The end of winter is a time of optimism. It lights up earlier in the morning again, the first flowers sprout, the birds chirp on the branches. But it is also the time when I feel more physically damaged. And it’s not just me. We sit there pale from the fixed living room. The cold, the darkness and this gray-brown sadness outside have burdened us. Not to mention the cold waves that fall in schools and offices. And now of all times, at the height of exhaustion, should Lent come?
How did the good Lord come up with this idea?
Probably, according to the sources at my disposal, there were more people who introduced a period of fasting right between Ash Wednesday and Maundy Thursday. Fasting in the sense of meditation, combined with a temporary renunciation of worldly pleasures, has been documented in many cultures and in some cases for thousands of years. Early Christian fasting was similar to Ramadan. This means that meals were not allowed during the day (before the ninth hour, ie before 3 p.m.). Meat was also forbidden from fasting from an early age. The Middle Latin carnelevarium, from which the carnival grew, means for example Remove the meat. Sometime between the 4th and 8th centuries it must have happened that the many locally different fasting hours were combined into a precisely regulated period of 40 days.
How does beer get into Lent?
It is no coincidence that Lent falls at the end of winter. It is not only related to the religious background, but also simply to the fact that many supplies from the autumn had already been exhausted. And the time until the new harvest was still long. Anyone feasting happily now could have been left with completely empty rooms a month later. In this respect, Lent also has a pedagogical element. After all, in ancient times food could not be stored indefinitely, and such wonderful achievements as organic supermarkets were few.
The other day I went through these doors under tree roots on a walk. The kingdom of the dwarfs of Snow White, one might think. In fact, these are the refrigerators used by our ancestors. Because here they drove cavities in the stone to store perishable goods there relatively well cooled. Beer barrels were kept very often in these forest cellars. That is why in France people do not traditionally go to the pub, but rather to the basement. The beer comes from the cellar below, and tables and benches have been set up from above. In any case, beer was much more important in earlier times than it is today. Because water often contained dangerous germs, it was much safer to use the boiled and alcoholic version. Respectively, dilute oat beer was consumed in large quantities.
During Lent, however, it had to be something more nutritious, especially for monks and nuns who were particularly consistent in practicing liturgical renunciation. “Liquids do not break down quickly” The liquid does not break the fast, “said the church-approved beer license during the fasting period.
Dense beers for a while
A good example of malt style, and therefore more nutritious, is this Darkness by Neumarkter Lammsbräu, which fortunately is also available all year round. The Neumarkters have their own malt house and only add (noble) natural hops to the asparagus. As a result, all their beers are endowed with this exquisite note of malt. Dark has an intense red-brown color and, despite the beautiful taste of malt, is not particularly rich in alcohol. 5.0 vol% is absolutely sufficient. Such a dark beer goes well with a mushroom pan and especially with fresh farmer bread.
Emmerbier Riedenburger Brewery is also from Bavaria, but is kept in a completely different style. It does not only consist of barley malt, it also combines five types of cereals. In addition to barley and wheat, there are emmer (logical, hence the name), einkorn and spell. In addition, the beer is naturally cloudy, and really. Emmer beer is also a vegetable malt, but then there are aromas that lead me to meadows, grass and corn. There is even a small touch of kombucha in it. Those who hate hopi tarts and the heavy flavors of beer will find here an interpretation that is far from industrial pulp. Cooked vegetables and fresh salads go well with it.
Roasted malt oh!
Finally, there is a beer that fits perfectly in Lent due to its technical data alone. Störtebeker Strong Beer from the Far North is indeed a strong beer with 7.5 vol% alcohol. A good strong beer not only has a lot of impetus, but also a corresponding aromatic taste. It’s the same here. THE