Day 5: Black is Beautiful
Three Floyds Black is Beautiful – Oatmeal Stout 7.5% ABV
About the Beer
I’ll be honest, we did not choose this beer because it was from Three Floyds Brewery. We intentionally chose this beer because it was brewed as a part of the Black is Beautiful Initiative, started by Weathered Souls Brewery in San Antonio, Texas. As one of the few black-owned breweries in America, Weathered Souls sought to start, “A COLLABORATIVE EFFORT TO RAISE AWARENESS FOR THE INJUSTICES PEOPLE OF COLOR FACE DAILY AND RAISE FUNDS FOR POLICE BRUTALITY REFORM AND LEGAL DEFENSES FOR THOSE WHO HAVE BEEN WRONGED.”
Weathered Souls provided a free recipe for an appropriately colored stout base, the label artwork, and even found a company to print the labels at a discount for participating breweries. They asked each brewery to put their own spin on the beer, flavoring it with whatever additional flavors or hops they desired. To date, 1,192 breweries across all 50 states and 22 different countries have participated. On the website, the founder and head brewer at Weathered Souls ends his explanation with this statement, “As someone who has personally dealt with the abuse of power by the police, this recent turmoil the country is facing has hit home for me. As I write this, I contemplate how the country can move forward, how we as the people, can create change, and what it will take for everyone to move forward with a common respect for one another. For us, we feel that this is our contribution to a step.” People taking action to create change and urge our country to have a common respect for one another is something that gives me hope.
Three Floyds’ rendition of Black is Beautiful is labeled as an oatmeal stout, but they intentionally added copious amounts of hops during the brewing process, lending this beer to taste more like a black IPA. You will still get the malty smell, smooth mouthfeel, with chocolate and coffee notes as you taste, but the hops will burst through at every part of this beer. I’ll leave it to Robert to share more about why we chose this beer for this day in particular. Thanks for continuing with us on this reflective journey inward.
As we close the first week of Advent, I want us to be reminded of the the fact that Advent begins in the dark. Advent is a season of introspection. It’s a season of repentance, of looking at the darkness within our own hearts. The passage that we have read from Isaiah last night calls us to do just that. It causes us to ask: “How shall we be saved?” (Isaiah 64: 5) and to face the reality that, “We have all become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous deeds are like a polluted garment.” (Isaiah 64:6). We are called, during this season of Advent…to face our darkness.
We chose to highlight the Black is Beautiful beer on December 5 because it was on this day back in 1956 that the bus boycott began in our nation’s Civil Rights history. The bus boycott was sparked by Rosa Parks, who refused to give up her seat on a Montgomery, Alabama bus on December 1, 1955. The bus boycott was a leading act in the fight for equality for black people in the United States, a fight that they are still fighting.
I have often wondered how I would have responded as a white Christian if I lived during the Civil Rights movement (maybe I should be asking myself how I would live as a Christian now). If I’m honest with myself, I think that I may have chosen the more comfortable approach, and probably still do. It saddens me to come to this realization, yet, I need to face that darkness within myself. This year has been one like none other that I’ve ever lived through. Not only have I been met with a global pandemic that has disrupted my ‘normal’, I have also been faced with the reality of systemic injustices in my country and how I’ve been complicit. As a follower of Jesus, what do I do with that? How do I live in that space? How do I love God and love my neighbor; especially neighbors that look differently than me? These questions, I think, are why I am so drawn to this season of Advent. For some odd reason, I am comfortable in the dark. The proper posture of Advent seems to be confession of sin and repentance. As such, this season reminds me that I need to look inward and to uncover the hidden darkness of my heart. Not only to uncover it, but to confess it.
The Advent season is also beautifully about the truth that light penetrates darkness. The heart of the Advent season is the proclamation that God did not remain where He was, high above the misery of His creation. He came down into the midst of it all. He came down not to just sympathize but to heal, to bring good news to the poor, to bind up the broken-hearted, to proclaim liberty to captives, and to comfort all who mourn (Isaiah 61).
God will come, and His justice will prevail, and He will destroy evil and pain in all its forms, once and forever. In this I hope. In this…
Grace and Peace,