Trouble brewing

20 10 2016

The following is offered without further comment or apology:

Heinrich’s Beer Garden in Munich always celebrated Oktoberfest with a beer-judging competition, with a celebrity guest judge. One year a very surprising judge came forward: the Norse god, Thor. When Heinrich cautiously asked what his credentials were, as judge, Thor glowered and replied that he’d knocked back enough of the stuff in Valhalla to be able to tell the good stuff. Which sounded sensible, and there was no question that a Norse god in his tavern would be a drawcard, so Heinrich accepted Thor’s offer to judge.

It didn’t go well, though. When Thor, his speech slightly slurred and, if anything, a little louder than before, announced that only one brew was worthy of his commendation, Heinrich pointed out that the rules of the competition required that a prize be given to one entry each in the categories of lager, ale, stout, pilsener, porter … Thor cut him off, remarking that he’d only been served the one style of brew, and so of course he’d only found one winner. When Heinrich began, awkwardly, to remonstrate, Thor brought the argument to an abrupt close by bringing his weapon down on the bar, then stalking off.

The damage was severe. If it was to open again, Heinrich’s Beer Garden would be looking for new premises. When interviewed about the disastrous competition the next day, Heinrich said that he should have predicted the outcome, knowing what he did of the judge. “After all,” commented the rueful publican, “when what you have is a hammer, everything looks like an ale.”

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