No fine and fancy ramble through the cloisters of French Churchdom would be complete without a large tip o’ the glass to “The Booze Brothers. ” Those monks who praise the Holy Spirit by brewin’ up a batch of spirits. “Bros ‘n Booze” is a tradition as old as monkdom itself. Plus,it’s only logical. Men, perhaps some even manly men, living in the company of other men, with no Women, no beer, no Monday night football. How better to do manly things in a manly way than to brew up a little somethin’?
The Spirited Lowdown
Although most monks are brewmiesters, the most celebrated liquid “Holy Spirits” are two French Church creations – Benedictine and Chartruese. Both share the same basic m.o. Secret recipie. Combo of herbs,plants,leaves honey,sugar,alcohol,old sandals, etc. Starts out as a “medicinal”beverage. Recipie lost in the mists of time. Then, miracle of miracles, Rediscovered.! Big money builds a big brewery. Hotch is still produced by monks from the original recipie. But, bowing(in a Holy way, bien sur) to the demands of the secular world, the booze bros produce “wimped down” versions of the original. Allowing them to buy more candles, new sandals, and generally “OM” away their non-brew moments.
Six Holy Spirits
Benedictine hits yer glass at 80 proof.(40% alcohol) There is also, as you may know a “B n’ B” – Benedictine and Brandy. And ever attuned to the Holy art of marketing – a “Café Bendictine.”
Chartruese gives ya three kicks at the can. Green Chartreuse – 100 proof.(55% alcohol) Yellow Chartruese – 80 proof.(140% alcohol) And their top o’ the line, fancy, smancy, you-pay-thru-the-ying-yang V.E.P Aged longer. Wax seal. Prettier bottle. Optional gold embossed dedication? Probably.
A Carnival of Marvels
There are four marvels that smack me alongside the head each time I’m in a French Church . First, the architecture. An amazing amalgam of influences. English. Italian. Arabic. Further refined by the tastes of the Kings,Popes,and religious visionaries who were signing the checks.
Second, after our sheer, vast, and often enormous mentality of “must decorate/must decorate/must decorate” every possible inch – to enter a dimension”full of emptiness” is a HUGE breath of fresh, very relaxing air.
Third, I’m gobsmacked(and who would not be?) by the organization,dedication and patience needed for centuries of construction. Like Rome, French Churches were not built in a day.
Fourth, that all this dedication,organization and patience, not to mention awe, respect, wonder and reverence to the nth degree was lavished on the construction of momuments to an unseen “Supreme Being.” An invisible diety who has never once, in 4000 plus years done even a cameo for his assembled multitude.
Part Four – Next Time
THROW ME A BONE HERE, PEOPLE!
What are ya thinkin’?