Beer Advent Day 15: Keller Pils


Brewery:  Summit Brewing Co.

Location:  St. Paul, MN

Style:  Pilsener  ABV: 5.1%

Contributed By:  Mat Reimer  (Thanks Mat!)

Summit Brewing was founded in 1986 to rediscover the traditional brewing methods behind the great handcrafted beers that once flowed throughout the Midwest.  It was named ‘Summit Brewing’ after St. Paul’s legendary Summit Avenue.  Summit Avenue makes its boast as the largest stretch of Victorian houses in the United States where most of these near-mansions are single family homes.

Summit Brewing Co. is celebrated their 30th anniversary earlier this year and to celebrate 30 years, they brewed three special beers: English-Style Barley Wine, Double IPA, and the Keller Pils that you will enjoy tonight. These beers exemplify the spirit of Summit: grounded in tradition and quality, but always looking forward with innovation and modern technology.

Cheers to this unfiltered German Pils from our neighbors to the Northwest!

Advent Reflection: Luke 1: 46-55  The Magnificat – Mary’s Song
And Mary said “My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has looked on the humble estate of his servant. For behold, from now on all generations will call me blessed; for he who is mighty has done great things for me, and holy is his name. And his mercy is for those who fear him from generation to generation. He has shown strength with his arm; he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts; he has brought down the mighty from their thrones and exalted those of humble estate; he has filled the hungry with good things, and the rich he has sent away empty. He has helped his servant Israel, in remembrance of his mercy, as he spoke to our fathers, to Abraham and to his offspring forever.”


Humility was a vice in Ancient Greco-Roman culture. It is also a vice to modern Enlightenment thinkers. Seeking humility is truly a “scandalon” or scandal. It is an offense, a literal stumbling block. It brings you low to the “humus” or soil of the earth.

But Jewish thought, and as a result Christian thought, prized humility as a character virtue. Beautiful and good for its own sake, it also moves a person toward others and finds social good for the sake of finding shalom or eudaimonia as individuals in community.

Humility is fundamentally recursive and self-regarding, but also fundamentally relational and others-regarding. Humility, I think, is a state of low-self concern matched with an ownership of limitation and finitude. It moves us toward solidarity with those “beneath us,” reflecting our utterly dependent and socially embedded nature.

But it is most definitely a stumbling block. We love to praise humility, but we hate to seek it.

Mary’s humility is especially scandalous for us power-hungry Western Christians.

We’ve been living life upside-down. We’ve sought power, influence, honor, strength, government office, employee of the month, homecoming king, productivity, likes, retweets. But life at the top is lonely. We’re baffled when our formulas fail. We’re shocked when greatness doesn’t feel so great. We still wonder—stupefied—why life doesn’t seem to work.

And so the magnifying (making great) eschatological vision spoken by the Mother of God should come as the pain of failure to the contemporary American church. If it is offensive, it is because we are upside-down and she is right-side-up. And like the Mother she is, she has words and example to guide us.

The question is, Will you and I follow Mary’s vision of greatness?

And another question is, Where do you think Jesus learned that the first shall be last and the greatest are servants and exaltation comes through humility? (Matthew 23:11-12)

Mary the Mother of Jesus is a 14-year-old middle-eastern girl, about to become a political refugee, shameful to her family and her betrothed, the kind of person that “gets put away quietly.” We would ignore her, at best. Maybe we would do much worse.

It is this despised and oppressed body that becomes pregnant—very full indeed—with God. The Logos enters the Chaos through her. Word made flesh burrowing and borrowing and plunging into her womb, as Rilke said. It was Mary’s flesh offered to Christ’s. Those pluripotent cells reduplicated, feeding off her humble body. The morning sickness, the aching lower back, the blood and waters of delivery. Radical particularity. Radically unknown. Upside-down.

But almost immediately, we affirm with her, the Magnificat. We want it to make sense. We want to get it. This moment is so glorious and ecstatic for us. We see the better, lower road whereby humility leads to our ultimate good. Rilke thinks of Mary as somehow growing, able to bear countless others, every other creature throws light and finds themselves righted by this complete reception of one’s humble estate, a productive humility that bears many children full of life. She was “the forest no one had explored.” “Her simple and unself-centered Mary-life” of humility offers “paths leading everywhere.”

Advent is an earthquake at dawn. For those of us whose eyes have not been adjusted, it’s light is blinding and disorienting. It moves the earth under our feet, it causes us to stumble from our prideful heights. Our eyes are still fixed on the way of power, success, wealth, and brutal self-exertion and self-magnification. Our feet are still planted on the sand of our own glory. But Mary’s little way sees clearly in this dawn of light, and deftly moves through the world restoratively, for it is already low to the ground and prepared for God’s own humble way of love.

-from ‘The Advent Project 2016’ Center for Christianity, Culture & the Arts

Beer Advent Day 14: Lo-Gii


Brewery:  Milwaukee Brewing Co.

Location:  Milwaukee, WI

Style:  Wit   ABV: 4.8%

Contributed By:  Bobby Salb  (Thanks Bobby!)

Lo-Gii is the younger sibling of Milwaukee Brewing Co.’s  O-Gii Wit (an Imperial wit infused with Rishi Tea, a Milwaukee based Tea company).

Lo-Gii is extremely sessionable, full flavored and only coming in at 4.8 % ABV where it’s older counterpart comes in at 9.2%.  Traditional orange peel and coriander meld with fresh cut ginger, finishing with an infusion of Rishi green tea for a vibrant taste unlike any other.

As you crack open the Lo-Gii can and pour it into your glass, marvel at the creative process of fusing tea and beer!  Cheers.

Advent ReflectionLuke 1: 39 – 45
In those days Mary arose and went with haste into the hill country, to a town in Judah, and she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth. And when Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, the baby leaped in her womb. And Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit, and she exclaimed with a loud cry, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb! And why is this granted to me that the mother of my Lord should come to me? For behold, when the sound of your greeting came to my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy. And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what was spoken to her from the Lord.”

The Visitation
by Malcolm Guite

Here is a meeting made of hidden joys
Of lightenings cloistered in a narrow place
From quiet hearts the sudden flame of praise
And in the womb the quickening kick of grace.

Two women on the very edge of things
Unnoticed and unknown to men of power
But in their flesh the hidden Spirit sings
And in their lives the buds of blessing flower.

And Mary stands with all we call ‘too young’,
Elizabeth with all called ‘past their prime’
They sing today for all the great unsung
Women who turned eternity to time
Favoured of heaven, outcast on the earth
Prophets who bring the best in us to birth.

Mary is the most blessed of women, mother of God, the highly-favored one. But there is another woman in the Bible named “most blessed of women,” and that is Jael, whose story is found in the book of Judges.

When Sisera, the commander of the forces of Israel’s enemies, fled a losing battle, Jael went out to meet him and urged him to hide in her tent. When he did, she fed him milk, had him lie down, and covered him up.

Then, once he was asleep, she took a mallet and drove a tent-peg through his temple, nailing his head to the ground.

Jael’s story intersects with the story of another well-known woman: Deborah the prophetess, who sang of Jael:

Most blessed of women be Jael…
she struck Sisera;
she crushed his head;
she shattered and pierced his temple.
…So may all your enemies perish, O Lord!

Deborah sang a paean of praise to God for the victory he wrought through Jael: an unlikely victory using an unlikely weapon. Many long centuries later, Elizabeth would sing another song of praise to the Lord upon seeing his triumphant use of another unlikely woman: the young, unwed, ordinary Mary.

Jael welcomed her enemy into her home; Mary welcomed her Lord into her womb. Jael killed her enemy with the bloody thrust of a tent-peg; Mary brought her Lord to birth with the bloody pangs of labor. Jael lulled her enemy to sleep with warm milk; Mary nurtured the Son of God with the milk of her own body.

This, then, is what it is to be blessed: it is to be found ready to obey God with whatever we have at hand. It is to be a tool ready-on-hand for our Lord if ever he wants to use us, and to be used by him; whether he wants to use us to destroy or whether he wants to use us to build up.



Believe, then. And wait, this Advent, to see the work of the Lord.

Father in heaven, by your grace the virgin mother of your incarnate Son was blessed in bearing him, but still more blessed in keeping your word: Grant us who honor the exaltation of her lowliness to follow the example of her devotion to your will; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.

(From The Book of Common Prayer)

Beer Advent Day 13: Yabba Dhaba


Brewery: James Page Brewing Co.

Location:  Stevens Point, WI

Style:  Chai Tea Porter  ABV: 5.9%

Contributed By:  Mandy & Adam Beyer (Thanks guys!)

James Page Brewing Co. has been brewing adventurous beers since 1986.  This porter tonight is definitely adventurous as it will have the spices of cinnamon, cardamom, ginger, and cloves to accompany the maltiness of the porter.  The name of the porter “Yabba Dhaba” comes from the traditional roadside restaurants in India, typically called Dhaba’s which serve local cuisine, spicy and sizzlin’ Punjabi food.

Advent Reflection:

Isaiah 7:10-14  “10 Again the LORD spoke to Ahaz,
11 “Ask the LORD your God for a sign, whether in the deepest depths or in the highest heights.”
12 But Ahaz said, “I will not ask; I will not put the LORD to the test.”
13 Then Isaiah said, “Hear now, you house of David! Is it not enough to try the patience of men? Will you try the patience of my God also?
14 Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel.”

I think that the link to the video below will suffice for tonight’s reflection.  Be blessed!

The virgin will be with child


Beer Advent Day 12: Semi-sweet Cider


Brewery:  Seattle Cider Co.

Location:  Seattle, WA

Style:  Semi-sweet hard cider  ABV: 6.5%

Contributed by:  John Christensen  (Thanks John!)

Advent Reflection: Hosea 3:1-5  The LORD said to me, “Go, show your love to your wife again, though she is loved by another and is an adulteress. Love her as the LORD loves the Israelites, though they turn to other gods and love the sacred raisin cakes.”
2 So I bought her for fifteen shekels of silver and about a homer and a lethek of barley.
3 Then I told her, “You are to live with me many days; you must not be a prostitute or be intimate with any man, and I will live with you.”
4 For the Israelites will live many days without king or prince, without sacrifice or sacred stones, without ephod or idol.
5 Afterward the Israelites will return and seek the LORD their God and David their king. They will come trembling to the LORD and to his blessings in the last days.

One of the pictures that we get of the Israelites throughout the Old Testament narrative is that of an unfaithful bride.  God’s people, time and time again, turned their backs on God and longed for something or someone else.  The prophet Hosea is such an interesting character because God basically tells him to stay faithful to his wife even though she is going to be unfaithful to him.  God says to him to love your wife with a loyal, faithful love.  This is a picture, so much, of the Israelites relationship with God and dare I even say, my relationship with God.  So often, my heart gets wooed and led astray by things that simply cannot satisfy.  So often, my faithlessness and even unfaithfulness is on display in my relationship with the Lord….YET, He remains faithful.  His love NEVER gives up on me!  That thought alone gives me chills and makes  me sit in awe of His grace.  I pray that you also sit in awe of His grace tonight as you enjoy the cider!


Beer Advent Day 11: Winter Skal


Brewery:  Capital Brewery

Location:  Middleton, WI

Style:  Winter Seasonal  ABV: 5.8%

Contributed By:  Chase Prochnow (Thanks Chase!)

I have been looking forward to this beer ever since it was contributed.  My buddy Chase speaks very highly of this beer and I long for the time that I can visit a local small town Wisconsin tavern to get a Winter Skal on tap.  (Chase says that this is the best way to enjoy this winter seasonal).

Capital Brewery brewed their first beer in the spring of 1986 and was founded to brew traditional German style lager.  Capital has since branched out to brew American ales, barrel aged beers, and distinct IPA’s.  Capital Brewery’s brewmaster is Ashley Kinart, an alum of UW Madison and a member of the Pink Boots Society.  Pink Boots Society is a national organization that empowers women beer professionals to advance their careers in the beer industry through education.

As you enjoy Winter Skal I hope that you sit by a window and watch the falling snow in peace and warmth!  Cheers!

Advent Reflection:               Psalm 2:6-8
As for me, I have set my King on Zion, my holy hill. I will tell of the decree: The Lord said to me, “You are my Son; today I have begotten you. Ask of me, and I will make the nations your heritage, and the ends of the earth your possession.”

Here is a video that artistically represents the first coming of Messiah!

Today marks the third Sunday of Advent.  Here is a prayer from the Book of Common Prayer:

“Stir up your power, O Lord, and with great might come among us; and, because we are sorely hindered by our sins, let your bountiful grace and mercy speedily help and deliver us; through Jesus Christ our Lord, to whom, with you and the Holy Spirit, be honor and glory, now and forever. Amen”


Beer Advent Day 9: Abbey Tripel


Brewery: Sprecher Brewing Co.

Location: Glendale, WI

Style:  Belgian Tripel  ABV: 8.4%

Contributed By: Megan Heinen (Thanks Megan!)

This is our third contribution from Sprecher Brewing Co. (they are definitely being represented well this Beer Advent.  We’ve tried Sprecher’s best selling beer in the Special Amber and we’ve tried one of their Premium Reserves in the Doppel Bock.  The Abbey Triple tonight is another one of Sprecher’s Premium Reserve beers.  Abbey Triples are so named because of the part of the brewing process where three (3) times the amount of malt is used.  Abbey Tripels have a lighter body  and sweetness which comes from the use of Belgian candy sugar. Tripels are known for having a high alcohol content (usually between 8-11% ABV) yet the ones that are crafted and brewed well usually hide the alcohol character.  Which does make Belgian Tripels a little dangerous to drink because they can be quite deceiving.  Sweet and very drinkable but yet packing an ABV punch.

Sip this Tripel tonight as you reflect!


Advent Reflection:

Micah 5:1-4  “Marshal your troops, O city of troops, for a siege is laid against us. They will strike Israel’s ruler on the cheek with a rod.
2 “But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are small among the clans of Judah, out of you will come for me one who will be ruler over Israel, whose origins are from of old, from ancient times. “
3 Therefore Israel will be abandoned until the time when she who is in labor gives birth and the rest of his brothers return to join the Israelites.
4 He will stand and shepherd his flock in the strength of the LORD, in the majesty of the name of the LORD his God. And they will live securely, for then his greatness will reach to the ends of the earth.”

One of the things that I love about the Christmas story is the passage that you just read.  It seems like such a simple passage with not A LOT of important things in it. I mean, it simply talks about how a small clan of Judah, will be the hometown of a ruler that will come.  Bethlehem itself, is a small, insignificant town in Israel.  Nothing to shout about for sure.  Yet, it is from this insignificant town, one who will be ruler over Israel will come.  It is referencing the birthplace of our Lord and Savior, Jesus.  He is the Messiah of Israel.  The one that the prophets talked about and the Israelites longed for.  He didn’t come from the “Hollywood” city that everyone was expecting him to.  No, he came from an insignificant town in a rather overlooked part of the land. His coming was for those who feel insignificant and those who have been told that they are insignificant, that they can experience wholeness, value, and peace. Shalom.

Matthew 2:1-8  After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem and asked, “Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.”

When King Herod heard this he was disturbed, and all Jerusalem with him. When he had called together all the people’s chief priests and teachers of the law, he asked them where the Messiah was to be born.“In Bethlehem in Judea,” they replied, “for this is what the prophet has written:

“‘But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah,
    are by no means least among the rulers of Judah;
for out of you will come a ruler
    who will shepherd my people Israel.’”

Then Herod called the Magi secretly and found out from them the exact time the star had appeared. He sent them to Bethlehem and said, “Go and search carefully for the child. As soon as you find him, report to me, so that I too may go and worship him.”

Beer Advent Day 8: Scrimshaw


Brewery:  North Coast Brewing Co.

Location:  Fort Bragg, CA

Style:  Pilsener  ABV: 4.7%

Contributed by:  Kyle Benning (Thanks Kyle!)

North Coast Brewing has been a pioneer in the craft beer movement on the Mendocino coast of California since 1988.  Scrimshaw is one of their flagship beers along with Old Rasputin Russian Imperial Stout (worth a try if you’ve never done so before).  Scrimshaw is named for the delicate engravings popularized by 19th century seafarers. Scrimshaw is a Pilsner brewed in the finest European tradition.  It has a subtle hop character, a crisp, clean palate, and a dry finish.

Cheers to our first Pilsener of Beer Advent!

Advent Reflection: Zechariah 3:1-10  “Then he showed me Joshua the high priest standing before the angel of the LORD, and Satan standing at his right side to accuse him.
2 The LORD said to Satan, “The LORD rebuke you, Satan! The LORD, who has chosen Jerusalem, rebuke you! Is not this man a burning stick snatched from the fire?”
3 Now Joshua was dressed in filthy clothes as he stood before the angel.
4 The angel said to those who were standing before him, “Take off his filthy clothes.” Then he said to Joshua, “See, I have taken away your sin, and I will put rich garments on you.”
5 Then I said, “Put a clean turban on his head.” So they put a clean turban on his head and clothed him, while the angel of the LORD stood by.
6 The angel of the LORD gave this charge to Joshua:
7 “This is what the LORD Almighty says: ‘If you will walk in my ways and keep my requirements, then you will govern my house and have charge of my courts, and I will give you a place among these standing here.  8 ” ‘Listen, O high priest Joshua and your associates seated before you, who are men symbolic of things to come: I am going to bring my servant, the Branch.
9 See, the stone I have set in front of Joshua! There are seven eyes on that one stone, and I will engrave an inscription on it,’ says the LORD Almighty, ‘and I will remove the sin of this land in a single day.
10 ” ‘In that day each of you will invite his neighbor to sit under his vine and fig tree,’ declares the LORD Almighty.”

The scene that I picture in verses 1-5 is that of a courtroom.  You have Joshua standing before the presence of the LORD and Satan the prosecutor spewing all of the accusations upon Joshua.  Joshua is dressed in filthy garments (A picture of the sin that we carry) and you can imagine all of the shame he must feel as he sees the accuser pointing the finger and hearing him remind everyone of all the sin Joshua has committed.  Then, we get something radically different than what’s expected.  Instead of condemnation to be sentenced, the LORD takes away the filthy garments and puts on Joshua a clean robe and turban.  Wow!  What a picture of grace!  This passage from Zechariah is a beautiful picture of God’s grace that is given to us through His Son, Jesus. Not only are we forgiven of our sin through Jesus but we are also clothed with His righteousness!  Let’s rest in our purified garments as we marvel at the amazing grace of Jesus tonight!



Beer Advent Day 7: Warsteiner Dunkel


Brewery:  Warsteiner

Location: Germany

Style:  Dunkel  ABV: 4.8%

Contributed by:  Phil Jansen (Thanks Phil!)

Advent Reflection: Hosea 11:1-4  “”When Israel was a child, I loved him, and out of Egypt I called my son. 2 But the more I called Israel, the further they went from me. They sacrificed to the Baals and they burned incense to images.
3 It was I who taught Ephraim to walk, taking them by the arms; but they did not realize it was I who healed them.
4 I led them with cords of human kindness, with ties of love; I lifted the yoke from their neck and bent down to feed them.”

Faithful.  Steadfast.  Loving.  This is the character of God with a people who were continually unfaithful, impatient, and unloving.  This is the same God who loves us a good, good Father.  A God who heals our brokenness.  Who lifts the heavy yoke from our necks and bends down to nurture us.  Let us rest tonight in the arms of our good, good Father.


Beer Advent Day 6: Special Amber


Brewery:  Sprecher Brewing Co.

Location:  Glendale

Style: Vienna Style Lager  ABV: 5 %

Contributed By:  Zach Verriden (Thanks Zach!)

This is our 2nd Sprecher brew this Beer Advent season. If your palate didn’t fancy the hops of last night’s IPA then this Vienna Style Lager should suit your desire. Sprecher’s Special Amber has been their best selling beer since the opening of the brewery.  This is a pretty versatile beer that pairs with most food types.  Enjoy his intriguing lager tonight! Cheers!

Advent Reflection: Today is St. Nicholas Day!  Most of us know him as ‘jolly old St. Nicholas’ who brings gifts to little boys and girls (if they are good) and enjoys warm cookies and a bottle of Coke.  There are many stories (and songs) sung about St. Nicholas (commonly referred to as Santa Claus).  My family and I along with our neighbor and family participated this past Saturday in the annual Santa’s Cycle Rampage.  It was a fun event spreading Christmas cheer while peddling down the streets of Milwaukee wearing Santa suits.  If you look at this link and scroll down you might see a familiar face 🙂  But St. Nicholas is so much more than a jolly old man.  Here is a glimpse of who St. Nicholas was and what he lived for.  Below is a reading from Common Prayer: A Liturgy for Ordinary Radicals.

Nicholas of Myra (Fourth Century)

The original “Old St. Nick” who inspired the tradition of Santa Claus, Nicholas was bishop of Myra in fourth-century Turkey. Little is known about his life except that he entrusted himself to -Jesus at an early age and, when his parents died, gave all of their possessions to the poor. While serving as bishop, Nicholas learned of three girls who were going to be sold into slavery by their father. Moved to use the church’s wealth to ransom the lives of these little ones, he tossed three bags of gold through the family’s window. We recall this ancient Christmas gift, even as we remember that 1.2 million children are trafficked each year in the global sex trade today.

Scripture Reading:  Micah 6:6-8  “With what shall I come before the LORD and bow down before the exalted God? Shall I come before him with burnt offerings, with calves a year old?
7 Will the LORD be pleased with thousands of rams, with ten thousand rivers of oil? Shall I offer my firstborn for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?
8 He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.”

Just as we read last night from the prophet Hosea about how the LORD desires steadfast love instead of sacrifice, tonight we see from the prophet Micah that God is saying very similar things.  What is it that the LORD requires (or desires) from us?  It’s not the thousands of sacrifices that we bring, it’s a life that acts justly, loves mercy, and walks humbly with God! May we be a people that act with justice in our lives, to orient our hearts to love mercy for others, and to walk with Him in faithfulness and humility.