Heretics and Their Beers: I

Tony Sig

“For the time will come when they will not endure soundly crafted beer; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves imitations, having itching mouths;
And they shall turn away their tongues from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables, light beers and illusions.”

Every generation it seems needs an Athanasius.  Not least in these evil times.  There are a great many false beers about, deceiving the faithful and keeping them from coming into his glorious light, which is not light in that evil sense, but rather the Truth in golden, red, brown or black.  The problem with heresy, like the beers that heretics drink, is that often times there is a significant overlap with true orthodoxy.  But all it takes is a turn to the left or the right and fire will be their destination, for their god is their belly.

But fear not.  We Theophiliacs are a Voice calling in the Wilderness.  Behold, the axe is at the foot of the 12 pack, and any malted beverage that does not show good fruit will be chopped down.  If you drink any of these beers, Repent!  For the kingdom of God is at hand!

Arius was by some accounts, a bit of a conservative.  Having the support of large swaths of the Church at various points it has been written that this falling away from the catholic doctrine was so pervasive that there was a time about which St. Jerome would say,”the Church awoke to discover that it had become Arian.”

Similarly, Newcastle Brown Ale has assumed such a wide audience that it is difficult not to find it at any moderately reputable bar and liquor store.  One the surface of it, Newcastle does not appear a heretical beer.  “How can a beer this brown be heretical?  Surely all damnable beers are light?”  But it is not so.  The brown color is a veil, underneath which is a pasteurized and negligibly mediocre beer.  It has no complexity, no nuance, no identifiable traits to set it apart from other beers in this category.  This is of course the allure of heresy, it is always clothed with reference to the true and good.

Be not deceived!  Look for these other Brown Ales and be reconciled with the Church.



  1. Arni,

    I can’t guarantee that we’ll get to Mr. Osteen but you’re absolutely right.


    Indeed their Nut Brown is quite good. It’s also expensive though and comparatively priced I though I’d just go with the three.


  2. I’ve never been a huge fan of brown ales, but perhaps I’m just trying the wrong ones. I skipped over the brown ale that our local brewery makes to get a pale ale yesterday… maybe I should have given it a shot.


  3. Browns are by no means my favorite either. They have to work quite hard to impress me and are rarely my first choice. But Newcastle was perfect as an illustration of my point so I went with Browns. Definitely give the local Brown a try at least. Even if you don’t like it you’ll be supporting the locals.


  4. Beer Blessing

    Bene dic, Domine, creaturam istam cerevisae, quam ex adipe frumenti producere dignatus es: ut sit remedium salutare humano generi: et praesta per invocationem nominis tui sancti, ut, quicumque ex ea biberint, sanitatem corporis, et animae tutelam percipiant. Per Christum Dominum nostrum. Amen

    Bless, O Lord, this creature beer, that Thou hast been pleased to bring forth from the sweetness of the grain: that it might be a salutary remedy for the human race: and grant by the invocation of Thy holy name, that, whosoever drinks of it may obtain health of body and a sure safeguard for the soul. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.


  5. Tony, I’ve had Newcastle in the States and it is indeed bland and largely unappetising. I very much agree that it purports to be something it is not. However, much like Guiness is (supposedly, I’ve never been) far superior in Dublin, I can assure you that Newcastle Brown Ale is actually much better in Britain. I’m not sure why this is. Perhaps there is something about the export process which knocks it off by the time it gets to the States. I don’t know. But the Newcastle you get in the States is crap, while the Newcastle we have over here is, well, pretty good (not great, I admit, but pretty good).


  6. Simon,

    Obviously I have no idea about that having not been of the drinking age when I visited Scotland and England. Whatever the case, as already mentioned Samuel Smith makes a great brown which must surely still render Newcastle less than adequate?


  7. Heretics indeed. Our liberationist friends remind us that theology cannot be seperated from its local context. Therefore, tell us about your local options for beer. As a Atlanta boy, in exile, I go for Sweetwater 420 almost everytime.


  8. If you’re in the western suburbs of Chicago, Two Brothers is worth checking into. Their Cain & Ebel red rye ale is probably my favorite.

    There is not one heretic among their bottles.


  9. It is a wonderful blessing, indeed.

    If you are in the southwest you can have Santa Fe Nut Brown, which is decent, but I much prefer the State Pen Porter from Santa Fe Brewing Co. Alas, it is true that good Brown ales are hard to find, I will admit, however, that when pickings are slim, I will take a Newcastle over say Michelob Amberbock, or Dos Equis Amber.


  10. As a student my bedroom overlooked the Newky Brown brewery. When I then moved to Gateshead it did also…strange that! Not my favourite ale I must confess. 🙂


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