You’ve likely seen, in recent years, reports of the growing craft beer movement in the US having a tremendous impact on local economies. Small brewers are creating hubs of activity spurring economic growth, but on the other side of the world, beer is literally building cities. Or, should I say rebuilding.
Norcia, located in the Italian province of Umbria, was the birthplace of the patron saint of Europe, Saint Benedict. It is also home to an order of Benedictine monks, most of which were born in the United States.
Opinion: Pumpkin Beer Sucks
The Italian earthquakes of 2016 left much of Norcia in ruins, and the monks retreated into the mountains. They lived in tents while they rebuilt their monastery, complete with wooden church. But these aren’t ordinary monks. In fact, a CD of their Marian chants debuted at number one on Billboard’s classical chart, staying there for 56 weeks.
But one of the many traditional, though not as commonly maintained activities of monks is preserved by this order. The tradition of brewing beer.
Prior to the earthquakes, the monks sold as many as 30,000 bottles a month and even exported their brew, Nursia, to the US. In recent months, the monks have sold off bottles that survived the earthquake, branded with an image of a damaged rose window of the bascilica. A portion of the proceeds are being donated to those in Norcia rebuilding their homes.
Much More than a 12 Ounce Curl
How many beers can you carry at once? Three or four? If you’re sporting a rack of natties, 30 on a technicality? Well German tax inspector Oliver Strumpfel almost certainly has you beat.
He recently set a world record for carrying 29 tankards of beer weighing 70kg (154lb) a distance of 40 meters (43.74 yards). He very nearly carried 31, unfortunately dropping a tankard near the end and losing more than 10% of the contents of another – a big no-no in competitive beer tankard carrying.
Strumpfel is no stranger in the record book, having set the record at 21 tankards of beer in 2010, and then beating his own record by carrying 25 in 2014.
What’s more American than watching sports and drinking beer? Well, if you attend the sporting event at a stadium, more often than not you need to remortgage your home for a cup of suds. For fans of the Fresno State Bulldogs football team, this is a “luxury” that they’ve only recently re-acquired.
California State institutions stopped selling beer in 2006, after a system wide mandate that was overturned on June 30 of this year. The new position allows each member institution to make its own decisions regarding the sale of alcohol at athletic events.
The Fresno State model is serving alcohol for a good cause. Each of the stadium’s beer stands are manned by employees of a local non-profit. A percentage of sales made at the non-profits’ respective stands is donated to their cause. At one stand surveyed, just over 1,000 beers were sold at $8 a piece. While the percentage that will be donated is not public knowledge, suffice to say that the money will be of benefit to the local groups.
So There You Have It
Thanks for stopping by and reading. If you’ve enjoyed this article, feel free to leave me a comment below. You can also connect with me on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and Twitter. Be sure to check back regularly, as I post content multiple times a week. Until next time, cheers!