The old guardian takes a long deep breath and steadies his once strong and now-weakened frame. The bright flickering of dancing candles lights up his old battle-worn face with eyes that have seen all five hundred of his candles. He is exhausted but seems content, a content that comes from a life of purpose and resolution. The old man has been watching over and protecting something that generation after generation has held dear. He has held steadfast through famines, floods, pestilence, plagues, revolutions and wars. In all his purity, the old guardian has only been at rest for the last 29 years of the last five hundred. He now contemplates whether his guardianship can come to an end. He remembers the last 500 years of devoted service.
He was charged with this great duty of protecting ‘The Purity’ in 1516 when the evil was closing in on lands that were under siege from insurgents hell-bent of destroying ‘The Purity’. The guardian was a strong and mighty man who was well respected in his land. He drove out the insurgents who defiled purity and wielded authority that would hold at arms-length this black mist of adulterated and contaminated philosophy. He remained wholesome and untainted by the immorality.
However, the philosophy he protected was no longer ‘The Purity’ that all in the land looked up to. Philosophy had changed; the world had changed and the purity he protected was now seen as draconian and deemed to be stifling. The once evil impurities were no longer at the gates, fended off by new powers of the new world. His once-loyal army was now turning away from ‘The Purity’ and his knights looked past the magical elements of hops, malt, yeast and water.
In his five hundredth year is it time to open the gates? Are the evil insurgents of spoiled amber nectar no longer a threat? Has his mandate run its course? The “Purity” is and will be forevermore in the protection of the people.
Will Sir Reinheitsgebot finally take leave of his post and relinquish his guardianship or will this great champion of “The Purity” remain as a legacy of craft? Either way the world he has been protecting is grateful for his tenure and he will be forever remembered as the ‘Guardian of Purity’. His knight Sir Wolfgang and Shield Maiden Emke remain champions of the Great Guardian’s legacy.
Happy Birthday and thank you, old guardian.
Cheers for the beers.
This year marks 500 years since the Reinheitsgebot was decreed in the southern state of Bavaria. The “Puirty Law” was passed into legislation to protect the production of beer. Only three ingredients were allowed in production, malt, hops and water. Yeast was added later when its existence was discovered. While no longer actual law, it is still regarded as an important tradition and for many brewers a guideline on how German beer ought to be made. Before its official repeal in 1987, it was the oldest food-quality regulation in the world. Its detractors say the law has passed its usefulness and hinders innovation and Germany’s ability to adopt modern beer trends that utilize ingredients contrary to the purity tradition. Germany’s slow uptake of the new “craft revolution” compared to USA and UK is said to be directly related to this tradition.