Tag Archives: God

#169 – Lucifer (pre 2008)

#169 - Lucifer

Size: 750 ml

ABV: 8.5 %

There is almost a frightening symbolism to the fate of the beer Lucifer. Here was a strong golden ale which stood proud and strong in the pantheon of beers, and yet following the bankruptcy of the Riva brewery it found itself cast down into Purgatory.

Lucifer, as the beer label of the pre-2008 beer will attest, is a name nowadays widely used to describe the devil himself. Interestingly however this particular reference is never used in the Bible. In fact according to the Old Testament, Lucifer refers to the latin term lucern ferre meaning ‘light bearer’, referring to the rising of the Morning Star (the planet Venus).Throughout religious antiquities, stars have often been commonly regarded as living celestial beings, and it has commonly been believed that shooting stars are in fact fallen angels. One such famous fallen angel from Apocalyptic literature is Lucifer.

Lucifer was though not just any old angel – he was the favourite archangel of God, only second in command after his own son Jesus Christ. His light which shone more brightly than all the others reflected his perfect form and powerful intellect. So the story goes that he began to seriously believe in his own hype and became intensely jealous of God’s son, believing that it should be he, and only he, at God’s side. He began to appeal to the other Angels who he promised he could offer a better life, not only as replacement as God’s deputy, but inevitably as God himself. The Angels of Heaven watched on in horror as Lucifer managed to stir up a rebellion against God, who sat passively with his security blanket of omnipotence watching the malevolence play out.

Thus it was that Lucifer, the light-bearer and sharer of God’s glory became Satan, God’s adversary. The battle of good and evil began to play out, and once satisfied that Lucifer could not be saved, God inevitably expelled him and his rioting angels from Heaven. Lucifer had been cast off and forced to seek his revenge on mankind. The same of course was true for the beer. When Riva could no longer afford to pay the bills, Duvel Moortgat came in to offer a lifeline, although inevitably opted to give more attention to the fruit beers inherited from Riva. The beer deserved better, and eventually an agreement was made with het Anker to re-launch and re-brand the beer. Lucifer, the fallen Angel was given another chance at redemption. God’s work is seemingly playing out in the kettles and tuns of East Flanders.

I managed to get my hands on a 750 ml bottle of the original pre-2008 Lucifer. It was a strong golden ale, very much of course in the image of Duvel (#34) and Judas (#5), particularly fruity, but somehow lacking in the depth of the former and ending up more in similarity with the less impressive latter. It was not quite as good as I remember it had been in older days, but I had taken my Belgian beer drinking much more seriously since then. I will be keen to try the new reformed Lucifer just to see if the light truly has returned to this famous beer.

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Filed under 6, Belgian Strong Ale, Riva (defunct)

#141 – Silly La Divine

 

#141 - Silly La Divine

 

Size: 330 ml

ABV: 9.5 %

This beer has been going for quite a while, and is one of the flagship beers from the Silly brewery. It has survived a number of label changes, ending up with a rather small innocuous woodland chapel championing its marketing.

La Divine, most simply means sacred, or devoted to god, and it got me thinking about how apt the word devotion is when it comes to beer. Almost certainly the most peaceful and sacred place in my home is the cupboard which serves as my cellar, and which only in the past year has replaced my floordrobe. There aren’t many nights when I don’t stare inwards with my torch and mutter reverences at the dusty bottles. I decided to do some digging into the internets darker niches and feel I have every justification now for assigning my hoard a ‘shrine’ status, although bearing in mind that beer has been around for donkeys years, it shouldn’t really be surprising that many cultures around the world have a nominated God or deity dedicated to beer or brewing.

Dionysus is probably the most well known, the son of Zeus and Greek God of wine and beer. He was often known as the liberator due to the intoxicating power of the alcoholic drinks he would put away. In Ancient Sumeria, the Goddess of beer and brewing was Ninkasi, who was said to have provided the world with the secret to making beer. I wouldn’t argue with this one (#1), although the Egyptians might. They strongly believe that Osiris taught the world how to brew the potent beverage made with barley. The Norse people were never shy of a drink or two, and although Aegir is known primarily for being the God of the Sea, they also swear blind he is the chief God of beer also.

The Aztecs claim it was Tezcatzontecatl, the Zulus are adamant it was Mbaba Mwana Waresa, and in many African cultures, it is Yasigi who is revered. It is hard to argue with this when you consider her statue represents a large breasted female clinging to a beer ladle. The Czechs worship Radegast as the God of hospitality who created the first beer, and if you are ever in Latvia, you are lucky enough to have Raugupatis and Ragutiene – two lovers who look after the late night drinkers there.

Whatever you end up believing in, have a couple of Silly La Divines, and you probably wont care too much anymore. This is a truly delicious beer. Every now and then from the depths of nothing you find a gem that nobody else raves about but that really does it for you. The Silly La Divine makes drinking 1000 different beers all the more worthwhile. It was thick, strong and full of a sweetness that I have rarely found since Boskeun (#82). I have since bought many bottles of this, and although they have never been quite as sublime as that original taste, they have rarely let me down. Amen.

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Filed under 9, Belgian Strong Ale, Silly

#112 – Hellekapelle

#112 - Hellekapelle

Size: 330 ml

ABV: 5 %

Hellekapelle translates into English as Hells Chapel, and the theme is well illustrated on the label – the design showing a witch on a broomstrick with her cat, flying over a graveyard and the aforementioned Chapel of Hell. Most beers from the De Bie brewery have this kind of Halloween theme, but also Hellekapelle is the name of a bar that belongs to the De Bie brewery.

One has to go back a few years though to recall the original Hellekapelle café run by De Bie which had a remarkable reputation for the macabre. The café got its name from the old phrase ‘Where God builds a church, the Devil builds a chapel’, whereby in olden times the church seriously saw cafes serving alcohol as deplorable covens of wickedness. Rather aptly, De Bie constructed a ramshackle chapel into a homely place to serve beer and good local food, and it became something of a haunt (excuse the pun) for locals and travellers alike. The interior décor was tacklessly festooned with any Halloween themed paraphernalia however the atmosphere remained. Sadly the café in Watou was closed in October in 2006, however De Bie have tried to keep the tradition alive with the new bar in Waregem.

Sadly I would never make it to the famous Hellekapelle but of course I did get an opportunity to dip my hand into the cauldron and try the beer. You would expect a beer of this name to be dark and menacing, but it was ironically a refreshing flowery blonde, which was great on its own, but did not really complement the meal I drunk it with. It was extremely pale in colour and even thinner on the tongue but somehow remained flavoursome to the end. I reckon this would make a nice session beer on a summers afternoon. I was ready try the next satanic offering from De Bie right up next (#113).

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Filed under 6, Belgian Ale, Cat, De Bie