Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Waiter, I need a Ventilator! Bock Beer for Lent

Yesterday was Marti Gras and today is Ash Wednesday. And that means Lenten austerities.

Back in the day, crafty monks brewed up a caloriffic work-around for fasting: You might have heard of "liquid bread"? The monks of the Paulaner monastery first brewed Paulaner Salvator for just this purpose!

CT has not fact-checked the following story of its origin, so it is perhaps best regarded as apocryphal, though that doesn't make it any less charming!
The first Lenten strong beer was brewed by Paulaner monks at Cloister Neudeck ob der Au in Munich. The Paulaners had arrived in Munich from Italy in 1627. They began brewing beer for their own comsumption shortly thereafter—exactly when is not clear. Depending on which documents one can trust, the year was 1630, 1651 or 1670. The Paulaners felt, however, that such a strong brew with such delightful qualities might be just a bit too much of an indulgence for Lent. So they decided to ask the Holy Father in Rome for a special dispensation so that they could continued to brew it with a clear conscience. The Paulaners dispatched a cask of Lenten beer to Rome for the pope to try and to pass judgment. During its transport across the Alps and along the burning sun of Italy, unfortunately—or fortunately—the cask tossed and turned, and heated for several weeks—a classic condition for causing beer to turn sour and undrinkable. So when the Holy Father tasted the much-praised stuff from Munich, he found it (appropriately) disgusting. His decision: Because the brew was so vile, it was probably beneficial for the souls of the Munich monks to make and drink as much of it as they could. Therefore, he willingly gave the brewing of this new, allegedly rotten, beer style his blessing. Little did he know...!

Recently we enjoyed Sierra Nevada's Glissade Golden Bock. What a lovely beer! Stylistically it was a Helles or Maibock and just as the copy said, it was a perfect beer for the transition from winter to spring - and our unseasonably early cherry blossoms. It also featured those spicy European hops, which we get to taste so rarely in the Pacific Northwest. Very different from the citrus and pine of our local hops!

So here's some opportunities, brewers.

Someone should brew an homage to Salem beer! Beck's Bock, Adolph Doppelbock, or Klinger Kolsch beckon! Salem Beer would make a great brand, too!

Another homage that should happen: Someone should brew a doppelbock for Venti's! They're Italian, the Paulaner monks were from Italy, there are some maidenly puns on bocks available to the proprietors - I mean, the stars are in clear alignment! (And since the logo's a rooster, there's a whole 'nuther set of bawdy puns on bock!)

The German naming convention uses the suffix -ator, like Celebrator, Salvator, it's obvious: Salem needs a Ventilator beer!

Waiter, I need a Ventilator, stat!

So, you about a Ventilator?


  1. I've actually been to that cloister near Munich. Just gorgeous. I think I would have enjoyed the monastic life.

  2. Lucky you! I think we owe the monks a toast! How about Kloster Eberbach, the other Cistercians & Benedictine Cluniacs who have given us so much in wine, too. Thank God for monks & their devotion to fermentation science!

  3. Nicely written post with multiple topics well connected one to two to three to .

    You may have had the Sierra Nevada's Glissade Golden Bock at Venti's. If so, you can thank Dr. Wort for that beer selection. After I read the Doc's blog on the beer
    I recommended the beer to Nicholas, Venti's new bar manager. The Doc knows beer.

    I am still consisting the name of the Venti's bock.

  4. I saw Glissade on the twitter last night! That's pretty great. I hadn't seen the wortblog...I thought the internets had been full of news of the good doctor's retirement. I see it was greatly exaggerated. Thanks for the tip!

  5. Yes, the Doc hung back quietly for a while; but, apparently could not resist merely being a student of the passing parade.

    I acknowledge that in my limit experience, the Doc seemed to provoke some off-topic threads. And, I noticed several counter comments to him that seemed pugnacious. But, I was blind to the backstory.

    Regardless, Dr. Wort is generally a worthwhile read. Certainly a refreshing non-cheerleader.

    Venti's are one purveyor striving to maintain up-to-date data on

    There you will notice: Anchor - Steam Beer, California Common hybrid beer, is also on tap.