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keeping an eye on the tree and the forest

Dave's Exegesis is my eclectic site of exegesis on pretty much everything I can think of, whether biblical studies, theology, music, movies, culture, food, drink, sports, or the internet.

The Gospel of the Beautiful God

04.25.06

Evangelicals must cease to think of the Bible as an inspired book of virtues. It is not primarily a God-breathed manual for piloting our way through life successfully. Rather, it is a book that is concerned to make known the plight of humanity and the purpose of God to save humanity through His Son. Jesus Christ is promised within the earliest pages of the Bible. The middle of the Bible provides a historical account of His coming and accomplishments. At the end of the Bible Jesus Christ is set forth as the glorious object of worship for all the created order throughout eternity. To be sure, these are the great and mighty pillars upon which the whole of revelation rests. It must be recognized with equal verve, however, that every portion of sacred scripture reinforces this redemptive superstructure. The Bible is a record of the redemption of the people of God by His Son, Jesus Christ.

Arturo Azurdia, Spirit-Empowered Preaching

Mysteries of Guiness Revealed

04.19.06

Here is a recent article I saw at BeerAdvocate.com that I thought was interesting.Article by email The Alström BrosChampion of Beer in The Halls of Beerdom w/ 6045.8 Beer Karma points / 04-11-2006

When most people think of Guinness, they think of that dark stuff with the creamy smooth head that takes ages to pour. But Guinness is serious big business. Operating breweries around the world, it sells 10 million pints in more than 150 countries daily. Due to its size and its affiliation with parent company Diageo – a massive international conglomerate – it has been the subject of much debate among beer geeks over the years.

Politics aside, we’ve always been Guinness fans. So when we heard that Fergal Murray, one of the company’s head brewmasters, was in town for a promotional pub crawl, we just had to tag along. Our goal: to debunk some of the rumors and unravel some of the mysteries of the Guinness brand, while enjoying a pint or two along the way.

Brewing Process
Guinness Draft. Mysterious, ain't it?Murray explained that the recipe for Guinness has undergone only minor adjustments over the years. Every keg of Guinness Draught imported to the US comes from St. James’s Gate in Dublin (though Guinness Extra Stout is made in Canada). It contains water, malt, roasted barley, hops and yeast – and that’s it. Like many major labels, Guinness relies on “high-gravity brewing,” which involves large batches of wort (unfermented beer) high in fermentable sugars (note to beer geeks: the goal is a final gravity of 1072). Eventually these are watered down to attain a 4.2 percent ABV (alcohol by volume). The brewers also blend batches to aid in consistency, and the beer is pasteurized.

What Guinness wouldn’t confirm or deny is the rumor that a portion of each batch is aged in very old oak tuns populated with Brettanomyces and lactic acid bacteria to lend Guinness its characteristic touch of sourness. Supposedly, it’s then pasteurized and blended into the remainder of the batch.

As for the hops, the vast majority hail from the US, with some European hops to round things out. The brewers look for high levels of alpha acids (these are the source of hops’ bitterness) in order to get more “bang for their buck,” as Murray put it.

And then there’s Guinness Essence, a key ingredient in the beer brewed outside of James’s Gate. Basically Guinness without the alcohol, Guinness Essence is shipped from Dublin to Guinness breweries and contractors around the world, where it’s added to a base beer brewed locally. The entire process is conducted according to strict guidelines; according to Murray, it lends a “touch of Dublin” to every batch, regardless of place of origin.

Color
Guinness Brewmaster, Fergal Murry, enjoy a pint of the black suff.A lot of Guinness lovers swear the beer’s color has recently changed from black to ruby red. Murray insisted otherwise; rather, only certain types of glassware (like the company’s own narrow-bottomed vessels), he said, truly showcase the beer’s ruby hue.

Heaviness
It’s commonly believed that dark beer is heavy beer. Guinness’s super-creamy head only adds to its rep for richness. (The head is the result of a special gas blend of around 60 percent nitrogen to 40 percent carbon dioxide; cans and bottles of Guinness include a specially designed widget that disperses a nitrogen blend.) But Guinness has only 125 calories and 10 carbs per 12-ounce serving – fewer than pale-yellow Budweiser.

Serving
According to Murray, Guinness should be served at 42 degrees Fahrenheit in the glass. If it’s any warmer, unwanted flavors might emerge; any colder, and desirable flavors might be lost on a numb palate. What about Guinness Extra Cold, you ask? It’s actually only 1 degree colder; the label is mostly a marketing ploy aimed at consumers who balk at the thought of “warm beer.”

Foreign Extra Stout (FES)
Beer lovers are constantly asking: “Why can’t I get Foreign Extra Stout in the US?” FES being the much loved 7.5 percent version of Guinness found in Asia, Africa and the Caribbean. Murray noted that it doesn’t make any business sense, and that Guinness runs through some big distributors nationwide. Most are old-school and not in the biz of dealing with specialty brands. They’d most likely not put any effort into selling it, not know what to do with it, and not want to focus on anything that might cut into their Guinness Draught cash cow. As much as we’d love to see it in the US, we’d have to agree. It’d be a damn shame to introduce this beer to the US and have it rot on the shelves.

So there you have it. Next time you enjoy a pint of Guinness, you’ll do so with a bit more knowledge.

Give Me Your Feedback

04.13.06

As you may have noticed, I haven’t updated for about a week and a half. This is because I have been working during my spare time on a new website for our church. I have put it on blogger for viewing purposes at www.kingofgracechurch.blogspot.com. Please let me know what you think, I welcome and appreciate your feedback. I am not a professional web designer, nor have I ever taken a class in this, but have benefited from sites like HTML Goodies and found a good template at Thur’s Templates. Our church’s current site is kingofgrace.org, so take a look and see the difference. My pastor has given me the OK to run with this kind of thing, so your ideas are important. Thanks.

Of God and Beer: John Piper and Jim Koch, Strange Bedfellows

04.03.06

Awhile back, I had the opportunity to go to the Publick House in Brookline with Dr. James; I think it was January 24th. The reason we went is because Beer Advocate was sponsoring a night with Jim Koch (=”cook”), the founder of Samuel Adams (Boston Beer Company) to present Four Beers, Four Courses. It was really a time for Jim to talk about how good beer should be paired with good food. So as we were served each beer with each course of the meal, he would exegete the beer and talk about its placement with the food. What struck me while watching him and listening to him was his spirit sounded eerily familiar too me; not just because I’ve seen him on TV. Then it struck me: Jim Koch is the John Piper of beer. Hear are two guys advocating the same thing (namely, depth/passion) for two different things (namely, Beer and God). How seldom it is to see two of the same type of person going parallel to each to different ends? You tell me what you think.Here’s a blurb from Tim Ellsworth’s article back in 1999 about Piper in “The Tie,” a magazine of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, entitled, “John Piper: God’s Glory His Passion“:While writing a book on Romans 9 during a sabbatical while professor at Bethel College in St. Paul, Minn., Piper heard a clear word from the Lord.”The God of Romans 9 seemed to be saying to me, ‘I will be heralded and not just analyzed. I will be proclaimed and not just explained,'” Piper said.The rest, as they say, is history. Piper left the academic field and became pastor of Bethlehem Baptist Church in Minneapolis, Minn., where he’s been for almost 20 years. It’s in that position Piper has become one of the most popular and respected preachers and authors around. Books to his credit include such titles as Desiring God, God’s Passion for His Glory, The Supremacy of God in Preaching and many others. World magazine recently listed his The Pleasures of God as one of the century’s top 100 books.Just from reading the titles of his books, it’s easy to see how God-centered Piper’s ministry is. But where does that emphasis come from?”Theologically it comes from the insight that God is God-centered,” Piper said in an interview with The Tie during his recent visit to Southern Seminary. “God exists in order to display God, in order to make God known for the enjoyment of His people. So, the ultimate purpose of my existence and your existence and this seminary’s existence is to know God and delight in God and thus display God.

Here is a blurb of an article done back in 2001 by Jamie Allen of CNN, “Samuel Adams Brewer Jim Koch: Beer Career” under the heading, “A passion for beer”:

Koch took the roundabout way to entrepreneurial success. After graduating cum laude in 1971from Harvard College with a degree in government, he worked for Outward Bound for three years. He later went back to Harvard, earning a JD from the law school and an MBA from the business school.

After spending six years consulting business leaders on how to profit, Koch decided to start his own company.

He’s known for running Sam Adams with a laid-back, hands-on style, visiting face-to-face with employees out in the field. Though he holds a number of titles with his company, his business card reads the same as it did when he first started more than 16 years ago: Jim Koch, Brewer.

To be a successful brewer, Koch says, you need talents that aren’t taught at Harvard. You must have beer-making in your blood.

“You’ve got to have passion for beer, a good palette, you’ve got to be able to blend the science of beer with the art of what makes a great beer,” he says.

In those working hours, Koch’s love of beer is tested, or rather he tests it. He receives a bottle from every batch of Sam Adams, which he tastes.

All told, Koch says he sips from four to six beers a day, and he’ll drink “two or three more for pleasure.”

Just look at the parallels, I mean two guys have fathers in the “business” that they eventually take on, they set off to have “successful” careers and they both leave them behind to pursue their greater passion. Both of them are spoken of warmly by their peers, and although they are both very popular in their circles, both have very little of their respective “market shares” in a national perspective (Jim said that Sam Adams has about a .5 percent of the market in the US, while Piper didn’t even make Time’s top 25 most influential evangelicals). You can go into any restaurant chain in the country and get Sam Adams on tap, just like you can go into any Barnes & Noble in the country and find a few Piper books on the shelf. It is interesting that these two quality “works” are overlooked time and again for things “less heavy”! Oh that we would pursue depth in our beer and our God!

Above you see both of these guys doing what they do best: preaching their respective Gospels.