mga kwento at haka-haka ni kakang pepe

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Cheers to you St. Arnould!

If you ardently believe that an apple a day keeps a doctor away, hear this: two glasses of beer a day promises eternal life. At least that's what the Hoegaarden brewer from Brussel, the beer capital of the world, claims when visited by the thirsty traveller.

I've been drinking beer since time immemorial (in moderation that is) but only few days back that I come to know that Brussel is the place to go if you're goddamned crazy about the beverage. Beer is literally the air that they breath in this face of the earth. Yeast is in the air and can be added to the beer by simply exposing the brew to the atmosphere. I wonder how it affects feminine hygiene?

The place boasts of 80 (brands or types?...I'm simply can't recall)! No other country, even those with far more breweries, has among its native styles of beer such diversity, individuality, idiosyncrasy and colour. Nor does any other country present beers so beautifully. Belgian brewers often use wired and corked Champagne bottles, and serve each beer in its own shape of glass, ranging from flutes to snifters and chalices. It is something of a Belgian speciality to bottle beers with a sediment of live yeast, so that they can be laid down to mature. This technique is usually indicated on the label by the phrase "re-fermented in the bottle".

They even have a patron saint for brewers, Saint Arnould. He was Bishop of Metz, a neighbouring place. During a cholera outbreak, he suggested drinking beer instead of water, preventing further spreading of the disease. St-Arnould's day is July 18. Remember to tip your mug to him on that day!

I remember working in Pinas where the ability to drink seems to be a requisite, at least for the company that I worked for. We had this chauvinistic, silly toast to liven up the crowd, especially when most were tipsy. Most often than not, bottoms up follows.

To the wound that never heals!