Day 24: Voyager’s Getaway

Day 24: Humble Forager Voyager’s Getaway – Imperial Pastry Porter 12% ABV

For our final night of Beer Advent we are set to enjoy another adventurous beverage from Humble Forager. Voyager’s Getaway is an Imperial Pastry Porter that is reminiscent of a vanilla cream filled chocolate cake. The pour is a deep, opaque blackish brown with a decent head of tan foam. Sweet, dessert-like aromas effervesce from this porter due to the marshmallow, cocoa nibs, vanilla, and coconut used to flavor it. The roasted malt flavors help balance the sweetness from the coconut, marshmallow, vanilla, and chocolate. This beer is rich in flavor and full of nuance. The mouthfeel is medium bodied with a tad of oiliness. This beer will remind you of the beer that kicked off this adventure, Even More Jesus.

I love the name of this beer, Voyager’s Getaway. I think it is the perfect beer to end our reflective journey inward. During Jesus’ earthly ministry the disciples frequently recorded instances of Jesus isolating himself for prayer. I hope that you have been able to find some of that life giving time over these past twenty-four days. These moments of peace, jubilation, joy, & charity are echoes and glimpses of what we as Christians long for, especially during trying times. These tastes of God’s Kingdom help set our hearts heavenward, towards our true getaway. We are all voyager’s journeying through this world awaiting the return of our King who will set all things right. As you savor this decadent porter tonight, I pray you experience the tranquility of Heaven, and let your heart look forward to the perfection of the coming Kingdom. 

Cheers and Merry Christmas,

Chase

Advent Reflection

Scripture: Luke 2:13-14

And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host, praising God, and saying: “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men

Hanna-Cheriyan Varghese (1938-2009)

The Christmas story that is recorded in Luke has become so familiar to many of us that it can often ‘just’ become part of the wonder and sentimentality of Christmas. This is again, one of the reasons why I enjoy Beer Advent so much, because the rhythm in which I write and/or read a reflection and sip slowly on a carefully crafted beer, forces me to slow down and dig deeper than the sentimentality. Chase’s reflection on the name of our beer tonight really hit home for me and spoke to my heart!

Tonight’s Scripture is in the context of an angel visiting shepherds out in the fields. Shepherds, the least among the ranks in society, receive the message that is described as, “Good news of great joy”. I am always astounded by this. When so much of our society tells us to rise up on the ladder of ranks and prestige so that we can be perceived as ‘special’ and be privy to important news, the story of Jesus and His kingdom flips that on its head. The angels, proclaiming the gloriously important message that a Savior was born, came to shepherds; the lowly, the meek, the dirty. What an amazing truth! This important message given to shepherds was one to go out to all people. ‘Peace on earth, and good will to men’.

This message reminds me of one of my favorite Christmas hymns, “I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day.” As with many songs that have deep and lasting impact, I love it because of its history.

 I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day, was written by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow in 1863 as a poem, and the lyrics beautifully intermingle sorrow with triumphant hope. A brief history of Longfellow’s poem is below, but if you want a good historical read on the origin of the hymn, go here:

“Before writing the words of the poem, Longfellow had received news that his oldest son had been critically injured while fighting for the Union Army. At the time, Longfellow was still grieving the loss of his wife who had died in a fire. He had been badly burned while trying to save her and fell into a deep depression after her death. The season of Christmas, Longfellow believed, could never again lighten his heart; nevertheless, on this Christmas Day in 1863, he picked up his pen to write a poem while a war between hope and despair raged within him. Incongruity between the refrain of “peace on earth, good-will to men” appeared not only in his personal circumstances, but also in the nation, afflicted by Civil War and the evils of slavery.” Read the lyrics below…

I heard the bells on Christmas Day
Their old, familiar carols play,
and wild and sweet
The words repeat
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

And thought how, as the day had come,
The belfries of all Christendom
Had rolled along
The unbroken song
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

And in despair I bowed my head;
“There is no peace on earth,” I said;
“For hate is strong,
And mocks the song
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!”

Then pealed the bells more loud and deep:
“God is not dead, nor doth He sleep;
The Wrong shall fail,The Right prevail,
With peace on earth, good-will to men.”

After a year spent suffering a pandemic, racial unrest, political polarization, and personal pain and grief, many of us might share Longfellow’s feelings of the disharmony he describes in verse 3, “and in despair I bowed my head, there is no peace on earth I said”. This sentiment is exactly what we have been journeying with this Advent. Advent begins in the dark, and the sole purpose is to be reflective and to recognize our deep need for a Savior; for a light to break through the darkness. This is what I feel makes Longfellow’s final stanza so powerful and hopeful. Then pealed the bells more loud and deep: “God is not dead, nor doth He sleep; The Wrong shall fail, The Right prevail, With peace on earth, good-will to men.”

In the blessings that surround us, we often forget that dissonance is always present in this life. Our world has never been at peace. Wrong often appears to prevail over right. Yet Christians through the centuries have celebrated the birth of our Savior and the love that sent him to earth. Christmas reminds us that God is not dead nor does he sleep. Instead, he rules over all, omniscient, omnipotent, omnipresent. (The Advent Project)

Grace and Peace and Merry Christmas!

robert

Day 23: Humble Forager

Day 23: Humble Forager Elevated Perspective V3 – DDH Imperial Oat IPA 8% A

I am extremely excited about the brewery we chose to take us into the holiday, Humble Forager. The brewery operates on its four pillars; Think Globally, Forage Locally, Live Humbly, Drink Adventurously. Following these ideals leads them to source most of their ingredients from local farmers while looking for unique ingredients from around the world to incorporate into their beers. Take a second to look at their beer list on their website and you will see they do not lack creativity. They do not give a specific location for their brewery, but after a little sleuthing, I’m pretty sure they brew out of Octopi Brewing in Waunakee, WI. 

Our first beer from Humble Forager is Elevated Perspective V3. We are treated with the third version of this beer, while the fourth is what they currently have available. Each version is brewed with the same base recipe, while the hop selections vary as the brewer experiments and tinkers. The pour is a hazy golden color with a thick white head. The smell is citrusy with notes of white wine grapes and melon. The taste follows the nose with citrus, grapes, and melon being the dominant flavors. The mouthfeel is soft, almost like a milkshake IPA due to the large amount of oats. Enjoy this adventurous beer tonight and reflect on any newfound, ‘Elevated Perspectives’ you have come to during this advent season.

Cheers,

Chase

Advent Reflection

Scripture: Luke 2:8-12

And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, “Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.” And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.

Tonight’s reflection comes from: The Advent Project. (As you read, put yourself in the shoes of the shepherds who received the glorious message in our Scripture reading tonight!)

“What is this cosmic invasion that angels must announce it? Angels themselves are an invasion enough for this poor shepherd. Never have I seen even the flutter of angelic light in the distance. Never have I heard even the faint echo of an angel song. Yes, a single angel would be an invasion enough. But an army….This night, an army of angels! And that song. Such singing was both a terror and a joy to us on the ground. But all this was not the real invasion. All of this was just a message. This army of angels with their song that pierced our souls were merely the messengers of the Real Invasion. What a glorious entrance into our world of sheep and grass and of family and business and politics as usual. What is this cosmic invasion?

“Fear not,” so they said. Yet we were thrown onto the ground, overpowered by the light and the song. How could we not fear? We are mere human beings. Flesh was not made to bear this weight of glory! We shake in terror at the messenger. We are mere human beings.

“Good tidings of great joy which shall be to all people” News – Good News for all the people! This news shall be to all the people. All people in all times shall hear these good tidings of great joy. What cosmic invasion is this that touches all the people – in all places and all times? When Moses stretched out his hand over the sea, Babylon did not see; Rome slept. Such a mighty work of the Lord – as mighty as it was – was not to all the people. How majestic must the real invasion be!

“In the city of David, a Savior, which is Christ the Lord.” Could it be? A Savior for all the people? Even the unclean shepherd? Even the Gentile far from the promises of God? If it were only so! This would be tidings of great joy. The Savior is the one promised of old. So, this is the divine invasion. God’s promises come to us, here and now. Now all will be different. This is God’s mighty invasion.

And this shall be the sign unto you” A baby? This cosmic invasion that rescues all the people is found in a baby? This cannot be. Such an invasion that is announced by a mighty army of angels must be even greater. It has to be larger, stronger, more terrible. We need God himself with his mighty sword. If we are to be saved it must be by the force of God overthrowing the enemy of enemies. Rome will not be torn down by a baby in swaddling clothes.

This we have to see for ourselves!  

We saw the child, as the angels told.

Indeed, the promise of God. Returning to our fields in the quiet of night, my brother began to hum a song yet to be written, “Long lay the world in sin and error pining, ‘til He appeared and the soul felt its worth.”

Grace and Peace,

robert

Day 22: Molotov Cocktail

Day 22: Evil Twin Brewery Molotov Cocktail – Imperial IPA 12% ABV

As we near the end of our adventure in beer, the former vagabond of a brewery, Evil Twin, makes its return with another audacious ale. If you haven’t checked out their website yet, I encourage you to take a few minutes to scroll through the incredible variety of beers they have produced. I love how they consistently take risks to create beers that do not taste like, or even resemble anything else in the already oversaturated market of craft beer. When we are allowed to travel again I would be more than willing to plan a pilgrimage and taste as many different beers as I can!

When you name a beer Molotov Cocktail, expectations are undoubtedly going to be high. Luckily for us, this beer does not disappoint, and will be an absolute affront to our taste buds. Evil Twin has loaded this IPA with so much malt to reach the 12% ABV that it is incredible the hops are even still discernible. Molotov Cocktail pours a copper orange with a white foamy head. The first thing you will smell is the booziness of this beer, followed by pine, orange, and tangerine. The taste is bitter and hoppy like you would expect in an Imperial IPA. The citrus flavors are present along with an obvious booziness. As a heavier beer the full bodied mouthfeel adds to the overall experience. This beer is not for the faint of heart. Enjoy this unique explosion of flavor tonight.

Cheers,

Chase

Advent Reflection

Scripture: John 16:33
“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

Our Scripture passage tonight is very intriguing to me because it comes from the context when Jesus is preparing his disciples for his death. Jesus is reassuring them that even in the midst of the darkness that is to come; the betrayal, crucifixion, death, and what seems to be hopelessness; He came to bring peace. Our world is dark. Advent begins in the dark (if you recall from earlier posts). Advent is a season that reminds us that we are in desperate need of a savior. We are in desperate need for light to break through the darkness. Last night was the winter solstice, the darkest night of the year, and what a beautiful reminder it was for us that we are awaiting the light to break through. This light is what we long for. This light is what we wait for. My favorite Advent hymn is “O Come, O Come Emmanuel”. I resonate deeply with the longing that is in the lyrics, especially the first and the last verses:

O come, O come, Emmanuel,
and ransom captive Israel
that mourns in lonely exile here
until the Son of God appear.

 O come, O King of nations, bind
in one the hearts of all mankind.
Bid all our sad divisions cease
and be yourself our King of Peace.

Emmanuel: “GOD WITH US”. This simple name reminds us that we are not abandoned, we are not left to our own devices to fend for ourselves and to move towards that which makes us whole. God has moved. He has moved to us! He is with us. He is our King of Peace! What a powerful truth to embrace this Advent!

Grace and Peace,

robert

As we drink our ‘Molotov Cocktail’ tonight, and think about the destructiveness that it can cause, let us be people that throw ‘Molotov Flowers’!

Day 21: Sixpoint Resin

Day 21: Sixpoint Brewery Resin – IIPA 9.1% ABV

A message from Robert: I sincerely apologize for not posting last night. Those who don’t know me too well, I am a procrastinator through and through. Those who work with me know that this is nothing new; I wait until the last minute to get things done. When it comes to lesson plans for school, I often work on it the night before. Same with my chapel messages. This way of life has often got me in trouble and last night was a perfect example of that. My rhythm in writing the Advent reflections is to sit down with the beer for the night, read Scripture, jot down my thoughts and post right around the 5:00 hour. Yesterday, at 4:30 p.m., our neighbors invited us over for a campfire and drinks to celebrate the winter solstice. I chose the campfire and community with my neighbors over writing the blog. I apologize. I hope that you enjoyed last night’s beer and please take some time tonight to read Chase’s post about beer because he had his post set and read to go.

About the Beer:

Tonight we are set to imbibe a nice little nanokeg from Sixpoint Brewery, located in Red Hook, BKLN. While we were researching for this year, Robert and I knew we wanted to select a beer from this brewery. Although it is a New York brewery, the founders met as classmates at UW-Madison, which gives us plenty of cause to feature them in our Wisconsin centric calendar. Sixpoint opened in 2004, initially only serving their beer on tap at the brewery. In 2010 they made their distribution debut in the unique slim can, or nanokegs, as they like to call them. This brewery is just flat out cool. They don’t let rules or formulas get in the way of the “Mad Science” needed to push boundaries and brew really great beer. One of their guiding philosophies is that ‘Beer is Culture.’ As Wisconsinites (and near Wisconsinites) we get that. I think of all the small towns across the state, like Monroe or New Glarus, that are alive and flourishing in part due to the presence of a brewery. 

The beer we chose from Sixpoint is arguably their most famous beer, Resin. This unfiltered IIPA is loaded with flavor from the variety of hops used to create it. The pour is a clear, bright gold accompanied by a large ivory foam. Aromas of hop bitterness, citrus fruits, pine needles, and flower pedals will set your palette for this hop candy of a beer. The light malt of this beer let the hops shine in the taste. The hop bitterness is followed by pine needles and resin that is akin to a toffee in the aftertaste. The medium bodied mouthfeel is surprisingly smooth for such a heavy beer. Enjoy this wonderful beer tonight and reflect on the ‘culture’ beer advent has created in this community over the past three weeks.

Cheers,

Chase

Day 20: La Chouffe Blonde

Day 20: Brasserie D’Achouffe La Chouffe Blonde – Belgian Blond Beer 8% ABV

As you might be able to tell from the name of the beer alone, our beer for this Sunday evening is imported from the great brewing country of Belgium. Brasserie D’Achouffe is located in Achouffe, Belgium, a small village in the Eastern part of the country. Founded by two brother-in-laws in the late 1970s, this brewery is characterized by the fanciful gnomes that grace their portly bottles. They call their beers Chouffes, a word that literally has no meaning in Flemish, but has become symbolic of this brewery. I don’t know about you, but I can get a sense of the brewers’ personalities from the unique bottle shape, whimsical artwork, and robust backstories they have created for each of their beers. 

La Chouffe Blonde is the most popular and universal beer, or should I say Chouffe, brewed by Brasserie D’Achouffe. The bottle features their first and most favored gnome, Marcel. The pour of this chouffe is a light golden hue with a billowy head of white foam that lingers for quite a while. The aromas are initially of yeast and bready malts, followed by hints of apricot, lemon, clove, and coriander. Since this is a heavier beer, as expected, the taste is malty to start, with punches of coriander, peach, apricot, cloves, and lemon. The massive amount of carbonation adds to this beer’s delectably smooth mouth feel. If you’re a fan of Belgian beer, La Chouffe will definitely become one of your new favorites.

Cheers,

Chase

Advent Reflection

Scripture: Isaiah 7:14, Matthew 1:23
Therefore the Lord Himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a Son, and shall call His name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.

As we enter the 4th week of Advent I found tonight’s reflection from The Advent Project to be incredibly encouraging. It is a beautiful reflection on the meaning of the name Immanuel.

“The truly good news is that God is not a distant God, a God to be feared and avoided, a God of revenge, but a God who is moved by our pains and participates in the fullness of the human struggle. God is a compassionate God. This means, first of all, that God is a God who has chosen to be God-with-us. As soon as we call God “God–with-us,” – Henri Nouwen.

We enter into a new relationship of intimacy with him. By calling God Emmanuel, we recognize God’s commitment to live in solidarity with us, to share our joys and pains, to defend and protect us, and to suffer all of life with us. The God–with-us is a close God, a God whom we call our refuge, our stronghold, our wisdom, and even more intimately, our helper, our shepherd, our love. We will never really know God as a compassionate God if we do not understand with our heart and mind that ‘the Word become flesh and lived among us’ (John 1:14). Advent is the season when we make an intentional choice to focus, to ponder, to reflect, and to find comfort in the staggering truth that Emmanuel—God with us—means that we never face disappointment, discouragement, or pain alone. What a remarkable and earth-shattering truth is contained in this name! Emmanuel…God with us!

Oh how deeply we need this good news during this pandemic season filled with constant disorientation, when we can so easily forget that in the midst of each of our losses—God is with us.”

Take heart and encouragement from the much beloved hymn: O Little Town of Bethlehem

     How silently, how silently,
     the wondrous gift is given;
     so God imparts to human hearts
     the blessings of his heaven.
     No ear may hear his coming,
     but in this world of sin,
     where meek souls will receive him, still
     the dear Christ enters in.

Grace and Peace,

robert

Day 19: Cranberry Gose

Day 19: Third Space Brewing Cranberry Gose – Sour/Gose 4.5% ABV

The founders of Third Space Brewing named their brewery from the idea that home is your first space, work is your second space, and the place you go to for an escape is your Third Space. They want the experience of drinking their beer to help transport you to your Third Space, even if it is just in your mind. Located in the Menomonee River Valley, just down the road from Miller Park, the brewery is a great place to grab a beer and hangout with friends in their beer garden or taproom.

Tonight we have our one and only sour on this year’s calendar. The gose beer style dates back to the 1600s and finds its origins in Goslar, Germany. The grain bill must be at least 50% wheat and was traditionally flavored with lemon and herbs. Nowadays we are treated with a wide variety of flavors within this beer style, including lime, pomegranate, and cranberry just to name a few. Cranberry Gose (pronounced go-suh) will pour deep red with a slight bit of haze. Both the smell and taste are tart and sour, with cranberry being the dominant flavor. The mouthfeel is light and crisp. Even if a sour is not your usual cup of tea, I hope this offering helps take you to your third space.

Cheers,

Chase

Advent Reflection

Scripture: Luke 1:30-33

“Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus…He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High; and the Lord God will give to Him the throne of his father David…and of His kingdom there will be no end.”

Tonight’s reflection is adapted from a chapter in: “Advent: the Once and Future Coming of Jesus Christ” by Fleming Rutledge

The closer we get to Christmas (less than a week away), the more tempted we are to retreat to the cozy, imagined world of the iconic Christmas. “I’m dreaming of a white Christmas, just like the ones I used to know.” These lyrics suggest that the dream is behind us; the way to happiness is to return to the idealized past. Sentiment and nostalgia play a major in many of our Christmas observances. We bring out the ornaments we loved as children, we display little nineteenth century towns with snow covered roofs. Don’t get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with this and I absolutely love the tradition that my wife and I have created where we decorate the tree with specific ornaments and listen to specific songs. The tendency during this last week of Christmas as we start to get time off of work for the holidays is to romanticize the past. Popular Christmas music that you hear in just about any store you go into is popular because it trades on this basic human tendency to sentimentalize.

Advent, however, is exactly the opposite of all this. Nostalgia and sentiment play no part in the season of Advent. Advent refuses to dwell in a past that never was. Advent is about the future. It isn’t a season of remembering something that happened a long long time ago; it is a season of preparation for the great coming day of the Kingdom of God. When I think of my two favorite Advent/Christmas hymns “Come, Thou Long Expected Jesus” and “O Come, O Come Emmanuel”, the lyrics read through this lens jump out at me in the anticipation of the Kingdom of God to come and for Christ to reign as Prince of Peace.

“By thine own eternal Spirit, rule in all our hearts alone; by Thine all-sufficient merit, raise us to Thy glorious throne” – Last verse in “O Come thou Long Expected Jesus”

“O come Desire of Nations, bind in one the hearts of all mankind; bid thou our sad divisions cease, and be Thyself our King of Peace.” -verse in “O Come O Come Emmanuel”

Grace and Peace,

robert

Day 18: Outer Spaced

Day 18: Karben4 Brewing Outer Spaced – New England Style Imperial IPA 9.2% ABV

Karben4 Brewing Outer Spaced – New England Style Imperial IPA 9.2% ABV

One of the things I greatly enjoy about Karben4 is their obvious effort to not take themselves too seriously. Don’t get me wrong, it is clear that they care deeply about making great beer, it is also clear that they want to have fun and crack jokes while doing it. Their fanciful bottle art and ridiculous beer names, like Rainbow Unicorn or Dragon Flute, are evidence of this fact. I’m sure that I would get along fine with the staff at most breweries , but the people that make up Karben4 just seem like they would be a really good time. 

We kick off our ultimate week of Beer Advent with Outer Spaced, a New England Style Imperial IPA. Now, you might be wondering, what differentiates a New England Style IPA(NEIPA) from the litany of IPA variations brewed these days? NEIPAs are characterized by fruit being introduced during the brewing process and large dry hop additions that add to a hazy body. This particular varietal is flavored with passion fruit and peach, both of which are present in the aroma along with other tropical fruits, like guava, and floral notes from the hops. The pour is a hazy, straw colored yellow with a good amount of foam. Since this is an imperial, you will definitely taste the malt, followed by a slight bitter citrus flavor that is balanced out by the floral hop flavors. The medium body mouthfeel adds to the flavor and makes this an incredibly drinkable beer, especially one this high in ABV. 

Cheers,

Chase

Advent Reflection

Scripture: Micah 5:2
But thou, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall He come forth unto me that is to be Ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting.

I’m sharing this reflection tonight from ‘The Advent Project‘, because I greatly resonate with the sentiment of ‘small towns’! I spent my high school years in a small town (shout out to the Davis area participants), and they were some amazing years with amazing experiences. My parents still live in that pocket of NW Illinois and my family loves to visit in order to ‘escape’ the city. I loved the way that the writer of tonight’s reflection focused on the importance of Bethlehem, yet the reality of it being such a small, insignificant town. Milwaukee feels that way sometimes too. It’s the smaller, industrial city 75+ miles north of the great and wonderful city of Chicago where everything just seems better (except their sports teams!…Zing!).

Wherever you are, or whatever town/city/suburb you live in…know that ‘God is with us – Immanuel’ and He often uses the things of this world that we see as insignificant to make a powerful impact. Tonight’s reading reminds us of that!

Grace and Peace, robert

“Big things happen in small towns. We forget that. Entertainment and news media can give the impression that excitement, glamor, and wealth only come amid towering concrete-and-steel buildings laced with glutted, blaring traffic and elbow-to-elbow crowds. There are songs about all that — suggesting an enduring magic downtown; but it’s mostly fiction. The truth is that most of the real action in cities happens when outsiders crowd in for big events — stadium sports, concerts, parades, protests. People come, then they go.

A 2018 Pew Center study shows the vast majority of people in the U.S. live in small towns and suburban areas (places with about 100,000 residents). In years past, before the notion of suburbs grew in the mid-1800s, most in the U.S. lived in tiny towns connected by narrow roads.

Bethlehem was a town like that. Ancient census records suggest that at the time Jesus was born, there might have been between 300 and 1,400 people living there, depending on events.

Bethlehem was a six mile walk from Jerusalem — roughly a two-hour trip. And like many small towns, it had a momentous history. It was the city where David, King of Israel, was born and where the prophet Samuel anointed him as God’s chosen leader. Boaz and Ruth had lived there, and trudging the rocky soil around it, the boy David had tended sheep. Its name can be translated “house of bread,” and Bethlehem was known for some of the purest water in the region.

Our Scripture passage is like a tender word to a neglected child. “And you Bethlehem” it begins, then mentions size and comparisons. There were bigger towns and cities from which God could have brought us a Savior. But God loves confounding common sense and expectation — our “we’ve always done it that way” mindset.

The Apostle Paul had to remind the church at Corinth about this. When they first believed in Jesus, not many of them were wise, not many were influential, not many of noble birth. God’s approach, he said, was to choose “the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. God chose the lowly things of the world and the despised — the things that are not — to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before Him” (1 Cor. 1:27-29).

There is a certain power in the remoteness and solitude of small, far-flung cities and towns; introspection and soul-searching are somehow easier there, particularly if one has just escaped the noise and sidewalk fictions of a metropolis.

The eyes of the Christ from Bethlehem, grip ours with a look that is both somber and expectant, beckoning us to come near, to come away to the stillness where He can speak and where we can hear all He has to say.

Day 17: Diet Starts Tomorrow

Day 17: Karen4 Brewing – Diet Starts Tomorrow – Chocolate Oatmeal Stout 6.3%

Our Advent adventure heads about 75 miles west for the next two nights as we enjoy two very different beers from Karben4 Brewing, located on the East Side of Madison. Karben4 has been around since 2012, opening their brewpub in the space vacated by Ale Asylum when they built their new brewery on the other side of the airport. Since then, Karben4 has steadily grown from a small brewpub, only serving their beer on site, to distributing throughout much of the state. In addition to increasing their reach, this wonderful brewery has started producing quite a range of high quality beers. During the different lockdowns and safer at home orders of the past year, Karben4 has been a leader in their community by encouraging people to support other local businesses, bars, and restaurants during this time. Also, they have set up their patio with heated domes, which are pretty sweet. So if you are looking for a wintery, but warm adventure, checkout their website and plan an excursion to support this great brewery.

The name of tonight’s beer feels like a good description of how many of us feel from Thanksgiving all the way through New Year’s Eve, Diet Starts Tomorrow. This delightful beer is brewed in the form of a chocolate oatmeal stout, so as you can imagine, it will pour dark brown, almost black, with a nice cream colored head. Heavy malt aromas followed by dark chocolate, coffee, and oatmeal. The taste is very charred and roasty. Coffee notes with bitter cacao as well. The use of both golden malted and raw rolled oats in this beer to give it an incredibly smooth and silky finish. Since it is just a little more than a week until Christmas, until we look, and feel like the cat on the bottle, I think we can continue to have the mindset of, Diet Starts Tomorrow.

Cheers,

Chase

Advent Reflection

Scripture

Isaiah 7:14 “Behold, a virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel – God with us”

Matthew 1:21She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.”

These two verses never cease to stagger the imagination when it comes to the amazing gift that we await. God will dwell among us. Jesus, Immanuel. This child will save his people from their sins.

Astounding!

Amazing!

Sit in that truth for a few moments.

The purpose of Christ’s coming is to save his people from their sins! We cannot admire the baby in the manger without seeing the cross. This truly is the tension during Advent. The peace and serenity of the nativity scene (however made up that might be), is pointing us to the gruesome and dark scene on Calvary. Without it, the baby in the manger is just a scene.

The Advent proclamation that we await and long for is this: “the baby in the manger is the reigning Messiah, that the crucified Jesus will come again in glory to judge the living and dead, that the one who is to be delivered up is the one who will dispose of all earthly power and authority, being the King of Kings and Lord of Lords!”

Come Lord Jesus, Come. We wait. We wait for you.

Grace and Peace,

Robert

Day 16: Cream City Brix

Day 16: Enlightened Brewing Company Cream City Brix – Cream Ale 5% ABV

Tonight we have our one and only beer from Enlightened Brewing Company, located in the Bay View neighborhood of Milwaukee. We intended to feature a second beer from this brewery, but sadly, Yale from Otto’s was unable to track down enough six packs for us. Founded in 2013, Enlightened brewing company boasts that they didn’t start out as masters in the brewing business, but instead they study, practice, and continue to perfect their craft. The focus of this brewery is not to create a global brand, or achieve enough distribution in order to sell for a huge profit, but simply to produce great beer. 

Cream City Brix is another beer brewed to pay homage to the great city of Milwaukee. Milwaukee got the nickname ‘Cream City’ because of the yellow-cream colored bricks made from the clay in this region of the state. The pour of this cream ale will be similar to a light lager like a pilsner, straw yellow, but with a little haziness. The aromas will be malt forward of bread and cereal grains. The taste likewise is malt forward with just a little bitter from the single addition of Willamette hops for balance. The light to medium body mouthfeel makes Cream City Brix a go to beer. I hope you enjoy this celebration of a part of Milwaukee’s history.

Cheers,

Chase

P.S. This is Robert chiming in on the beer description…Chase and I like to think that Giannis Antentokoumpo signed on with the Bucks for the next 5 years because by happenstance, he stumbled across BeerAdvent 414 and their focus on Milwaukee breweries this year and thought to himself, “Why would I go to any other city?”. As you drink tonight’s ‘Cream City Brix’, search the internet for the the City Edition of the Milwaukee Bucks jerseys from last year. Milwaukee is indeed, the Cream City! Here’s to a championship in Milwaukee in the near future!

Advent Reflection

Scripture

Isaiah 7:14

Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel.”

This passage is the iconic passage that is read during Advent and/or Christmas. I mean, a prophet foretelling that a virgin will give birth?! How amazing is that?!

Well, there is so much more context to this simple verse, and we will get into it in the next day or so. Tonight though, I want you to reflect on the meaning of the name: Immanuel. It means, ‘God With Us’.

My question for you tonight is: How have you seen, ‘God with us’, in your life this year?

Grace and Peace,

robert

Day 15: Momentary Panic

Day 15: Company Brewing Momentary Panic – DDH Hazy IPA 7% ABV

About the Beer:

We have reached our third and final beer from Company Brewing. Tonight I want to highlight two things about the brewery. First, if you ever have the opportunity to visit the brewery, they have amazing food! Second, they employ one of only two female brewers in the Milwaukee area. Though women are still wildly underrepresented in the predominantly male industry, I think it is really cool that Company is doing their part to be more inclusive and expand the idea of what we traditional picture when thinking of a brewmaster.

Tonight we have one of their newest beers, Momentary Panic. I love the name of this beer and feel like it is in many ways an apt description of how I have often felt during this past year. With each new month there seems to be a new challenge, both on an individual level and a broader societal level. Hopefully tonight as we drink down this DDH Hazy IPA we are able to let a little bit of that panic go and find some joy and peace. The pour of this bear is a clowdy, golden yellow. Aromas of grapefruit come through from the El Dorado and Citra hops with a wonderful floral scent due to the dry hop additions of Talus. This is another beer that tastes much like it smells; you will get the grapefruit and citrus at first, followed by an earthy floral punch as you drink. A medium-bodied mouthfeel makes this an extremely drinkable and tasty addition to the growing varieties of hazy IPAs on the market. Hopefully the only ‘Momentary Panic’ you experience this evening is found in this eye catching green and purple can!

Cheers,

Chase

Advent Reflection

Momentary Panic here. I got home about 30 minutes ago and realized that I didn’t create an Advent reflection for tonight. How am I going to get a reflection written before 6:00 p.m. like I said I would? Instead of letting this ‘Momentary Panic’ get the best of me, I’m going to choose to ‘be present’ with my family and let the Word of God speak to you.

Tonight’s Scripture comes from Luke 1:30-33. (Maybe you could take some time tonight and avoid whatever ‘Momentary Panic’ you feel, and just ‘Be Present’)

“But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God. You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; his kingdom will never end.”

Grace and Peace,

Robert