hist-brewing: larsen on buhner

adam larsen euphonic at flash.net
Tue Aug 15 21:41:29 PDT 2000

    You raise a good point that the author is not attempting to provide
for historical accuracy and that he has encouraged brewers looking into
obsolete ingredients.  I for one think that such developments are
positive in some respects.
    However, the problem is that evoking pseudo mystical overtones does
a real disservice to not only non Western religions but also to the
organic religions of  Europa by not placing the ingredients within the
actual social context from which they sprang.   Buhner, like other new
age theorists suffers the modernist flaw of looking for universality at
the expense of  the particular identities to which he refers.  As a
cultural organist, in the classic tradition, this smacks to me of mearly
juxtaposing idealism upon folkish essence.
    Buhner seems to be following the example of 19th century historical
romanticists whom used idealistic nostalgia as an adjunct rather, then a
substitute, for Modernism.  While i believe that his intentions in this
respect are good they make for poor ethnography and and an even worse
form of  folkish revanchism.
    Worse still, from the stand point of a brewer at least,  is that
attributing modern notions of homeopathic attributes upon largely
forgotten herbal lore negates the actual historical uses of  herbs in
question.  In practical brewing terms this results in a failure to
understand how gruits were formed and why.  As a result, his
recommendations cater to whimsy rather then good ale practice.

Tom Stevenson wrote:

>  Adam Larson is on the money when he says that Stephen H. Buhner
> "writes not from the perspective of a (sic)antiquarian researcher..."
> But then, I don't think that is what Buhner is trying to do.  The
> important thing about his work is the effect it has had on homebrewers
> and professionals alike, awakening new interest in brewing styles and
> ingredients that have been left behind by history or else ignored on
> account of cultural bias.  He has challenged us to acknowledge that
> there is a great big world of brewing out there beyond the
> Reinheitsgebot and that it's all there for us to explore using our
> imaginations and our innate sensitivities.  If you are looking for
> verbatim transcriptions of ancient recipes, you should look elsewhere;
> if you want to expand your notion of what beer is and what beer is
> for, this is definitely the book for you.Tom Stevenson


Perhaphs one of the best poems of the last decade -

         Først kulde som stålet som tok De
        Og spilte Deres blod på snøen

        Jeg holder Deres kuldehånd i gruvedrift Deres berøring som en
        gang blir brent som brann For
        meg solrosen og sett i Deres øyne Og laget himmelen en liar

        Vent på meg ved regnbuebroen

        Det staver av fortryllelse De støper jeg sliter som en
forbannelse Et
        uutholdelig følelse av tap Det Er Deres latter som jeg lengter

        På margen vi forfølger med hevn All Far bevilger meg flyktig
        rettferdighet All seende jeger på himmelen jeg ikke har noen
frykt om
        jeg lever  eller dør jeg er allerede død inni

        Vent på meg ved regnbuebroen

        Komm til mine armer min kjærlighet som jeg skal bære De til pyre

        Til den den skogen hvor vi først legger Våre kropper entwined

        Vent på meg ved regnbuebroen

        Måneskinnglimtene på talisman Deres skjønnhet som er blitt
        av flammene røykoppstigningen til himmel himmel fra whence De

        Vent på meg ved regnbuebroen

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