Jesus is back in town! This is more than a reason to celebrate. Easter had me thinking, "What kind of beer would Jesus like?" I started thinking of different beers that were "wine like", because of the historical relationship Jesus and Wine hold. Then it hit me, Jesus probably didn't really drink wine, he drank beer! And not only drank beer, but it's more probable that at the wedding in Cana, Jesus turned water into beer, not wine. This is likely for many reasons, but lets first back up a bit and determine what "wine" refers to in the Bible.
The original Aramaic text talks about "strong drink", and when the Bible was translated centuries after Jesus ascended to heaven, "strong drink" was replaced with "wine". During that time, wine was considered to be an upscale beverage, reserved for the elite, or "holiest" of consumers. And since beer was cheaper to make (lots of barley everywhere!) we can assume that beer was being consumed by peasants, and does not deserve to be the "blood of Christ". So during the translation process, "strong drink" was replaced with "wine", and we can assume it wasn't the peasants doing the translating, rather the Wine-Os! I am not sure if Jesus would be so pretentious though.
So "wine" really means "strong drink"; established. Another reason as to why Jesus was most likely drinking beer is, well, he lived in the Middle East! Grains were the principle crop of the Middle East. Grapes, not so much. Remember Ninkasi? The original beer recipe was recorded 1800 years before Christ was born, so beer was already prevalent in the Mediterranean region. They not only used beer as a drink, but they found that beer had the ability to soften ivory, making it more pliable, in the use of creating jewelry. So beer was widely used within the craft community in the Middle East, of which Jesus would have been a big part of.
One of Jesus' first miracles happened at the Wedding in Cana, 20 miles from his home. Mary happened to have been hosting this wedding, and during which, they ran out of "wine" (strong drink). According to the Bible, the wedding ceremony had "six stone water jars...each holding from twenty to thirty gallons". Large jars were often used for ceremonial cleansing, but not at this wedding, since the jars were "empty" and Jesus' disciples did not traditionally wash their hands like a good Jew would (kind of a big deal..) So why would there be six water jugs of that size located at this wedding? Maybe for fermenting beer? These stone jugs were meant to sit in one location for a long period of time, their size and weight imply this. Back in Jesus' day, breweries from Egypt to Mesopotamia created beer by lightly baking dough composed of "ground germinated cereals". These loaves were placed with yeast and water into large vats. Since this would result in a unappealing thick sludge, it was common to "throw water upon the loaves" right before consumption, in order to create a more drinkable "strong drink", or beer. So maybe "John" forgot to mention that fact when Jesus ordered the servants to pour water in the fermenting jars. Just a consideration, it makes Jesus all the more interesting, in my opinion.
Miracles aside, the Roman elite would have been the only ones with access to wine. Let's not forget the time period Jesus lived in, and how he protested and fought against the Roman Empire, who eventually killed him. I just don't see Jesus going out of his way to get wine from them, or any other elite member of society that could pose a threat. Jesus knew, it was best to just hang out with your friends and share some bread and beer. With this said, here are some beers I would like to enjoy with Jesus, and even get some heavenly input!
De Struise Brouwers, Pannepot Old Fishermans Ale (10% ABV) - Pannepot is a term used to refer to fishing boats from the village of De Panne, located on the coast of Belgium. And as you should know, Jesus was influential among the fishing community. This is a rich dark brown ale brewed with spices. The beer pours thick brown and gives off the strong aroma of dark fruits, cinnamon, ginger and sugar. The taste and aroma blend perfectly, with a complexity and balance that shows off both the brown sugar and the roasted malts. The spices spread over the palate with cinnamon and nutmeg lingering, and finishes with hints of cherry and raisin. A wonderful beer to sip while waiting for the big catch.
Lindemans Geuze Cuvée René - (5% ABV) - This beer style would pair perfectly with seafood, and is a good representation of what some styles of "strong drink" may have tasted like, back in His day. Traditionally, a Gueze is a blend of 2/3 young Lambic and 1/3 old Lambic. The result is a golden, cider-like ale, still popular in Brussels as a happy hour drink. The Gueze Cuvee Rene smells of lemons, oak and sour fruit. Very light in color, with a sharp carbonation. The flavors of lemon and sour apple dry out your palette, while hints of oak balance out with a musky sweetness. An overall very sour finish that cleans up nicely. If you've never had a Geuze before, start here.
Shmaltz Brewing Co, HeBrew Messiah Bold (5.6% ABV) - An ale named after Christ Himself, I would like to see how he felt about this one! Shmaltz likes Jews apparently, and decided to name their Brown Ale after the most famous Jew of all. Is this beer worthy enough to be named after such a powerful influence? Find out yourself! This brown ales pours dark black, with a small tan head. An expectant rich chocolate malt nose, with hints of fruit in the aroma. I wonder how Jesus would feel about all these smells of fruit, with no fruit used in the brewing process (perhaps it's a miracle!?). Personally, I feel that this Messiah is closer to a Stout, rather than a Brown ale in styles. This beer from Heaven is packed with roasted malts, giving off hints of smoke in the finish, and it's even a bit chewy! A well-made brown ale that is very bitter up front, but smooth and creamy in the mouth feel. A nice session beer that could turn the Last Supper into a ParTaY!
A passage from the Hebrew Bible, "Throw your bread upon the face of the water, because in many days you will acquire it. Give a serving to seven and also eight, because you do not know what evil will be upon the land." (Ecclesiastes 11:1–2) Honestly, how could this not be referring to beer? Perhaps when the Disciples went into hiding, after the death of Jesus, they spent most of their time home brewing? Maybe they were really just a home brew club? Why not right? Okay, maybe I am taking it too far...(not at all).