We’ve all become accustomed to thinking about beer as a somehow godly beverage. From songs to poems and TV series, our imagination is drawn to the image of ancient Gods supping gigantic steins of foamy ale while rolling the dice on the fates of us mere mortals.
Monks are certainly capable of concocting some of the best brews the world over.
From the dawn of human history, beer and spirituality have gone hand in hand.
This supernatural side of one of the most common drinks in the world is frequently exploited in advertising, and very successfully. It’s an image that holds a tight grip on our imagination. As a matter of fact, one of the most famous commercial Danish beers takes its name from the Roman Goddess of Agriculture, Ceres.
The insatiable thirst of the Vikings, the adventures of ancient, globe-trotting heroes as they fought their wars, lusted over women, and drank copious amounts of beer.
Beer is still capable of leaving a mythical aftertaste in your mouth?
But seriously, what’s the deal with gods and beer?
Which beer would Thor drink today?
And why is beer such a godly matter?
We thought we’d guide you through some of the most famous beer legends, and help you choose the right mythical beers to please your inner god or goddess!
#1 An Otherworldly Beer…
Drinking beer often makes us forget our worldly troubles. But, according to a Celtic myth, beer might be capable of doing more than just that.
The protagonist of this myth is none other than the goldsmith to the Gods, the Tuatha Dé Danann, known by the name of Goibhniu.
Goibhniu is reportedly solely responsible for creating all of the Gods’ weaponry, specialising in forging swords that never miss their target. Along with his undoubtedly fruitful goldsmith business, mythology shows that he developed a keen interest in brewing. According to the lore, Goibhniu has a roadhouse in the Otherworld, the metaphysical dimension where the Gods and deceased live, where he brews a particular beer made out of a magical fruit. This beer is rumored to be able to grant whomever it drinks it immortality. But there’s more to it: this brew is capable of fully restoring the health of the drinker and making them indestructible in battle.
Not bad for homebrew, right?
An Immortal Beer…
If you want to feel the thrill of trying a beer that’s so good that could make you feel immortal and has a fruity character we have a long list of brews that will do the trick.
That being said, we would recommend Duchesse de Bourgogne, a Flemish red ale with persistent notes of dark fruit and caramel that will leave an incredible mystical aftertaste in your mouth while being extremely addictive.
If you feel like something with a more distinct fruit flavour, our suggestion would be to follow the legends and find a beer that incorporates the fruit of immortality. Luckily for you,we have it in stock! According to legends, the peach is known as the fruit of immortality, making Lindemann’s Pecheresse the perfect drink.
#2 A Beer For The Wisest …
We are all familiar with the fascinating – and intoxicating- figure of the Greek God of wine and ecstasy Dionysus. What you probably didn’t know is that the Greeks had a God of Beer who was actually responsible for Dionysus’ education.
Although Dionysus’ origins can be traced to none less than Zeus himself, who, much like with other of his children, fathered him out of wedlock with a human lover, Princess Semele, mythology informs us that Dionysus was fostered and tutored by another famous God named Silenus.
Often portrayed as a jovial drunk man, sporting a proper beer belly and the typical expression of someone who enjoys a barley wine -or more than one-, Silenus is often referred to as the Greek God of Beer. Mythology describes him as a nice non-judgemental fella to have a pint with, but, apart from his scruffy appearance he also has the power of prophecy. It is said that he might have drunk himself to the point of gaining wiseness and prophetic gifts.
And if that isn’t something that only a God could do, I don’t know what is.
A Beer For Meditating…
We said it before, we’ll say it again: the fittest beer for Silenus and Dionysus would be a barley wine. Far from being an awful mix of beer and wine, the term barley wine refers to a beer whose alcoholic content is similar to that of wine. The one we strongly recommend for your meditation sessions is the Gulden Draak, gold medalist at the World Beer Awards for the category of “Belgium’s Best Pale Barley Wine”.
Do you feel like including something more specific? Sweet, the Bacchus (Kriek and Framboise, cherry and raspberry respectively) that takes its name from the Latin counterpart of Dionysus, is the beer to have.
#3 Was Thor Our First Subscriber?
When it comes to beer, a huge chunk of our imagination is linked to Norse mythology. And if we think about mythology, it is almost inevitable to start thinking about bearded Vikings, Thor and Odin.
According to Norse mythology, Thor is the God of War, Thunder, and Fertility and one of the people’s favourite amongst the Asgardian Pantheon.
But Thor, much like his cinematic counterpart, is also known for having a huge, insatiable appetite and thirst.
In one myth he’s seen devouring an entire ox and eight salmon, washing them down with three barrels of mead. In another he’s seen drinking the Ocean from his horn, causing the tides to happen.
Apart from mythology, we know that drinking represented a huge part of the Vikings’ rituality and their drinking halls were symbols of power and prestige, as it’s shown throughout all the various myths and legends.
Although Thor, Loki, and Odin are undoubtedly the most famous characters, the actual Norse God of Beer is Aegir.
According to myths, Aegir was gifted by Thor a bottomless keg of beer, brimming with perfectly crafted beer thus gaining the title of God of Hospitality.
And speaking of hospitality, one of Norse mythology’s worst fights happened over a denied pint. When Loki, the Trickster God, wasn’t invited to drink with the other Gods, he decided to start a fight with all of them. And the Gods decided he deserved being punished with his children’s death and lifelong imprisonment.
So, remember to always offer your friends (and Loki, should he happen to ask for one!) a pint!
A Beer Fit For A God…
These mythology tales made us as thirsty as Thor was when he felt like drinking the ocean. Speaking of Thor, we can’t know for sure what he prefers to have as an evening brew but his cinematic depiction certainly gave us some hints.
Marvel Thor is, in fact, shown to be really keen on IPA. Our suggestion if you feel like honouring the God of Thunder with a pint would certainly be the Oslo Mellow: crafted in Norway, this beer is guaranteed to give you a hint of Valhalla -even if you’re just drinking from your couch.
#4 Not Just North: An Eastern Elixir…
Although we are used to associating beer with Northern lands, beer was invented in Mesopotamia around 3500-3100 BC.
Sumerians loved beer to the point of ascribing its origin to the Gods and dedicating this incredible beverage to religious hymns and important parts in myths.
The most famous of them is undoubtedly the Hymn to Ninkasi. In this praise to the Goddess of Beer, Ninkasi, Sumerians give thorough instructions on how to properly brew beer, helping us understand how the ancient process of fermentation went.
From this hymn we can gather that the production of beer was almost exclusively domestic and was done by women. Although beer is incredibly old, the Mesopotamian one was far from the one we are accustomed to: it was, in fact, more of a thick alcoholic porridge that had to be drunk through a straw.
In Mesopotamia as well as in Egypt, beer was considered to be an elixir and was often used as a medicine to cure most common illnesses.
Not bad for something we relentlessly chug over the weekend!
Beer Is The Most Important Meal Of The Day…
While it’s impossible to find a beer similar to the original, Sumerian one, we can certainly try and find its contemporary counterpart.
Sumerian beer used to be extremely thick, wheaty, and aromatic, making Blanche and Weissen the most appropriate fit. Here at The Belgian Beer Company, we offer a wide choice of the both, but we feel like the best beer to please Ninkasi would be a Schneider Weisse Original tap 7. Thick, orangey, rich, and done following a century’s old recipe the Schneider could be the perfect meal substitute.
Do you want to go for a Blanche instead? Why don’t you try the Blanche de Bruxelles. Cloudy, aromatic, and Belgian, this beer is so good you will compose your own hymns!
Find The Perfect Mythical Beers…
As you can see, there’s quite a lot more to the story of beer than you may have realised. And we were happy to work a little magic and suggest the perfect beers to buy depending on your mythological mood. If you’re settling in for a movie-fest, be sure to stock up on some of these beauties. And don’t forget to post a picture of your pints with the hashtag #HolyBeer!