is they’re leaving behind.
So there you have it - beer. I enjoy it. Most of my friends enjoy it. Moses, Shakespeare, and Yogi Berra enjoyed it. As a wise man (probably) once said:
“Without beer I could live another 40 years. Buy why the heck would I want to?”