Of Belgian beer and mystique

OF BELGIAN BEER AND MYSTIQUE

Ardent Belgo-phile Joe Stange muses on the magic and fantasy that runs through Belgian beer

As a longtime atheist — sceptic, realist, whatever you prefer — the only ‘magic’ I know lies in those parts of the mind we have yet to understand. These can be uncomfortable areas to explore. They occasionally manifest in the real world, often through the creations of the right-brained or the intoxicated — or, in the case of the Belgians, both.

I’ve walked into hundreds of different Belgian cafés. They lean more eccentric than most pubs, to put it lightly, so we could fairly describe many as odd but charming. Beyond those, things can get really weird. A select few are more like sweaty obsessions than cafés. Upon entering you get a palpable sense that you’ve walked into a dark corner of someone else’s brain; you obviously don’t belong there and must immediately choose whether to turn around and walk out before committing to the experience any further.

The Velootje in Ghent is one of those, a thick, dusty hoard of junk and memories, with just a bit of space cleared for a few people to sit. It’s a work of art, in its way, a mishmash of cobwebbed antique bicycles, candelabras and Jesus busts in party hats. Authorities have closed it four times for sanitary reasons, though it serves no food whatsoever. The owner Lieven De Vos keeps several different beers in his fridge, but the only brand you get is whatever he chooses to serve you. The whole experience is as unsettling as it is entertaining. To say I recommend it would be an exaggeration. It’s not for everyone.

Another of these obsessions, less well known, is the Bezemsteeltje in Antwerp. This is on the Varkensmarkt, about 10 minutes walk northwest of the Cathedral. The café’s whole interior is layered in witches — mannequins, toys, masks, statuettes. They gaze into crystal balls and seem to cackle from the rafters. It is not a destination beer bar, though they tend to stock a few witch-themed ales. It’s worth the detour if you collect that sort of experience.

Belgium excels at fantasy. They know better than us that life is too short for the mundane, just as it’s too short for boring glassware, dull-looking beer, or a Sunday without a visit to the café. Thus fantasy finds its way into all sorts of beers and associated marketing. There are witches and elves and trolls and things all over the artwork — the labels, the breweriana, and in the brand names.

Many of these legends spring from local folklore, like the witches of Ellezelles, in the hill country of north Hainaut. The Quintine brewery there has long embraced the witch theme (I once visited to find an ad out front for a used broom — ‘only 600 flight hours’). The Quintine ales got their name from a 17th-century woman burnt at the stake for ‘witchcraft’ along with four other women; the real evil, of course, was superstition and those who used it to manipulate fools. Inevitably there is a medieval, horror-themed knees-up every year in Ellezelles to commemorate this grisly event. Meanwhile the town’s answer to Brussels’ Manneken Pis is a charming fountain named Eul Pichoûre. She is a squatting witch who relieves herself at a shocking velocity.

Mind you, Ellezelles is the same town (pop. 5,000) that decided — entirely on its own, since Agatha Christie never specified — that it was the birthplace of Hercule Poirot. To state the obvious, we are referring to a fictional character. Yet the local authorities can produce a birth certificate. It says he was born on April 1.

That’s the sort of nonsense that keeps me toiling happily in the mines here, in the decidedly un-lucrative field of Belgo-philia — part drunkard, part foreign ethnographer and cultural appropriator. I share this self-awareness to prepare you for what comes next: some dubious notions about Belgian art.

My impression is that the Belgians would be more into magical realism, but it’s just too realistic for them. Fantasy is their thing, and by fantasy I don’t mean wizards and dragons (although they like that stuff too).

I mean they are into the fantastic — anything goes, as long as it’s out there and detaches from the mundane. In Brussels there is even a Museum of Fantastic Art — full of weird and surreal objects — right next to the Horta Museum, a temple of Art Nouveau. Speaking of which, the very best of Art Nouveau architecture — born in Brussels, mind you — tends to look rather elvish. One of the best places to admire the style is the swooping interior of the brasserie Porteuse d’Eau (perhaps with a bottle of Lindemans Oude Gueuze, its own label drawn in Art Nouveau style). The fact that the place is an imitation only reinforces the theme. It doesn’t have to be real; it’s better if it isn’t.

Why be real, after all, when you can be surreal? Many of the surrealists, incidentally, subscribed to a method called automatism. The idea is to lose conscious control of what you are creating, and submit to the creations of your subconscious mind. Altered states of consciousness fascinated them. How often, do you reckon, were they sober?

The Belgian painter René Magritte didn’t embrace that method. His deliberate creations were more like visual poems, meant to create mystery. He said he did not intend them to ‘mean’ anything; they were supposed to be unknowable.

In Brussels, Magritte drank sometimes with other surrealists in the Fleur en Papier Doré, perhaps 10 minutes’ walk from the art museum that now bears his name. You can enjoy a tumbler of draught Oud Beersel lambic there and admire all sorts of odd things on the walls. My favourite is this scrawled bit of wisdom: Nul ne m’est étranger comme moi-même. No one is as foreign to me as I am to myself.

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Along with Tim Webb, Joe is the co-author of the latest (and 8th) edition of CAMRA’s Good Beer Guide Belgium which is now available, £14.99. We think it’s rather essential if you’re catching the Eurostar to Midi.


Fourpure Brewing Co acquired by Lion

FOURPURE ACQUIRED BY LION

 Australian beer company Lion has acquired 100% of Fourpure Brewing Co

VERBATIM PRESS RELEASE BELOW

Lion has a long history of investing in great businesses and empowering them to keep doing what they do best, while giving them the financial and strategic support to get their products to more people.

Fourpure Co-founder and CEO Daniel Lowe said: “Over the past 12 months we’ve been working hard to find the right investment path for the next phase of the Fourpure story.  While in four short years Fourpure has grown to become one of London’s leading independent modern craft brewers, we knew we couldn’t take the next adventure alone.  We met Lion towards the end of our process after a wide range of funding options had been considered, and quickly realised we had a shared vision and values.”

“It was clear from the very first meeting that Matt and the Lion team understand the needs of a craft brewery and share our aspirations for quality and sustainability. Lion’s past investments in craft breweries in Australia and New Zealand, including Little Creatures, have always respected the beer and the people.”

Lion is already active in the UK and Europe, selling a range of Australian and New Zealand craft beers and fine wines from the US and New Zealand. In time, there will be an opportunity to look at how both businesses’ sales and distribution channels can be used to reach more drinkers, not only in the UK but also in Europe and global markets where both businesses are already growing.   Daniel Lowe remains CEO with co-founder and brother, Tom Lowe also staying on with Fourpure.

Lion Global Markets Managing Director Matt Tapper said: “Lion has a long and proud history in craft beer in Australia and New Zealand and we’re thrilled to have the opportunity to back Dan, Tom and the team to take Fourpure into its next chapter. The guys have done a superb job in getting the business to where it is now and we love how innovative they’ve been in both beer styles and the way they have positioned the brand. We’re making real progress in making our craft beers like Little Creatures available in the UK and Europe and we see some great opportunities to work together to get these and Fourpure’s brews in the hands of more beer lovers.”

Fourpure is known for its approachable styles and flagship beers like its World Beer Cup medal-winning Pils Lager and popular Session IPA. Founded in 2013 by brothers Daniel and Thomas Lowe, Fourpure’s brewery and hospitality venue is part of the renowned ‘Bermondsey Beer Mile’ craft brewing hub in South East London. The modern UK Craft market is one of the world’s largest and fastest growing globally in volume terms. It currently represents around 5% volume share of craft beer.

The commercial details of the transaction are confidential.


Canadian Issue 1 free to read here

CANADIAN ISSUE 1 FREE TO READ HERE

 We’ve just launched our free, independent magazine in Canada. Read it all here. 

Illustration by Adam McNaught-Davis

Finally, Ontario Gets the Beer Publication it Deserves!

If you have seen fit to pick up this inaugural edition of Original Gravity, chances are that you have at least a passing familiarity with what’s been going on in beer in this city and province over the last several years. And if you don’t, or if you’d like to freshen that knowledge, Jordan St. John’s story on Toronto brewery taprooms, found on page 16, will go a long way to updating you.

The point being that beer in these parts has changed almost immeasurably over the past three decades, from just a small handful of breweries and brewpubs – anyone remember Upper Canada Brewing? How about Denison’s? – to 41 operating within the city limits and 250 scattered across the province, according to the latest numbers from the Ontario Beverage Network, which probably became out-of-date the day after we went to print, such is the pace of brewery expansion in 2018.

Yet beer literature, never much of a thing around Ontario, simply hasn’t kept up with developments. Until now, that is.

What you hold in your hands is a beer publication of a different ilk, one that seeks to challenge as much as it does entertain, to inform as well as to provoke. You will find beer reviews, of course – Greg Clow and I take on a quintet of brews on page 22 – as well as style features and profiles of the people who work hard to bring you great-tasting beer – both starting to the right. But you will also discover within the following pages things that you might not expect to find in a beer magazine, like Robin LeBlanc’s wrenching essay of loss and community on page 19 and our quirky spotlight on The Art of Beer on the page opposite this one.

In short, what we are aiming to bring you with Original Gravity is a magazine thatís as challenging, diverse, surprising, illuminating and captivating as is the Ontario beer market we cover. In other words, the kind of beer publication this province so richly deserves!

Stephen Beaumont, Editor-in-Chief

 

 


Ritual

RITUAL

‘It is like saying grace. In the wine cellars of Baron Bachofen von Echt, under his schloss at Nussdorf, on the edge of the Vienna Woods, I have raised a glass of “Sir Henry’s” dry stout, brewed on the premises, and said a silent prayer of thanks to the Campaign for Real Ale.’

Called to the Bar — an account of the first 21 years of CAMRA, published 1992

By Adrian Tierney-Jones

If we define ritual as an act that is always repeated, as an act of devotion, sometimes as an act of exaggeration, often as a sense of belonging and being in the vanguard of something with its own quirks and language and a heightened sense of its own reality, then brewing and beer is as ritualistic as say the Tridentine Mass or the fulsome applause whenever Kim Jong-un utters some proclamation. Think smells and bells, chants, Gregorian or otherwise, gestures or fingers crossed in the air, prayer and meditation, the unknown and, when it comes to working with mixed fermentation and barrels of various denominations, an act of blind faith.

Like many a writer and brewer, I have heard the tale of a head brewer at Guinness’ former Park Royal plant in west London, who at the start of the brewing day would sit on a chair (or a throne even) overlooking the brewing kit, and, at the appropriate time, fob-watch in hand, boom out ‘let the mash begin’. Whether true or not, the very existence of the story (or myth, another important part of ritual) seems to suggest that ritualistic practices have their place in the world of beer. On a personal level, I’m reminded of my experience at St Austell about 10 years ago during the first brew of the day — it was customary to taste the runnings of the wort from the first mash. It was horribly sweet, but at least it didn’t have a raw egg in it, an experience Roger Protz wrote about in The Ale Trail.

So how is brewing ritualistic? The same procedures are adhered to for each brew of a certain beer (unless of course you have split away, hammered your theses on the door and work with the uncertainties of wild yeast); the correct amount of salts are added to the liquor; the same temperatures for the mash and the boil; the same time given to the length of the brew. Meanwhile, hop varieties — Citra, Cascade, Centennial and Eukanot, perhaps — are intoned with the dedication of a prayer, an evocation that these hops will make the beer that beguiles drinkers, batch after batch after batch. And finally, the quiet slumber of fermentation and conditioning, head bowed, thought cowed, the mediation on the ritual taken.

There is also ritualistic behaviour in the pub. We buy rounds for each other, we say, ‘cheers’, ‘good health’ or (in my case) ‘long legs to the squadron leader’s baby’. A multitude of Maß brimming with gold-flecked Oktoberfest beer is clinked with gusto at Munich in the autumn. Smartphones are tapped and glasses snapped with metronomic passion and Instagrammable aptness at beer bars up and down the country, companions to those for whom beer festival programmes and spiral bound notebooks are chapbooks for the faith when face to face with new ales.

With all this in mind, it makes me think: are the rituals that run rife through beer and brewing a case of making the ordinary extraordinary? For after all, it does seem that the fermented juice of the barley has had the power to cast a spell on men and women ever since the first brewer stood up and said (for all I know) ‘what has happened here is magic’? Or are they, as could be ascribed to any ritual, a nervous tic of behaviour, an itch that needs to be scratched, a way of celebration that leads to ecstasy? Is this the real magic of beer: the unknowable?

——————

First published in Issue 17 of Original Gravity. Click here to read Magic & Loss by Pete Brown and Brand, Myth and Magic by Daniel Neilson here.  


Brand, myth & magic

BRAND, MYTH & MAGIC

Daniel Neilson plots barstool stories from the very first trademark to the new age of label legends

Labels sell beer; we know that. On New Year’s Day 1876, under registration code UK00000000001, a red triangle, known in the file as the Bass Triangle, became the first registered trademark in the Intellectual Property Office. Under the List of Goods, it reads Pale Ale. It was first used in an advert in the same year. It worked.

The logo appears in a Manet painting, and more than 40 Picasso drawings. James Joyce wrote about it in Ulysses. It distinguished Bass from other beers ‘many years before 1855’. The Guinness Harp, based on Ireland’s oldest surviving harp dating back to the 14th century, was registered not long after the Bass Triangle. It’s a better logo.

Why? There’s an emotional connection: it was designed to appeal to a renewed interest in Gaelic art and music, but also to appeal to homesick Irish workers in London. The harp is a symbol of their homeland. It tugged heartstrings as well as thirst. Other early labels are a nod to the city or country: Amstel’s lions are from Amsterdam’s crest, and Beck’s key is on Bremen’s coat of arms.

Others are symbolic: the chimerical creature of the kirin, appearing on Kirin Beer, is a harbinger of good luck. Some are even politely mocking: the goat on bottles of German bock comes from the accent of Bavarians, who apparently when asking for Einbeck, sounded like ‘ein Bock’ or ‘a Billy Goat’. Labels sell. But so does myth; everyone likes a good story. No matter how authentic the origins, however, having a good story is also Marketing 101.
Take another classic logo: the red star of Heineken. Even the brewery’s own historians haven’t unearthed a definitive answer, but a favourite is that it was a symbol of European brewers in the Middle Ages, ‘who believed it to have mystical powers to protect their brew’. Cool.

More modern breweries also look at myth and legend for inspiration. Beavertown’s cans tell a story of something, though I’m not entirely sure of what: Star Wars viewed through the prism of Futurama perhaps? Take a browse of Magic Rock cans.
There’s a story there, an intrigue that allows you to draw your conclusions.

Designs on Burning Sky and Cloudwater all invoke something other than mere brand recognition. Sierra Nevada has an imperial stout called Bigfoot while Great Divide’s is called Yeti.
By latching on to existing myths, a brewery can set out a stall of enticing curios of which the beer inside is just one of them.

Allegory and myth have carried the human story since man first traced a handprint on a cave wall in somewhere like France and said here I am. The fear in stories where Prometheus ends up chained to a rock or Oedipus descends to the underworld warns us mere humans, against moral failure or mortal danger. Except, that is, in beer. In beer it means one thing: drink me, I’m interesting.
You hope.

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First published in Issue 17 of Original Gravity. Click here to read Magic & Loss by Pete Brown and Ritual by Adrian Tierney-Jones here.  


Magic & Loss

MAGIC AND LOSS

If you go back far enough, magic, superstition, religion and science are all essentially the same: observing phenomena in the world and forming the best theory you can about why they happen. By Pete Brown

I know someone who once wore a pair of gloves to a football game and his team won, so he now wears the gloves to every game, even in summer. Even though his team often loses, he still believes the gloves play a part in their victories.

If you know nothing about the rotation of planets, or much else outside your local valley, and you sacrifice a goat in mid-December, it makes some kind of sense that you’d sacrifice a goat every December, and when the days start getting longer each time you do, it’s not unreasonable to conclude that your poor departed goat had something to do with it.

For thousands of years, we’ve observed fermentation happening and exercised some degree of apparent control over it. But we’ve known the truth of how it actually happens for less than 150 years. And let’s be honest: from a standing start, the notion that alcohol is created by invisible fungi eating sugar, pissing booze and farting CO2 sounds, if anything, less plausible than alcohol being a gift from the gods, or a function of magic.

Go back to the first appearances of the magical stave in myth and legend — the forerunners of Harry Potter’s wand or Gandalf’s staff — and it always appears as an instrument specifically of transformation. In ancient brewing cultures from Norway to Africa, a stick or staff was stirred through the wort to start brewing. In traditional South African villages, prayers are still said to the ancestors as the wand stirs. We now know that yeast cultures that have lain dormant in the wood since the last brew are introduced to the fresh wort by this practice and start the fermentation once again. Without microbiology, repeated practice and observation make it seems obvious that the waving of the magic wand is transforming grain and water into alcoholic beer.

In the middle ages beer was mostly brewed by women, known as brewsters, ale-wives or — sometimes — ale-witches. In surviving engravings, these ale-witches are pictured in tall, conical hats. When a brew was ready they would sometimes mount long poles or even broomsticks outside their doors to show that the beer was ready.

Wise women, accumulating the knowledge of the poisonous, healing and transformative powers of various plants and passing it on through generations, had knowledge that sat outside the patriarchal pyramid of the church. Monasteries gradually took control of brewing away from ale-witches who were eventually, inevitably, persecuted as evil.

Science was born as the conjoined twin of alchemy, with both conducting experiments to discover how the world worked, and magic — such as the transformation of lead into gold — not yet discounted. The foamy cap atop a fermentation vessel was known as ‘godisgoode’, a substance that seemingly appeared from nowhere to create beer.

But gradually science progressed, with chemistry disproving the spontaneous creation of matter in the 18th century, and biochemistry proving that microorganisms were responsible for both fermentation and beer spoilage in the late 19th. Finally, we understood the fundamentals of brewing. But as in many aspects of life, detailed, rational knowledge killed some of the magic around us.

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Pete Brown’s book, Miracle Brew, is out now. 

Illustrations by Sam Marsh @sam_marsh_illustration 

First published in Issue 17 of Original Gravity. Click here to read Ritual by Adrian Tierney-Jones and Brand, Myth and Magic by Daniel Neilson here.  


Q&A: Adam Matuška, head brewer, Pivovar Matuška

Q&A: ADAM MATUSKA, HEAD BREWER, PIVOVAR MATUSKA

On a beer journey to the Czech Republic, Adrian Tierney-Jones

I was a very bad student in elementary school…

…in everything, then when I was thinking about going to high school, my father, who has been a brewer all his life, said maybe you can try this chemistry degree as you learn a bit about brewing. I told him that I was bad at chemistry, but he taught me enough so that I was prepared for the exams. The course was four years, and the first two years it wasn’t about brewing, just chemistry and physics and bullshit and I played baseball.

Then I met Jamie Hawksworth…

…(founder of Pivovar pub company), who was visiting my father with the intention of learning how to brew Czech beer. The three of us went to a beer competition in České Budějovice and Jamie was a judge there. I was 16 I think and on the way back I told Jamie that I wanted to go to the UK and learn about brewing. He said that he had a small pub Pivni in York and I could come and work there.

I had no English and I had to learn it…

…but in this bar there were 20 beers on tap and hundreds in bottle. At that time in the Czech Republic there wasn’t anything like this, and it changed my thinking. Before that I had just thought about brewing beer, but now I wanted to brew an IPA and other styles. I was shown a new world of beer.

I have a motto in brewing…

…every beer that I brew you have to drink 1/2 litre of it, and then you have to be thirsty for another 1/2 litre, even if it is 9%, you don’t have to drink it but you would like to. This is my credo. The first time I said to my father I will try brewing an IPA beer he replied you have to sell it, he said that people need to drink it. I learnt everything from my father.

California is not a pale ale style…

…it is a highly drinkable beer style. I didn’t want to have it as a sipper, I wanted to develop an ale like Pilsner Urquell, with high drinkability. The thinking behind California was that we wanted to brew the beer like a typical Czech lager, very balanced.

When I brew a new beer…

…I always try and pair with food at one of my favourite restaurants Krystal (krystal-bistro.cz), which also sells four of my beers. The chef has the same thinking as me, new things within tradition. For instance, a Czech style goulash which is different. What I don’t want to do is mystify people, so with the beer Ella, which is a lager with the Australian hop Ella, I mix three things I love, my daughter Ella, the decoction style and the hop.

ATJ / pivovarmatuska.cz

Read Adrian’s Beer Traveller’s guide to Prague here (http://www.originalgravitymag.com/beer-travellers-prague/)


Read Issue 18 here for free

READ ISSUE 18 FOR FREE HERE

 The Light Issue

With those four words you will find yourself in a beer garden where the weather is warm and the sun beams down with all the benevolence of a kindly great-aunt; the beer in the glass in your hand will be cool and refreshing, glint like the golden crown of an ancient king who died beneath the mountain millennia ago.

We’ve gone for light as the theme of our latest issue, but you’ll be disappointed if you hunt for tributes towards lite beer or memories of light ale. Our light shines on different aspects of beer, with the intention of illumination, elucidation and, in the case of Katie Taylor’s debut piece for OG, celebrating the joys of drinking a cold crisp lager on a holiday beach actually a patio at home where the sun might be a bit unsure about emerging today).

Des De Moor is another writer making his debut for us. As well as being an award-winning beer writer, Des leads walking tours in search of the brewing heritage of London. We asked him why it was important to retrace the steps of London brewing and he’s shed light on the reasons (why not go on one of his walks to get the whole experience?). Mind you, not all light is good for beer as Pete Brown explains (clear glass bottles are the enemy of beer) in his usual masterful way.

We’ve also got stuff on Bamberg beer gardens, Sacramento (Brut IPA anyone?) and an essay that mentions glitter beer; there are the usual reviews and a Q&A with cult Franconian brewer Andreas Gänstaller. We hope you enjoy it, preferably in a well-lit beer garden with a non-lightstruck beer.

 

 

Adrian Tierney-Jones, Editor 


First Brighton & Hove Beer Week announced

FIRST BRIGHTON & HOVE BEER WEEK ANNOUNCED

Brighton & Hove is set to celebrate all things beer and brewing with the city’s first beer week from Friday 24th August to Sunday 2nd September 2018

More than twenty of the city’s beer venues – including The Evening Star, Brighton Beer Dispensary and The Watchmaker’s Arms – are coming together to offer a series of exciting events over the ten-day period. They’re pairing up with breweries both within the city – including Brighton Bier, Hand Brew Co. and Loud Shirt Brewing Co. – and throughout Sussex – such as Burning Sky, Harvey’s and UnBarred – to ensure the city is full to the brim of the freshest, tastiest beer. There will be no festival wristbands or lanyards, and no central beer tent: just a whole city full of great beer to explore and enjoy.

Brighton and Hove Beer Week’s founder and coordinator is award-winning beer writer and broadcaster, Emma Inch. She produces Fermentation – the UK’s only regular beer and brewing show on FM radio – for Brighton’s Radio Reverb, and has made the city her home for the past twenty-five years.

She said: “This event is about world-class beer served where it should be: in the pubs, bars, restaurants and bottle shops that bring it to you all year round. There’ll be tap takeovers, brewery open days, walking tours, a homebrew competition, tastings, exclusive brews, music, food, and some more quirky events that will demonstrate why drinking beer in Brighton & Hove is so different to drinking beer in any other city. We’ll be celebrating what makes us unique in terms of our heritage, our diversity, our ‘green credentials’ and everything else we have to offer as a one-of-a-kind city by the sea. It’s going to be quite a party!”

The venues involved are listed on the Brighton & Hove Beer Week website – www.brightonandhovebeerweek.com.

Events will be announced very soon.


Beer meets the devil

BEER MEETS THE DEVIL

Adrian Tierney-Jones travels to the dark side to taste the demon brews

The Devil has the best tunes, but does he also have the best beers? With Duvel (devil in Flemish), he certainly has one of the most exceptional Belgium beers to keep him company as he puts another hapless soul in the toaster. On the other hand you could argue that he is promiscuous in his drinking habits: if you go to Auerbachs Keller in Leipzig, you’ll see a dummy Dr Faustus sitting on a massive wine barrel. Whatever the truth, here are three beers with a sympathetic shine for the Devil (we’re only joking, he said, as he spotted a cloven hoof beneath the pub table).

/ Duvel Barrel-aged 2017 (Bourbon), 11.5%

Legends attach themselves to Belgian beer like barnacles to a sea-battered galleon and Duvel is no exception, apparently getting its name when a brewer exclaimed that it was the beer of the Devil on first tasting it. With this barrel-aged expression, firm and eloquent, the gates of Hell are well and truly opened (in the nicest possible way).

/ Unibroue Maudite, 8%

This potent Abbey-style beer with its panoply of spices, alcohol warmth and bittersweetness on both nose and palate is named after a Quebecois legend in which a bunch of lumberjacks, in their eagerness to get home in time for Christmas, made a deal with Lucifer, who then arranged for them to fly home in their canoes. Wonder what happened after Christmas?

/ Thornbridge Lukas, 4.2%

Lukas sounds like the sort of spooky name given to a small boy who is really the Devil in disguise, isn’t it? No? Ok, how about a gulp of this finely made Helles from Derbyshire instead — it’s as blonde as a sunlit smile, light and sparkling on the palate and an elegant and uplifting contrast to all this talk about supping with the Devil.