No Pietist Allowed Parties – Making a List of Favorite International Beers, by Pr. Rossow

tuskerIn honor of Rev. James May, the Director of Lutherans in Africa (LIA) coming to the BJS conference this year, at one of our “No Pietists Allowed” parties we will be serving international beers. When I was over in Africa last month I discovered a great lager from Kenya called Tusker. At the end of a long day of teaching the Gospel to eager Africans, a cold Tusker was just the thing for this pilsner kind of guy.

So we need your help. Let us know what your favorite international beer is and we will try to get some for the party. We will be shopping at Binny’s Liquor Store (Naperville or Plainfield store) so if they have your favorite in stock (they had Tusker!) there is a better chance we can get it for you.

Speaking of LIA, the fund raiser for the new Lutheran Center is going great. We have nearly $300,000 and we are about to buy the land. LIA is the BJS mission of choice. James May will be given a few minutes on the conference agenda to share with us the many great things that LIA is doing for the Gospel. We encourage BJS readers to go to the LIA website and make a contribution to the capital campaign.

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There is still time to register for the conference. Be sure to click here to register! Register early to help us in purchasing food and planning for the conference.

We’ve got a great set of speakers and as outlined above there will be lots of fun at the dinners and parties.

It would also help us if you would help promote the conference by using one of the memes we’ve developed to the right on your facebook or website, with a link to

About Pastor Tim Rossow

Rev. Dr. Timothy Rossow is the Director of Development for Lutherans in Africa. He served Bethany Lutheran Church in Naperville, IL as the Sr. Pastor for 22 years (1994-2016) and was Sr. Pastor of Emmanuel Lutheran in Dearborn, MI prior to that. He is the founder of Brothers of John the Steadfast but handed off the Sr. Editor position to Rev. Joshua Scheer in 2015. He currently resides in Ocean Shores WA with his wife Phyllis. He regularly teaches in Africa. He also paints watercolors, reads philosophy and golfs. He is currently represented in two art galleries in the Pacific Northwest. His M Div is from Concordia, St. Louis and he has an MA in philosophy from St. Louis University and a D Min from Concordia, Fort Wayne.


No Pietist Allowed Parties – Making a List of Favorite International Beers, by Pr. Rossow — 48 Comments

  1. Now this is my kind of post.

    From Germany: Erdinger.
    From Cyprus: Keo.
    From Israel: Maccabees.

  2. As a Browns and Colts fan, I consider Baltimore to be “foreign.” Therefore, I’m throwing this out: Dogfish Head Santo Palo Marron. Just was introduced to it on New Year’s Day by a brother who married a “foreigner”–a Ravens fan from Baltimore. Wonderful brown ale. A true sip and savor beer.

    Don’t get any of this for me, however. I will unfortunately not be in attendance.

  3. I also won’t be there, but from my time flying the F-111 Aardvarks in the UK, I can give my stamp of approval to:
    Wells Bombardier
    Old Speckled Hen
    Brakspear Bitter
    John Courage Bitter
    Anything from the Hook Norton Brewery

    -Matt Mills

    P.S. I’m fairly certain that all of these fine products are approved by our sister church, the Evangelical Lutheran Church of England

  4. Railbender Scottish Ale from Erie Brewing is to die for, but you can’t get it here. Sorry.

  5. Won’t be able to make it either, but just discovered Żywiec Porter, from Poland. If that’s the last beer I drink, I can die happy. If you pour it in a glass and hold it up to the light, none of it passes through. The horseshoe floats.

  6. OK George I won’t try. You’re coming aren’t you? Any other choices?

    Miguel – since I doubt you are coming out from NY I will give it a look and hoist one in your honor.

  7. While I do thoroughly enjoy the multitude of fine craft beers from northern Colorado, (northern Colorado is to beer as Napa-Sonoma is to wine), my beer of choice is the first, the original Pilsner from Plzn (get it?) Czech Republic known as Pilsner Urquell. Brewed since 1842 and is thus five years older than the LCMS and is far more pleasant!

  8. Richard,

    We will certainly have a six pack or two of the Urquell. There is a little central European restuarant in Brookfield (about 30 minutes east of here) that serves the best pork and dumplings where I drank my first of several Urquells over the years.

  9. Czechvar is also a good Czech beer.

    Not foreign (Colorado) but Prost Dunkel is fantastic. Spaten’s Dunkel is also good.

  10. No pietist, I, but I dare to point out that the fixation which some Lutherans have on beer is dangerous and potentially damaging to people in your parishes with drinking problems.
    If they are alcoholics in recovery, they do not find glorifying beer helpful or funny. Many choose not to go where alcohol is served, so they are cut out of your Octoberfests. If they are not in recovery and in denial about their disease, they can think, “it can’t be wrong! It’s at church, and my pastor promotes beer drinking.”
    You can disagree, but I work with people in recovery every week. What I write is true.

  11. Paulaner Salvator is one of my German favorites.

    And Irish Death is an outstanding Washington take on an Irish stout.

  12. Hmm, I don’t have a favorite international beer, so instead I’ll list some.

    Fuller’s ESB (Extra Special Bitter) from England. It is a very balanced beer. I had a sip and I was thinking “wow, that’s…balanced.”

    Fuller’s London Porter from England. This porter has a chocolately, raisiny taste.

    I feel someone will mention Guinness before too long, so I’ll get it out of the way. However, my vote goes for Guinness Foreign Extra Stout. It is a very robust (around 8% alcohol) stout with a burnt toast and liquorice taste.

    Paulaner Hefeweissen from Germany. A rather carbonated beer, tasting of banana and cloves. I personally like hefeweissens in the summer but that’s just me.

    +1 for Paulaner Salvator and Żywiec Porter

    I tried to make this concise. I like to talk about beer as much as I like to drink it. I could have some more recommendations…


  13. @Daniel Bliese #16
    Daniel – that Fuller’s ESB is a tall order, but it sounds excellent. Upon checking at the local beverage superstore they actually have it! So Pr. Tim may be obligated to oblige. ‘Course, I won’t be able to enjoy any of the fine beverages mentioned so far, but they sure do look appetizing.

  14. Daniel B,

    Have at it.

    I have been to the Paulaner beer garden in Munich. It is actually less touristy than Hoffbrau Haus and has better beer. I am a big fan.

    I am a whimp beer drinker (pilsner, lager) but have been drinking Guinness for last couple of years once a month at the Irish pub here in Naperville (bar and stalls imported from Ireland) at my regular meeting with my good friend who is Roman Catholic. It is at his house that we are having the party so I will get some Guiness.

  15. Anything from Paulaner. Salvator is the beer I want to be stranded on an island with, but don’t pass over their Munich Helles (Original Munich Lager). It’s just as tasty and a session strength beer, so you can drink plenty and still maintain composure. Also, consider the Rauchbiers (smoked beers) from Schlenkerla in Bammberg if you’re going to be enjoying any burnt offerings at the party. Their Urbock and their Maerzen are ausgezeichnet!

  16. @Pastor Tim Rossow #18
    Pastor Rossow,

    I would perhapd recommend a Kölsch-style ale for your taste. This particular beer has some lager-like characteristics. I would recommend Schlafly Kölsch-style ale out of St. Louis, Missouri, if you are able to get it in Illinois. But you told me to have at it with the foreign beers, not domestic. So, let’s see here:

    Fuller’s has yet another good beer by the name of Black Cab Stout. According to some, this is an Irish Dry Stout, so in the style of Guinness.

    Samuel Smith from Englang has some good beers, in particular their Nut Brown Ale and their Oatmeal Stout. I don’t really recall specifics on these, other than the Oatmeal Stout has some nuttiness to it.

    Young’s, also from England, has a Double Chocolate Stout. Think of a beer that has a bitter-sweet chocolate taste and you get the idea.

    That’s about all I can think of. I’ve had the ability to get these beers from a local liquor store (Friar Tuck’s) over about a four year period. Hope these suggestions intrigue some.

  17. Another thought for such a fine gathering of orthodox Lutherans might include some Yuengling Beer from Pottsville, PA. It is the oldest continuously operating brewery in the U.S. and the folks who founded it were ancestors of brewers who worked at Katy Luther’s brewery in Wittenburg which helped to fund the Lutheran Reformation. Those ancestors moved later to Wurttenburg in southern Germany and established their family business there. From there they emigrated to the U.S.

    As far as taste goes, it’s not the best, but its history makes it worth a try.

  18. @R.D. #11
    WSO. F-111 Gs, Es, Fs and F Pacer Strike, and F-15Es. I retired in 2010, but the USAF hired me back as a civilian planner. I miss it every day.

    If you need a German suggestion, Jever Pils is an interesting, very “hoppy,” Pilsner.

    -Matt Mills

  19. I won’t be there, but I can offer some fun ones to try:

    Samuel Smith’s Yorkshire Stingo (a great winter seasonal; strong barley beer with notes of fruit–really tasty)
    Samuel Smith’s Oatmeal Stout
    Great Lakes Brewing Edmund Fitzgerald (stout)
    Skull Splitter (Orkney Brewery; ‘wee heavy’ Scotch ale; pow’rful stuff)
    Yuengling Lager is always a perennial favorite at our departmental parties (very drinkable)
    Old Speckled Hen (English ale–almost a red)
    Dogfish Head Etrusca (part of their ‘Ancient Ales’ series, based on a recipe pulled from residue analysis of drinking bowls in an Etruscan tomb–made with myrrh, pomegranate gentian, wheat and barley)

    Not sure any of this is Rheinheitsgebot compliant, but where’s the fun in that?

  20. @Matt Mills #26
    I never understood why the Germans abandoned their great Dortmunder lager in favor of the now more popular euro pils. To me the latter tastes almost as watered down as the American light lagers, adjunct lagers, and pale lagers (i.e., Miller Lite and so on).

  21. @George in Wheaton #28
    My rule when traveling is always go w/ the local brew (at least until you find a reason not to do so.) Can’t say I’m real fond of Efes (Turkey) or OB (ROK) but you never know until you try them, and I’ve had worse.

    This is where I’m 100% on-board w/ “diversity”: Kolsch in Cologne, Pils in Jever, Bitter in the UK, and Stout in Ireland.

    -Matt Mills

  22. @Matt Mills #29
    Well, the bitter in the UK and stout in Ireland are both fine (and I’ve enjoyed both in the past as excellent brews), they’re both traditional beverages. Pils, on the other hand, is not. The traditional lager among the German working class, originating in the 19th Century, was Dort (Dortmunder or Export, take your pick). Pils is a late 20th Century origination, stuff that resembled the watered down swill that immigrant brewers were producing during the same time in this country. Trust me, get a hold of a good export like Dortmunder Gold (Great Lakes Brewing) or Dog Days (Two Brothers Brewing – though not available during Winter months) and you’ll taste a dramatic difference. Nevertheless, my days of preaching (but can’t practice) are over, because I’ve been on a very low carb diet since before Thanksgiving and beers of any kind are taboo.

  23. @George in Wheaton #30
    Wikipaedia, but, Jever’s been brewing Pils since 1848 …
    ‘When the “Friesisches Brauhaus zu Jever” was founded by Diedrich König in 1848, it was only one of several breweries in the region. König, however, was convinced from the beginning that his beer was something special. After his death in 1867, his son sold the brewery. Theodor Fetköter took over the brewery. He began by developing the small family business into a large brewery operation, started to advertise and developed special bottles. In 1848, he played an important part in installing the first water supply system in Jever.’

  24. @Matt Mills #31
    Dortmund Export is a blond lager that evolved in the latter part of the 19th century in the Ruhr District of Germany. The District is an oblong stretch of land running east-west, some 20 miles wide and 60 miles long. It is divided along its length by a tributary to the Rhine, the Ruhr River, from which it takes its name. To understand the Dortmund Export beer one must first understand its region of origin.

    A Tough Brew for a Tough Place

    From the start of the Industrial Revolution to about the 1980s, the Ruhr District was the industrial heartland of Germany. Duisburg, the city with the largest inland port in Europe, was at its western edge and Dortmund, the District’s largest city, at its eastern edge. Between the two cities, there were dozens of towns and cities all crowded together. Up to 3,000 feet (1,000 meters) deep in the earth, ran rich seams of hard coal, some not even four feet in diameter. These residues of ancient vegetation provided the carbon for Germany’s steel and the energy for Germany’s industrial machine.

    The Ruhr District was the crucible in which the coal from below was fused with ore hauled in by freighters, barges, and trains from all corners of the globe. The District had hundreds of coal pits and steel mills. The marriage between coal and iron spawned a giant industrial megalopolis that was the heart and soul of the so-called German economic miracle that pulled the country out of the rubble and poverty, during the aftermath of World War II. During much of the 20th century, nights in the Ruhr District were never really dark. The sky was kept aglow by an omnipresent fiery hue as the blast furnaces, one after another, spewed their molten rivers into the factories around them. The air smelled burnt. If you left your laundry on the balcony overnight to dry, it came back in dirty the following morning.

    It ought not to come as a surprise that the beer the Dortmund brewers made for their hard-working patrons was as tough and hearty as the people who drank it. When a miner got off his shift all showered but exhausted after eight hours of jack-hammering chunks of coal from the rock in a dark, dusty, hot, and dangerous shaft, what he needed was a beer he could respect. Likewise, when the steelworker left the blast inferno, where he earned his daily bread, a place hotter than the world’s hottest desert, he wanted a restorative draught. The beer the Dortmund brewers came up with was the Dortmund style, a lager as strong in maltiness as the best Bavarian brew and just a touch deeper golden in color than the best Pilsner brew, and with a good dose of satisfying, earthy bitterness.

    There was nothing wimpy about the lager from this stark, no-nonsense region of coal, steel, and sweat. Where the Bavarian Helles excelled in straw-blond elegance, gentle hoppiness, and rich maltiness; where the Bohemian Pilsner excelled in lingering, aromatic hop reverberations in the finish; and where the effervescent northern German Pils excelled in edgy up-front bitterness; the Dortmund style excelled in the middle, with a substantial flavor and mouthfeel a solid beer for a solid breed of people. Up front, it ranked in bitterness above a Munich Helles, for instance, but lower than a Lower Saxon Pils, while in the finish, it ranked half way between a Munich Helles and a Bohemian Pilsner, with both hops and malt in a medium-dry balance. But in the middle, where the heart is, it outshone all its blond lager contemporaries, with a hefty mouthfeel and an alcohol by volume content of about 5.5%, compared to an alcohol level in the upper four percentile range for all other blond lagers.

    In the old days, perhaps the best Dortmund style was made by the Kronen Brauerei. Brewery owner Heinrich Wenker introduced his version of a strong Munich-style lager to his home city in 1843, just one year after the first batch of Pilsner had been brewed by the Bohemian Burgher Brewery of Pilsen in what is now the Czech Republic. By 1871, Wenker began to make his lager a bit stronger than the brews of his competitors so that it would not spoil when shipped for “export” outside the city limits. This was the period, when Dortmund was rapidly industrializing, and soon the citizens of the greater Ruhr District, especially the miners and steel workers, clamored for the Kronen Dortmund Export…and the name stuck. Today, the style is still known as Dortmund Export, or sometimes just Export for short.

    Source: Deutsches Bier Institute

  25. Dortmund: A Brew Center of Ancient Lineage

    In the early Middle Ages, brewing was the exclusive privilege of the clergy and nobility, a privilege, however, that was difficult to sustain after the emergence of a mercantile class at the beginning of the second millennium. The private burghers of the city of Dortmund were among the first “civilian” feudal subjects to receive the right to brew. It was conferred upon them by the German King Adolf of Nassau on August 22, 1293, and they never relinquished it.

    In time, there even ensued “beer wars” between Dortmund and it its neighboring cities, because the Dortmund brewers, which effectively ran the city council, had an ordonnance passed granting the local brew a monopoly over any beer “imported” from elsewhere. This also kept the tax revenues from beer within the city limitis. Other Westphalian cities such as Münster, Bielefeld, Hamm and Minden answered in kind, banning Dortmund beer from their territories and hiring sharp shooters to ambush the Dortmund beer wagons and put musket holes into the wooden casks. The Dortmunders, in turn, hired their own mercenaries to catch the musketeers and drown them in beer.

    In 1472, the city fathers of Dortmund handed the thus-defended brewright over to every “full citizen” (read: member of the brewers’ guild). Over the next five centuries, the fine burghers of Dortmund made such good use of the privilege that, by the end of the 19th century, Dortmund boasted about 150,000 inhabitants and almost 30 breweries all making Export; and by World War I, Dortmund had become the largest brew center in Europe. Even today, to the chagrin of Bavarians, Dortmund’s annual beer production is still a tad larger than Munich’s. Both cities produce about five-and-a-half million hectoliters (approx. 4.5 million barrels) of beer a year.

    Times have changed in the Ruhr District since the post-World-War-II boom. As we move into the globalized economy of the 21st century, a rapid socio-economic restructuring has taken place, which has led to the closure of all the coal mines, and the few steel mills that remain are in trouble, too. As the District’s economic base changed, so did its tastes. The venerable Dortmund Export, which once put Dortmund on the beer map, now accounts for only a small portion of the city’s beer output. In line with the modern, more edgy taste in beer, the beer of choice in this erstwhile rough-neck region is the Pils-style lager. It has become the revenue mainstay of the Dortmund brew industry, while the traditional Dortmund Export has lost much of its market, even on its home turf.

    In today’s Dortmund, there are effectively only two breweries left. There is the Dortmunder Actien-Brauerei (DAB), which markets, according to the package, its “world famous Dortmunder” under the name of “DAB Original.” DAB has an annual output of about 3.8 million hectoliters (approx. 3.25 million barrels). The other is the Dortmunder Union Brauerei (DUB) with an annual output of about 1.6 million hectoliters (approx. 1.35 million barrels).

    During the last decades of the 20th century, these two conglomerates absorbed virtually all other breweries in their neighborhood. The Kronen Brauerei, for instance, is now part of DAB. Other venerable pre-takeover brands included Thier and Stifts (both bought by DAB), and Ritter (absorbed by DUB).

    Source: Deutsches Bier Institute

    P.S: Matt, this is kinda fun. Keep it going!

  26. @George in Wheaton #33
    I’m not anti-Dortmunder, I’m just saying that, in Jever at least, the Pils is authentic and local. When next in the Ruhr district I will search out a big happy glass of Dortmunder just for you!
    -Matt Mills

  27. I agree Matt Mills about drinking the Kolsch in Cologne. Very smooth. Drink too many of them and you might actuallly begin to think the bones of the three wisemen are in that gold case at the cathedral.

  28. What a fine assortment of beer tastes. Yes, the Czech beers are great, but I must list my all time favorite German beer, and I will be attending your conference, pastor. That beer would be Kostritzer, it is a black lager, with a fine, smooth and slightly chocolate taste. The ladies like it too. This beer is a Saxon beer and the original brewery dates to the early 1540’s so I must think our great Reformation leader, Martin Luther, would have quaffed a few steins in his later days. if you travel to Saxony you will see it advertised on billboards by a nifty blonde in a black strapless gown with the words. “The black beer with a blonde soul.”

  29. Lest anyone get the impression that I am some sort of drive-by pietist for throwing out a beer with “Jesus” in the name, I’ll offer a few more suggestions. If you’re a DIPA fan, Evil Twin’s Molotov Lite is an excellent example of the style. It’s also – IMNSHO – one of the best values in craft beer, at around $10 for a four-pack of tallboys. If you like the Belgian-style ales, Unibroue’s Maudite (strong red ale) and La Fin du Monde (tripel) are top-notch. And I second the recommendations on Young’s Double Chocolate Stout, Samuel Smith’s Nut Brown Ale, and Orkney Skull Splitter. If you’re looking for a token domestic beer, I suggest Great Lakes Dortmunder Gold. (Imported from Ohio, of course.)

    Now back to my Imperial Biscotti Break Natale.

    Tom W.

    P.S. Basketball season doesn’t start for another month.

  30. Here’s a few recommendations, which if you have not tried them, you really should:

    Gaffel (German Kolsch), Paeffgen & Fruh are better, but you can’t get them in the US
    Kostritzer (German Black Lager)
    Trois Pistoles (Belgian strong dark by Unibrouque)
    Delerium Nocturnum (Belgian strong dark)
    Straffe Hendrick (Belgian Strong Ale)
    Shipyard Pumpkinhead (best of the pumpkin ales),
    Brother Thelonius (Belgian strong dark by North Coast)
    Elliot Ness by Great Lakes,
    Fraock (Scottish Gueze Beer with heather in lieu of Hops),
    Franziskanner Dunkel Weiss (great on winter nights!),
    Schlenkerna (German Rauchbier),
    Kentucky Bourbon Ale,
    Raison Detre by Dogfishhead,
    Gulden Draak (Belgian Strong)
    Duchess du Bourgeounge (Flemish Red Sour)
    Vienna Lager (Trader Joes. Actually ALL of their private label craft beer is EXCELLENT… and $6 per 6-pack!)

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