If theologians were beers

If theologians were beers

Lovers of theology and beer will approve of Jason L’s blog post relating famous theologians to famous beers and ales.

Guinness is an acquired taste which I haven’t acquired — but only, I’m sure, because I’ve never really tried. I’m much more familiar with Thomas Aquinas, and after reading this, I think I’ll reacquaint myself with the beer some time soon:

Since Guinness is the greatest beer the world over and is unquestioned in its championship of flavorful orthodoxy, that it rightly stands as the representative of the Catholic Church’s Doctor par excellence.

High praise indeed!

I’m also familiar with India Pale Ale, which I sampled only last year. I have no dispute with Jason’s matching of IPA with Tertullian. Both beer and theologian are good to start with, but they don’t end well. Tertullian is “the Father of Latin theology” and the oldest extant writer to use the term Trinity, but towards the end of his life he joined a heretical movement and died outside the Church. As for IPA, on the one occasion I’ve tried it, I was unwilling to drink more than half a glass, and tipped the rest down the sink before happily graduating to the ever-reliable VB.

No Australian beer makes Jason’s list, but perhaps that is as it should be. I’ve heard it said that Australia has failed to produce world-class theologians because the view at Manly is too beautiful, and it distracted seminarians from study.

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The barrier between Australia and world-class theology?
(I don’t, of course, endorse the Sydney-centric implications!)


A reader of this blog — a connoisseur of beer and theology — had identified an Australian match!

You can read the rationale in the comments below. I wish I’d thought of it. But perhaps only an avowed fan of Foster’s Lager could.

H/T Joel.

  • Joel

    Tracey Rowland might be a Fosters Lager. Better received and appreciated by those overseas.

  • Jack Blanch

    Rather than the view at Manly to be blamed, I think you touched on it when you said you went from the very respectable Indian Pale Ale to VB. That’s what’s wrong with Australia.

    If VB were a theologian, it would be… I don’t know, I can’t think of a theologian that bad. Me. If VB were a theologian it would be me.

    Now Coopers Pale Ale on the other hand…

    • I’m edified by your humility Jack, but appalled by your parochialism. Cooper’s Pale Ale is a fine beer, but only a South Australian would nominate Cooper’s over Cascade or Boag’s when searching for an alternative to the best from Carlton-United!

    • Joel

      The problem with Australia is not that they don’t drink VB, but what they’re giving it up for. If a bloke put down a Vic to grab a Melbourne or XXXX Bitter, or a Swan Lager or a West End Draught I’d have no problem. It’s that they’re drinking Organic Wheat Low Carb Amber Fruity Sparkling Hand Crafted cat’s piss instead. You know Jack, the stuff you and your mates pay $15 a pint for somewhere in North Adelaide.

      I’ll be honest, haven’t had a Foster’s in a while Father. I’ll give it another run I think. I’ve become a tad disenchanted with the Great Green Label continuing to reduce their alcohol content, which is now 4.6%, down from the original 4.9. I maintain that it’s less bitter and is lighter on the malt – in short, tastes like a watered down version of what it once was. I’ve noted that both Foster’s and Crown Lager are still at around their original 5%. I plan on rewarding that integrity. Cheers!

      • MuMu

        Go on, Joel. Give in to Guinness. You can live on the stuff. It is stately, royal, rich and beautifully melancholy. St Thomas indeed.
        Out to dine, Guinness is all you need apart from the main course. It is its own aperitif and entree as well and you can forget dessert. Food is the accompaniment to this serious ale.
        A word of caution: Guinness is a serious tipple; never to be abused. Best sipped over religious discussions.

      • MuMu, I love your descriptions here! Although, some of us poor sinners (i.e. myself) have been known to have a bit too much of the Guinness… :*)

      • MuMu

        Jason, your post was gold, especially for your brilliant appreciation of Guinness, which is in a class of its own.

      • Jack

        VB = Cheap and therefore good? Cheap like your cracks at South Aussie’s hey Joel?
        Incidentally, I did order an $11 pint of said micro-brewed garbage on Tuesday when Sam was shouting me a round…

      • Joel

        Sammy…ha ha. Gold!

  • Florence

    Fr John, I tasted Guinness Stout many years ago when I travelled to England. I do agree it has a taste of its own – really bitter. I also do agree that it is good for one’s health. Well, I just tasted – I did not drink Guinness Stout because it was so bitter.

  • Hello Fr. John, thank you for your great comments on my post…I really am considering doing a follow-up on it. I didn’t know so many would enjoy it!
    I have a list so far for a “second round”, as it were, that includes St. Bernard of Clairvaux, Origen, and even Hans Kung…

    God bless you. Pax+
    Jason @ Ascending Mount Carmel

  • johnny

    “Organic Wheat Low Carb Amber Fruity Sparkling Hand Crafted cat’s piss”

    gee that’s funny!!

    If Sth Austn’s are proof that Tasmanian’s can swim then I have to pay credit Jack that the Cascade Stout I had tonight was top notch, top shelf, A grade, thanking you, quality.

    Though I am one of the disillusioned who have seen VB watered down over the years, I love Coopers, particularly coz it’s preservative free, ie good the next morn, but I simply cannot respect any man, woman or child who rejects or gives the slightest condescension to a VB for two reasons:
    1. By their own arguments, ie ‘vomit bomb, too strong, like XXXX bitter or West End’, it’s too bitter. Harden up, it’s beer, beer is supposed to be bitter, if they drank enough of it they would acquire the taste like their father and their grandfather said they should acquire and now are ashamed of them for not having acquired.
    2. They think they’re of a higher class to like this beer. This is ironic and self defeating if you are not Victorian. However, even if you are, in convo I naturally would take that person as an intriguing sociological experiment regrading their own self-image.

  • Mishel

    The long awaited “Part 2” of Theologians and Beer


    Particularly amusing is the Rahner Beer.. does not seem enticing at all… is there any appeal???

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