Art of Craft ~ brews and reviews
By Greg Richardson

June is the month when summer begins and the month when Fathers Day happens.

There are people who live in parts of the world where June is first month when weather can be expected to be warm on a regular basis. In other hemispheres June is the beginning of winter.

Here in Southern California June is the month of gloomy mornings, even when we will have snow skiing until August. Morning fog holds on as the sun slowly burns through a marine layer of moisture.

Our cool, calm mornings give some of us opportunities to do more morning reading. We reserve our visits to breweries and tasting rooms for the afternoons.

I remember growing up, far from the nearest marine layer, spending my summers reading. Our local public library had a reading program each summer. I was a competitive reader.

There are several books about craft beer and spiritual life I recommend for your reading enjoyment this summer. They also make excellent gifts for Fathersí Day.

I have interviewed Bryan Berghoef, author of Pub Theology and Pub Theology 101, a couple of times. As a pastor in Michigan Bryan began inviting people into conversations about significant questions over beers at local tasting rooms. 

Bryanís book Pub Theology tells the story of how he came up with the idea and how his initial group got started. He writes about how conversations he arranges have changed his own theological perspectives.

His ebook, Pub Theology 101, is a how-to resource which helps people take the steps of starting and sustaining their own conversations and groups.

Another book which describes how beer can contribute to meaningful discussions of spiritual life is Craft Brewed Jesus by Michael Camp.

One book which looks at brewing from a more monastic perspective is Brew Like a Monk by Stan Hieronymous. Stan describes the more contemplative aspects of brewing and explains some of the reasons monasteries have such a sustained tradition of brewing excellent beers.

A book I recently found is The Beer Drinkerís Guide to God by William Miller.

Bill Miller is an Episcopal priest who was also co-owner Padreís, a live music venue and watering hole in Marfa, Texas.

The Beer Drinkerís Guide to God is an informative and engaging book. It is filled with stories which illustrate how beer contributes to spiritual life and understanding.

Bill describes the book as showing being upright does not mean we have to be uptight. He weaves together stories from his life as a pastor and preacher, conversations with Trappist monks, and evenings in his bar. His essays encompass the spiritual importance of generosity, sacrifice, openness, and spiritual transformation.

The stories in The Beer Drinkerís Guide to God illustrate how beer helps us appreciate spiritual life. The conversations and adventures he describes show us again how spiritual life draws us into relationship with other people.

There may be times when we find ourselves having conversations we never expected to have about new perspectives and insights. Each of us finds ourselves drawn into new friendships which spark our thinking.

Summer is an excellent season for us to explore new beers and make new friends. Long summer evenings give us extra opportunities to stretch ourselves and try unfamiliar flavors in new breweries and tasting rooms.

I hope these books will set us off on new adventures, new explorations.

Greg Richardson is a spiritual life mentor in Pasadena, California. He is passionate about craft brewing, listening, and monks and monastic life. Greg is a recovering attorney. Gregís website is StrategicMonk.com and he is on Twitter @StrategicMonk. You can email Greg at StrategicMonk@gmail.com, and he writes a blog for the Contemplativechannel on http://www.patheos.com.

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