COLUMN: Beer, brats and backpacks

Posted 10/17/17

All it takes is a little beer, some brats and maybe some cider to bring out the party animals around here.

The Brewfest by the Bay raised more than $5,000 for the Backpacks for Kids Weekend …

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COLUMN: Beer, brats and backpacks


All it takes is a little beer, some brats and maybe some cider to bring out the party animals around here.

The Brewfest by the Bay raised more than $5,000 for the Backpacks for Kids Weekend Nutritional Program for Chimacum schools. There were at least six East Jefferson Rotarians and their spouses in attendance enjoying the camaraderie, music by The Alternators, bratwurst sandwiches and the various beer options, both alcoholic and non. The Ericksons, Umbreits, Thompsons, Plastows and Randalls were joined in the fun by Port Townsend Rotarian Bill James.

It seems Bill’s wife was unable to be there, something about a cruise to Mexico. BJ and I would have gone to the Brewfest anyway, but the truth is she was there selling raffle tickets, and I was there buying them. I put her name on a few tickets that I purchased, and she won a scarf, necklace and earrings. Terry Umbreit won a woman’s purse. Hey, somebody had to win.

Former Rotarians Marti McMahon and Ron McClung were also at the Brewfest. Ron is the pastor of Peace Lutheran Church, which is the church of several folks involved in the backpacks program. Ron reminded me that 500 years ago this month, Martin Luther wrote the “95 Theses” questioning the validity of the practice of selling indulgences by the Roman Catholic Church. According to one account, Luther nailed the “95 Theses” to the door of the All Saints’ Church in Wittenberg and thus began the Reformation.

Tacoma’s Wingman Brewers has created Reformaiden beer, immortalizing Katharina von Bora, Martin Luther’s wife. She bore him six children and brewed beer. I wonder if she is a saint yet? Wingman brewed 220 gallons of the beer to help Pacific Lutheran University mark the 500th year of the Reformation. I appreciate Ron sending along all this information for me to send to you.

Terry O’Brien apparently worked with a company that sold malt to Anheuser-Busch. As a result, he is very knowledgeable about the brewing process and the ingredients that either should or should not go into beer. Bill James worked for Anheuser-Busch with a big part of his career spent in Steamboat Springs, Colorado.

For a couple of years I thought it would be fun to sit down with Bill and Terry so that I could listen to them compare notes on their experiences at Budweiser. It happened at the Brewfest. Like most well-conceived plans, expectations were unreasonable and unachieved. Bill confessed that he had heard the details of the brewing process many times and it always went over his head. His job was to sell “America’s brew,” beechwood-aged Budweiser beer. He did a good job of it. In addition, BJ claims to have grown up drinking Budweiser since she lived in St. Louis.

During summers of my college years, I pumped gas for Standard Oil of Ohio, known as Sohio. We always had a supply of maps, mostly of Ohio, that we freely gave to customers upon request. There was no charge for these items, as the notion was that it encouraged folks to drive more, thus spending more on gasoline and keeping poor college students employed. Conversely, we just received an offer to buy an update for the electronic navigation system on our car for $149.

What is going on here? I thought all this electronic stuff was to be less expensive. It makes one want to drink more beer!

Finally, please note that Martin Luther said, “Whoever drinks beer, he is quick to sleep; whoever sleeps long, does not sin; whoever does not sin, enters Heaven! Thus, let us drink beer!”

Love a curmudgeon and have a great week.

Port Ludlow resident Ned Luce writes this column weekly. Contact him at


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