Day 14: Milwaukee Day Lager

Day 14: Company Brewing Milwaukee Day Lager – Helles Lager 4.14% ABV

About the Beer:

Company Brewing describes themselves as a hardworking community hub, that houses a brewery. Located in the heart of Riverwest, they have cemented themselves as not just a neighborhood fixture with great beer, but space that promotes creativity, art, community, and civic engagement. Whether they are hosting a performance from a local artist, a community forum, or using their space for community events like Riverwest 24, Company Brewing seeks to make an impact in a positive way. 

A few years ago they started brewing a beer called Milwaukee Day Lager to be enjoyed while celebrating Milwaukee’s made up holiday, Milwaukee Day, observed on the fourteenth of April each year. Milwaukee day was created because of the resemblance between the city’s area code, 414, and the date on that fourteenth day of April, 4/14. Though silly in its inception, Milwaukee day is part of a greater movement in our city to help improve Milwaukee’s image both internally and externally. Milwaukee Day Lager is a Helles style lager that uses German Pilsner and Vienna malts to give a straw colored appearance when poured into a glass, while the Hallertau hops help balance out the grains. The aromas are of the cereal grains used in the malt, which is common for a lager style beer. The taste is likewise dominated by the malt. Couple that with the light bodied mouthfeel and the result is one drinkable beer. Though we may be five months early, tonight let’s raise our glasses in salute to Milwaukee and the wonderful beer it is producing these days!

Cheers to the Great Place on a Great Lake,

Chase

Advent Reflection

ScriptureLuke 1:5-10

In the time of Herod king of Judea there was a priest named Zechariah, who belonged to the priestly division of Abijah; his wife Elizabeth was also a descendant of Aaron. Both of them were righteous in the sight of God, observing all the Lord’s commands and decrees blamelessly. But they were childless because Elizabeth was not able to conceive, and they were both very old. Once when Zechariah’s division was on duty and he was serving as priest before God, he was chosen by lot, according to the custom of the priesthood, to go into the temple of the Lord and burn incense. And when the time for the burning of incense came, all the assembled worshipers were praying outside.

Advent, the season of waiting, is one of my favorite times of the year. Not only because I can enjoy good beer like the 414 Lager tonight, but also because I find myself intentionally slowing down a lot more than I am normally accustomed to. I am currently listening to a Taize song called “Wait For the Lord“, and as it repeatedly chants in beautiful harmony, my soul is lifted up in hope. Waiting is hard, especially when the waiting seems unending. Kind of like this pandemic we are in. We we are waiting for life to get back to normal and I’ve heard so often of people excited to turn the calendar to 2021. “2020 was so hard, a year like none other. I can’t wait until 2021.” But I wonder, will we still be waiting? When Milwaukee Day rolls around in 2021, will we still be in waiting for this longing for normalcy? The season of Advent reminds us that waiting, though difficult to do, is needed. It’s meant to remind us to tune our hearts to wait for something that is truly satisfying and healing: the coming Messiah!

Our passage tonight hones in on John the Baptist’s parents; Zechariah and Elizabeth. They certainly understood what it felt like to wait and to have a longing unfulfilled for a long time. Although both were from priestly lines, and lived righteous and blameless before the Lord, Elizabeth was unable to have children. The text tells us that they were ‘very old’, which indicates that they waited for this hope of a child to be fulfilled for a very long time. In the waiting, they were blessed. Blessed with not only a child, but one that would “Prepare the way for the Lord, the coming Messiah!”

As we wait, wait in hope. Wait in anticipation. Embrace the waiting.

Grace and peace,

robert

Day 13: Zagora Major

Day 13: Company Brewing Zagora Major – Belgian-Style Tripel Ale 9.5% ABV

Can you believe we are already halfway through our Advent Calendar of malty beverages? I hope you are enjoying the journey thus far. For the next three evenings we have a sampling from Company Brewing lined up for us. Since we have three posts to share more about what makes Company Brewery unique, tonight I’ve decided to share one of the reasons why this brewery is important to Robert and I! Robert and I met almost five years ago when we worked together at a high school in Milwaukee. For those of you who know Robert, you know he can be a bit reserved at times, and takes a while to really open up to new people. So after a month or so of working together, we decided to get beers after work, with Company Brewing being our destination. Home to one of the better happy hour deals in Riverwest, full pours for the price of a half, this wonderful little spot is also where our friendship began as we shared stories while drinking their tasty brews.

Tonight we have Zagora Major, a Belgian Tripel Ale. Sadly, I have never had this beer before and since it is a newer beer, I know very little about its specific flavors, but as a Belgian Tripel, we can expect the taste to be nuanced and yeast forward. The term ‘tripel’ originated in Belgium during the 1930s when Westmalle Brewery created a new strong ale brewed using triple the ingredients of their classic abbey style ale. I love the telltale flavors of Belgian beer that are derived from the specific yeast strains developed throughout Belgium’s rich brewing history. I hope you enjoy sampling another new beer style to start this new week!

Cheers,

Chase

Advent Reflection

Scripture

Luke 1:18-25

Zechariah asked the angel, “How can I be sure of this? I am an old man and my wife is well along in years.” The angel said to him, “I am Gabriel. I stand in the presence of God, and I have been sent to speak to you and to tell you this good news. And now you will be silent and not able to speak until the day this happens, because you did not believe my words, which will come true at their appointed time.”

Meanwhile, the people were waiting for Zechariah and wondering why he stayed so long in the temple. When he came out, he could not speak to them. They realized he had seen a vision in the temple, for he kept making signs to them but remained unable to speak.

Today we begin week 3 of Advent. I hope that your journey thus far has been encouraging, challenging, and reflective. Tonight’s reflection was one that I found thought provoking and timely; especially when we consider the purpose of Beer Advent 414: “To slow down, enjoy good beer, and reflect”. I pray that you are blessed and encouraged.

Perhaps Zechariah had begun losing hope in God’s desire to answer prayer.  Maybe in the busyness of his work he stopped spending time in communion with El Shaddai, God Almighty, the One who powerfully intervenes changing circumstances when they seem beyond hope.

Perhaps the gift of silence was God’s grace to Zechariah as an invitation to be still before Him and know that He is God (Ps. 46:10).  Maybe God gifted Zechariah with not just a baby, but with the sacred space of stopping and considering the wonder of the God who still meets His creatures’ deepest desires.

You may find yourself in a season of hopelessness and constant busyness.  Richard Foster comments that, “our Adversary the devil majors in three things: noise, hurry, and crowds.  If he can keep us engaged in ‘muchness’ and ‘manyness,’ he will rest satisfied.”

Perhaps this season God is extending you the same invitation as the grace given to Zechariah, to slow down and know that He is God Almighty. -From Adventconspiracy.org

As we get closer and closer to the holiday season, in what ways can you intentionally slow down and spend time with the One who can meet you and powerfully intervene in whatever you are facing?

Remember to slow down, sip, and enjoy the stillness.

Grace and Peace,

Robert

Day 12: Goon Juice

Day 12: Eagle Park Brewing Company Goon Juice – DDH Hazy IPA 8% ABV

About the Beer

We are back for another libation made by Eagle Park Brewing Company. Before I talk about the beer, I wanted to share a little more about the backstory of the brewery. Two brothers, Max and Jack Borgardt, grew up with a love of writing music and even played in a band together. Their other passion was drinking great beer. In a desire to chase glory, they were faced with a choice to either run after fame in the music industry, or try their hand making beer. I for one am extremely thankful they made the decision they did! 

Tonight we have a DDH Hazy IPA that goes by the monicker, Goon Juice! So what do all those letters mean?! I hope by your sheer inclusion in Beer Advent you know what IPA stands for, but many of us might be unfamiliar with what DDH stands for. As your can will tell you, it stands for Double Dry Hopped, which means they added tons of hops after the fermentation process has already started. In this case we enjoy the floral aromas of Citra, Mosaic, Eureka, and Columbus hops that were added after the boil! The pour is a cloudy, golden color with white foam. Smells of tropical fruit, mango, grapefruit, and fresh squeezed orange. The taste is fruity and floral due to the large hop additions. A smooth, but thinner mouthfeel than many hazy IPAs, with great carbonation. I hope you enjoy this DDH Hazy IPA (and maybe a second beer) after all of the shoveling you had to do today! You earned it!

Cheers,

Chase

Advent Reflection

Tonight’s reflection comes from: “The Advent Project: Center for Christianity, Culture, and the Arts.” Check out their website here

Isaiah 60:3
And the Gentiles shall come to thy light, and kings to the brightness of thy rising.

“The prophet Isaiah speaks forth a host of prophecies throughout his text. There’s messianic prophecies, eschatological prophecies, and prophecies against Israel and other nations, etc. Many of these prophecies foretell doom and gloom, as is so often the case with the Old Testament prophets, but some of his prophecies are hopeful, even enlivening. One of these animating prophecies in found Isaiah 60:1-3 wherein the prophet assures Israel of her future glory in that God’s light will shine upon them and the “Lord will arise” upon them (v. 2). And this illuminating and arising will have results not only for Israel but for all of the nations of the world since they and their rulers will also come to the Lord’s light.

So, what exactly is this illuminating and arising? Light bookends the Scriptures: “God said, ‘Let there be light,’ and there was light” (Gen. 1:3); and “the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and his servants will worship him. They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads. And night will be no more. They will need no light of lamp or sun, for the Lord God will be their light, and they will reign forever and ever” (Rev. 22:5). Thus, we know that God is the light and in his light there is “life, and the life was the light of men” (John 1:4). To be in the light is to be a child of God and to live in the light is to live in his good creation as his redeemed children. Thus, when God shines his light onto all the nations, he is shining himself on them, inviting them into a saving relationship. God’s light is symbolic of his omnipresence and saving grace.

This is the message of Advent, that in the coming of Jesus all people who already live in the light of creation can become daughters and sons of he who is Light.”

Grace and Peace,

robert

Day 11: Botms Up

Day 11: Eagle Park Brewing Company Botm’s UP – Milkshake IPA 5.6% ABV

About the Beer:

When I moved to Milwaukee over eight years ago and started to explore the city, I frequently noticed this cool little building downtown and always thought it would be a great spot for a brewery. Apparently the founders of Eagle Park Brewing Company, Max and Jack Borgardt, had the same thought as they opened their brewery in that building in 2017. Since then, they have experienced a ton of success and recently opened a second location this past summer in Muskego, WI which includes a distillery! If you check out their website, in bold letters they state, “We know the craft beer industry is flooded with fly-by-night labels that warrant no respect. We won’t be one of them. We prove our dedication and commitment to you, and the craft beer community, through every pour, every toast, and every taste.” Now that is a mission statement I can get behind! If you are anything like me, you are tired of seeing another new brewery that only specializes in IPAs, trying to be like every other craft brewery in the country. Eagle Park refuses to just blend in with the crowd. I love this brewery and am super excited for all of you to get to enjoy a few of their beers over the next two evenings.

Tonight we have Botm’s UP, a Milkshake IPA brewed with vanilla and heaping amounts of orange, tangerine, and mandarin. We’ve already had a beer version of a pumpkin spice latte this year, so why not try an orange creamsicle beer as well? The pour is a dark, murky orange with a yellow tinted foam. Initial aromas of orange and mandarin are with hints of cream and vanilla as well. The taste is sweet, with orange, vanilla, and cream being the dominant flavors. The beer has a thick, creamy mouthfeel due to being brewed as a “milkshake” IPA. So what exactly is a ‘milkshake’ IPA you ask? It gets its name from the extra ingredient added during the end of the boil or primary fermentation, lactose sugar, which lends the beer its cloudy appearance and rich mouthfeel. Though it may not be orange creamsicle weather outside, let’s enjoy this blood orange milkshake IPA on this snowy/rainy evening!

Botm’s UP,

Chase

Advent Reflection

Scripture: Matthew 3:1-2, 7-11

In those days John the Baptist came, preaching in the wilderness of Judea and saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near…”

But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming to where he was baptizing, he said to them: “You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the coming wrath? Produce fruit in keeping with repentance. And do not think you can say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father.’ I tell you that out of these stones God can raise up children for Abraham. The ax is already at the root of the trees, and every tree that does not produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire.

“I baptize you with water for repentance. But after me comes one who is more powerful than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.

The passages during this second week of Advent that focus on John the Baptist are so bizarre to me and I often wonder why they are included in Advent readings. Tonight’s reading certainly fits that mold. It’s not one of those uplifting messages that just encourage our hearts during this season. But that’s exactly the purpose of Advent. Advent calls us to wait, anticipate, reflect, and journey inward. Tonight’s passage from the Gospel of Matthew calls us to that journey. “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near“. This message demands our response. The key component of Advent is that as we wait for the coming of Christ in Bethlehem, we also await His second coming as King and Judge. This, I believe, is one of the more overlooked themes of Advent. We enjoy the peaceful serenity of the baby in the manger and the star in the sky with the rustic shepherds, elegant magi, and lowing farm animals smiling benevolently at the infant. The message tonight that John the Baptist calls us to, is vastly different. “Repent…after me comes one who is more powerful than I…bear fruit in keeping with repentance…and every tree that does not produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire.

Christ’s coming demands a response from us. John the Baptist proclaimed what our response should be…”Repent“. Repentance is not just saying sorry or feeling bad about an action or behavior. Repentance is a change in direction. It’s a reorienting of oneself in another way of life. It’s facing our darkness, confessing it, and turning from it.

As we await Christ’s coming, how does this message of repentance speak to you? What has been revealed to you…in you? As you journey inward tonight, know that the whole purpose of Christ’s coming was to show that when we repent, through Jesus, there is rich mercy and abundant grace.

Grace and Peace,

Robert

Day 10: Convenient Distraction

Day 10: O’so Brewing Company Convenient Distraction – Imperial Porter 9.8% ABV 

About the Beer:

We are back with O’so Brewing Company tonight for a second offering from this wonderful brewery located in Plover, WI. One of the reasons we wanted to feature two beers from the Wisconsin breweries on our calendar was to help us to not immediately write off an entire brewery because we did not enjoy our first sampling from it. I am frequently guilty of this, and it has kept me from trying and enjoying numerous high quality beers simply because I decided I wouldn’t enjoy any of their beer after one of their libations didn’t tickle my fancy. I’ll confess I did not love last night’s beer (if you loved it, absolutely no judgment). Don’t get me wrong, at Deer Camp or in the dead of summer I love a light lager as much as the next guy, but on a crisp December night I’d rather imbibe an imperial stout or a Belgian quad. One of our goals during beer selection has been to pick a wide variety of beers to cover as many styles as possible. Tonight we get to try something on the opposite end of the beer spectrum from the same brewery, so if their lager wasn’t your cup of tea, get ready for a heavy-bodied malty glass of goodness.

I love the name of tonight’s beer, Convenient Distraction. It causes me to reflect, and identify the parts of my life that I pick as a ‘convenient distraction’ from the reality around me, to filter out what is truly important and what is just fluff. This imperial porter brewed with Madagascar vanilla and coffee comes in at a whopping 9.8 % ABV, a far cry from last night’s lager. Deep brown, almost black in color with a tan head. Aromas of coffee, dark chocolate, vanilla, and even a hint of bourbon. This beer looks and smells of decadence. The taste moves up the nose with strong hints of coffee, chocolate, bourbon, and vanilla that are complemented by a smooth, creamy mouth feel. There are just enough hops to balance out the sweetness. So tonight, during this momentary distraction, let’s enjoy this luscious dessert beer!

Cheers,

Chase

Advent Reflection

Scripture

Isaiah 40:3-5

A voice of one calling:
“In the wilderness prepare
    the way for the Lord;
make straight in the desert
    a highway for our God.
Every valley shall be raised up,
    every mountain and hill made low;
the rough ground shall become level,
    the rugged places a plain.
And the glory of the Lord will be revealed,
    and all people will see it together.
For the mouth of the Lord has spoken.”

I’ll be honest with you tonight. I did not prepare a devotion earlier in the day and when I came home, it was extreme chaos at my house. I do not want to BS a devotional thought so I’ll simply leave tonight’s reflection focused on the Word from the prophet Isaiah.

As you read and reflect on the Word of God from Isaiah, what sticks out to you? What resonates with your spirit, mind, and heart?

For me…It’s, “every valley shall be raised up, ever mountain shall be made low.”

Grace and Peace,

Robert

Day 9: Doe in Heat

Day 9: O’so Brewing – Doe in Heat – American Lager 4.6% ABV

About the Beer

O’so Brewing Company is located in Plover, Wisconsin. This brewery has a similar story to many microbreweries across the midwest. The founder, Marc Buttera, was an avid homebrewer and made his first foray into the beer business by opening a homebrew supply store called Point Brewing Supply. From there, the brewery was developed, and In 2013 they were declared the second fasting growing brewery in Wisconsin. One of the things I love about O’so is that they care deeply about the state of Wisconsin, going so far as to use almost entirely Wisconsin made products to craft their beer. The grain, cases boxes, bottles, and can sleeves all are Wisconsin-made products. 

So as you’d expect, a brewery with such a dedication to our great state would create a beer in honor of many a Wisconsite’s favorite getaway, Deer Camp. Every fall the blaze orange army hauls their hunting gear (and well stocked coolers) to cabins, trailers, and in my case, a shed, to gather with our family and hunting buddies in preparation for the annual tradition. For those of you who have never been, Deer Camp is a wonderful place, filled with card games, countless chip varieties, cheese and cracker trays, dessert bars, and all sorts of snacks you don’t partake in normally. The crucial element of Deer Camp is when we regale one another with hunting stories of past bucks, the deer that got away, and trail cam monsters we’ll dream about later that night. These times call for a specific type of beer, one that you can have a few of without the fear of feeling sick when you climb into your blind the next morning. That brings us to our beer for this evening. 

Doe in Heat is an American Lager that O’so brews as one of their seasonal beers each fall. This light, easy drinking beer can also be found in cans labeled, ‘Buck in Rut,’ and it is said that finding one of those cans will bring you luck on Saturday morning of opening weekend. Pale, straw-yellow in color with grainy corn and yeast present in the aromas. The taste is sweet and malty with heavy carbonation and a creamy mouthfeel. This beer was not made to be inventive or push the envelope of how people think of beer, it was made to taste like beer in a traditional sense. So tonight, as you sip, reflect, and critique this beer, take time to reminisce about those gatherings and traditions that bring us joy. Think about the stories you’ve heard told more times than you can remember. I hope this beer helps you find your own moment of ‘Deer Camp’ tonight.

Cheers,

Chase

Advent Reflection

After reading the description of tonight’s beer and the encouragement to think about gatherings and traditions that bring us joy, I am reminded of how much I long for people gathering around the table. The song that I am sharing with you tonight is one that I find extremely beautiful. I certainly realize that I am taking a risk in vulnerability because people have very specific tastes in music, and possibly music videos, but bear with me and look past the awkwardness of two guys playing guitar in front of a table of people. The thing that I love about this music video is the communal gathering of people; different races, different creeds, different backgrounds. The lyrics of the song resonate with my heart greatly: “…You’re never a stranger, just come as you are…Come be whole, come be loved, come accepted, come now come.”

The One that we are waiting for and longing for this Advent season is one who is inviting us to His table. It doesn’t matter where we have been, what we have done, or what we think. We are all accepted and invited to His table. There is room at the table. During this time of pandemic, the thing that I have most longed for is sharing in the Communion (Eucharist) table with my brothers and sisters in Christ. The simple act of receiving the bread and the wine that reminds us of the body and blood of Christ shed for us in the cross is something that my soul seems to long for.

As you drink tonight’s beer and listen to the song, and possibly stay with me enough to read this post; I pray that you will accept the invitation and join the table of peace! “The table is set, the feast is ready!”

Grace and Peace,

Robert

Day 8: Black Husky SPROOSE

Day 8: Black Husky Brewing SPROOSE – Double IPA 8.6%

As you have probably been able to intuit, Black Husky Brewing loves dogs, specifically, huskies. The owners’ son at one point had a kennel filled with sled dogs, and they decided to name their beers after dogs they feel relate to that beer. The brewery itself is named after their black husky, Howler. The beer we are enjoying tonight is SPROOSE, which is their second rendition of this beer. I remember sampling the original “spruce juice” about 6 years ago shortly after moving to Milwaukee. Fabled as a beer brewed with spruce tips, it was a delightful beer, unlike anything I had previously tasted. When they moved the brewery to Riverwest, they unveiled a double IPA version of spruce juice, SPROOSE, which gets its name from their dog Lothar, often referred to as “the biter,” because this beer has quite the bite to it. 

The pour is dark orange with a decent amount of haze, be wary of a large head of foam! Aromas of pine will come wafting up to your nose from the spruce tips used in brewing, giving you the feeling of being deep in the woods of Northern Wisconsin. Pine is noticeable in the taste, but the large amount of hops added during the fermentation process help balance out the evergreen taste with a citrusy finish. Medium bodied mouthfeel with a soft, creamy finish. One thing is for sure, this beer does not lack flavor! This beer is not meant to be subtle, or artsy with its flavors, it is intentionally brewed to assault your tastebuds, and give you an entirely novel experience.

I hope you enjoy this ‘Christmas Tree’ Double IPA as much as I do.

Cheers,

Chase

Advent Reflection

Scripture

Isaiah 40

A voice of one calling:
“In the wilderness prepare
    the way for the Lord;
make straight in the desert
    a highway for our God.

Mark 1:1-3

The beginning of the good news about Jesus the Messiah, the Son of God, as it is written in Isaiah the prophet:

“I will send my messenger ahead of you,
    who will prepare your way”
 “a voice of one calling in the wilderness,
‘Prepare the way for the Lord,
    make straight paths for him.’”

 And so John the Baptist appeared in the wilderness, preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. The whole Judean countryside and all the people of Jerusalem went out to him. Confessing their sins, they were baptized by him in the Jordan River.  John wore clothing made of camel’s hair, with a leather belt around his waist, and he ate locusts and wild honey.  And this was his message: “After me comes the one more powerful than I, the straps of whose sandals I am not worthy to stoop down and untie. I baptize you with water, but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.”

Our readings tonight point us to a messenger that will prepare the way for the Lord. This messenger will also proclaim the coming kingdom of God. This messenger is John the Baptist and he is prominent in the readings during the 2nd week of Advent. I love the language that Chase used to describe tonight’s beer. The Sproose is definitely an ‘assault’ on your tastebuds. In a lot of ways, tonight’s beer is overpowering and seems to fall in two (2) categories: ‘I love it’ or ‘I hate it’. John the Baptist was very similar. He was an ‘assault’ on the culture of his time and was unlike any other figure that we see in Scripture. I mean, go back and read the description from the Gospel of Mark…he wore a garment made of camel’s hair and had a diet of locusts and wild honey! Yet, this man has a profound story and involvement in our Christian faith. Listen to this description, “There is no good news, no Gospel of Jesus Christ, without John the Baptist. John’s whole life was lived with but one purpose; he was born, a man of destiny, to declare the imminent arrival of the coming Messiah. This voice crying in the wilderness, this ‘lantern which shone in front of the Son of God,’ is extraordinary in many ways, but most of all for the single-mindedness with which he pursued his mission even to death, for John the Baptist feared no man, not even Herod the king, and no woman either, not even Herod’s wife, who in the end arranged to have his head cut off. But let us take note: this firebrand who recognized no superior was utterly submissive before the One whose coming he lived and died to illuminate; for John said, ‘One is coming who is mightier than I, and I am not worthy to untie the thong of his sandal.’” (Fleming Rutledge)

The whole purpose of John the Baptist’s life was to point away from himself and to Jesus Christ. This, I believe, is the calling of each of us as followers of Jesus. How much of our lives are lived with a ‘single-mindedness’ of focus and purpose? John the Baptist is a wonderful example for us. I pray that my life would be lived in such a way that I would proclaim with my life just like John did, “He (Jesus) must become greater, I must become less” (John 3:30)

As you drink this double IPA with an assault of pine, spruce, and hops tonight, I pray that you would reflect on what it might mean for you to become single-minded in your purpose of making much of Jesus, our Savior and King!

Grace and Peace,

robert

Day 7: Black Husky Deck Dog

Day 7: Deck Dog

Black Husky Brewing Deck Dog – German Pilsner 5.8% ABV

About the Beer

After this past weekend’s deviation from Wisconsin breweries, we return for a beer from one of our favorite local spots located just blocks from Robert’s house in Riverwest. A lesser known fact about Black Husky Brewing is that it was started out of a log cabin in Pembine, Wisconsin. That small brewery began getting calls from bars and restaurants in Milwaukee and demand started to really grow. After many trips with their van loaded down from the kegs and bottles, they decided to uproot the brewery in 2016, and turn an old auto-garage into their permanent home. When Robert and I first visited the brewery, the owner told us they hadn’t even found a place to live yet, and were staying with their son while they prioritized getting their new operation up and running. We are extremely excited to feature two beers from Black Husky on our calendar this year as it is one of our favorites.

Tonight we are enjoying Deck Dog, Black Husky’s version of a German Pilsner. This beer is named in honor of their ‘deck dog,’ Rinky. Their dog Rinky is their true companion, ever ready to sit by their side as they concoct nonsensical ideas and plans whilst drinking on their deck. This beer, though called a pilsner, is actually brewed in the style of an ale, but with all of the ingredients of a German Pils. Crisp when poured into a glass, Deck Dog offers classic malt and yeast aromas on the nose. Clean crisp taste with hints of some fruit that gives away its true nature as an ale. As a pilsner, Deck Dog is a beer you reliably drink while doing summer yard work, drinking on your patio, or tailgating before a game. Enjoy this crisp beer and look forward to warmer weather or make plans to bring a six pack of Deck Dog with you to the first sporting event you can attend when things reopen. 

Cheers,

Chase

Advent Reflection

Scripture

Isaiah 9:6

“For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder and his name shall be called…Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and of peace there will be no end, on the throne of David and over his kingdom, to establish it and to uphold it with justice and with righteousness from this time forth and forevermore.”

The reflection tonight is adapted from adventconspiracy.org (I was encouraged by it as we journey into this 2nd week of Advent and focus our hearts on the coming Kingdom of God.)

It’s hard to imagine in this day of divisiveness and polarity when it comes to politics, a government so amazing that we would consider good news the fact that it would never end. Can you picture an earthly kingdom characterized by justice and righteousness – always and forever? This is what the passage from Isaiah is pointing us to tonight.

When we consider some of the most successful kingdoms throughout the world’s history, with the happiest subjects, the fairest laws, the lowest taxes…all have eventually proven flawed by the corruption of power and ambition, weak or greedy leaders, restless, rebellious people or some combination of our universal brokenness. No matter how good a government may seem for a time, it’s clear that mere humans, even with the best intentions, have never been and will never be able to accomplish this sort of civilization. It is possible however. And this kingdom will come!

Through the birth of this child in Isaiah 9, God is going to establish His kingdom. A kingdom overflowing with justice, righteousness, and peace with no end. A kingdom ruled by the one described as the Wonderful Counselor, the Mighty God, the Everlasting Father, and the Prince of Peace.

This child is what we wait for this Advent. This child and this kingdom is what we long for.

Grace and Peace,

robert

Day 6: Belching Beaver

Day 6: Belching Beaver Peanut Butter Milk Stout

Belching Beaver Peanut Butter Milk Stout – Milk Stout 5.3% ABV

On the home page of Belching Beaver’s website they write, “Belching Beaver Brewery came from a desire to make great beer and have DAM GOOD TIMES.” If you know me, you know that I love a good pun, so this line immediately endeared this brewery to my heart. Located in Oceanside, California, Belching Beaver was opened in 2012 and has been brewing a variety of great beers since. They are the only beer on our calendar this year to come from the supposed “craft beer capital of the world.” 

Our beer tonight was added to our calendar courtesy of Yale from Otto’s Liquor. For the past two years we have relied on Yale to pick a “mystery” beer for us from his list of favorites. Last year he picked Holiday Cheer, so here’s to hoping this Peanut Butter Milk Stout makes a similar impression on us. Lauded as ‘America’s favorite peanut butter milk stout,’ the beer is black in color with a thin tan head when poured into a glass. Peanut butter is very prominent on the nose with a slight hint of coffee and charred grains. The taste starts bitter from large hop additions, but the sweet taste of peanut rushes in, complemented well by the rich, full-bodied mouthfeel. You might notice hints of salt and caramel as well that will leave a nutty aftertaste on a tongue. This highly decorated beer is Belching Beaver’s #1 best seller and is sure to be a crowd pleaser! Tonight as you pour it into a glass and get ready to enjoy it, raise your glass in a cheers to Yale, our trusted beer buyer, and valued contributor to 414 Beer Advent.

Cheers,

Chase

Advent Reflection

Scripture

Isaiah 11

A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse;
    from his roots a Branch will bear fruit.
The Spirit of the Lord will rest on him—
    the Spirit of wisdom and of understanding,
    the Spirit of counsel and of might,
    the Spirit of the knowledge and fear of the Lord—

and he will delight in the fear of the Lord. He will not judge by what he sees with his eyes,
    or decide by what he hears with his ears;
but with righteousness he will judge the needy,
    with justice he will give decisions for the poor of the earth.
He will strike the earth with the rod of his mouth;
    with the breath of his lips he will slay the wicked.
Righteousness will be his belt

    and faithfulness the sash around his waist. The wolf will live with the lamb,
    the leopard will lie down with the goat,
the calf and the lion and the yearling together;
    and a little child will lead them.
The cow will feed with the bear,
    their young will lie down together,
    and the lion will eat straw like the ox.
The infant will play near the cobra’s den,
    and the young child will put its hand into the viper’s nest.
They will neither harm nor destroy

    on all my holy mountain,
for the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the Lord
    as the waters cover the sea.

As we enter the 2nd week of Advent we light the second candle on our Advent wreath: the candle of peace! As you read our passage from Isaiah, notice the ‘peace’ that this ‘shoot from the stump of Jesse’ will bring. When my wife and I read this passage with our kids today, they were astounded at the description of the vicious animals being at peace with the gentle. Go back and read through the passage again and notice the beauty of this peace that is to come!

I believe that we all long for peace. The beauty of Advent is that we anticipate the Prince of Peace that is coming to us. This Prince of Peace will bring this everlasting peace that is described in our passage from Isaiah! May we long for this peace.

As you enjoy the delicious pint of peanut butter and chocolate this evening, I pray that you relish in your longing for peace, and the challenge to think about how you can bring peace to people around you in the coming weeks.

Grace and Peace,

robert

Day 5: Black is Beautiful

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.

Cheers,

Chase

Advent Reflection

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,

robert