Zionsville Times Sentinel

October 17, 2012

Raise a glass

By Amy Rodriguez/Times Sentinel columnist
CNHI

— Last week as I was pondering all of the things I love about fall in general, and October in particular, it occurred to me that there is one very Octobery thing I fall far short of loving. Beer.

I realize that beer is brewed and enjoyed by others year round, but October says beer to me. Probably because of Oktoberfest, but nonetheless October says beer to me. Not being a beer drinker has not kept me from having a history of sorts with the stuff.

My dad was a beer drinker, and every year on my birthday he would offer me a sip. I never took it, because his beer burps were always so nasty. Then in high school my friends offered me a beer one evening during our teen activities. I managed to swallow half of it before nature took over and ridded me of the scourge. I never did that again.

My brother didn’t share my aversion to the hoppy beverage. He used to take the empty bottles from dad’s beer cases and dump the little bits together to get a sip. That activity was gross on so many levels, all I could do was watch him, kind of like a train wreck. I didn’t want to look, but didn’t have the willpower to look away.

My first husband and his friend decided to brew their own beer once upon a time. I arrived home from work one evening to find a pot of hops had boiled over on the stove. That smell was one I will never forget and never wish to repeat.

Of course no exploration of beer would be complete without a visit to the Internet. I typed beer history into my search engine and received 153 million hits. From all of that information, the tiny tidbit I have chosen to share involves the origin of the word “honeymoon.” According to www.homecooking.about.com, “Teuton brides drank honey-beer for a month after their wedding ceremony as an aphrodisiac. The custom of honey-beer for a month, poetically referred to as a moon, led to the current term of honeymoon.” Okay, I can see where drinking beer every day for a month might make things a little more festive in that arena.

There was an old folk remedy that instructed people bothered by freckles to wash their faces in warm beer to get rid of the pesky spots. While rubbing beer on your face sounds a little gross, it is way less gross than the one my mom told me years ago of rubbing a wet diaper on freckles to get rid of them. Apparently one of her neighbors tried that when they were pre teens. Suddenly the beer trick doesn’t sound quite so gross.

And finally, something that I do like about beer is cooking. I don’t use it often, but find that my family enjoys the occasional loaf of beer bread. I have also used beer in stews and chili. There is something about a beer stew on a cool autumn night to warm your bones. Of course, you can always make stew without adding beer, but then it wouldn’t feel very much like October.

Amy Rodriguez is a writer living in Hendricks County. You can read more of her work at rubymay1029.blogspot.com.