Revolution and Beer…of the week: St Bernardus Abt 12, and the Art of the journey

What’s that old, saying, “when you get to a fork in the road, take it?” That’s how I’ve always approached the open road and, to a larger degree, life. What does that have to do with beer, particularly a fine Belgian Ale brewed in a Flanders Abbey? You’ll just just have to wait and see.

A few years back I was on a business trip to Germany, visiting the little town of Raunheim on the Main River just south of Frankfurt. There is nothing especially interesting about Raunheim. It is a pleasant enough town that can be driven through in about 5 minutes, even if you hit all the lights on the main strasse.
So, arriving early one sunday I grabbed a rental and took off, sort of headed southwest towards Bastogne Belgium, but not headed directly there. I’ve always wanted to visit Bastogne, site of the Battle of the Bulge during the Second World War, but it was less about getting there as it was about the journey. I thrilled at reaching that historic city, but was just as swept up in what I would discover along the way.

Half way to Weisbaden, about 45 minutes south of Raunheim, I slipped purposely off the highway, following backroads, through small German towns, rolling hills and vineyards, and great windmill farms. It was a bright and warm September day, the trees hadn’t turned yet and were still full and green. Scattered, towering thunderheads moved north from France. The warm breeze through the window of my little metallic-blue Opel hatchback was scented with rain. I passed quickly through little Luxembourg into Belgium’s sweeping hills, storybook villages and banks of towering pines.003

Recalling this I am coveting a stein of St. Bernardus Abt 12, an artfully blended Belgian Ale. In Bastogne I sat at a small sidewalk cafe with a beer, sitting alone and pondering the journey the town had made in nearly seven decades since the war. I recalled growing up on images of Vietnam as a child, and how many years later it was a North Vietnamese official with the United Nations that helped me get into besieged Sarajevo. It was a lesson that hearts, are on journeys as well.

It is said that the Brewery at St. Bernardus was founded in 1946, just after the end of the war. The water used to brew the very bottle off Ale I’m drinking now fell upon Flanders during the life of Jeanne D’Arc. So this smooth Ale, rich in malts, with a craftfully balance sweetness, and not a hint of bitterness likewise made a journey.
I often recall that journey to Bastogne. I can’t recall precisely the beer I had at that street-side cafe. Lifting the glass of St. Bernardus to the light, as it filters softly through that wildflower honey color, and wisps of sediment, and recall that when the check came and that beer cost 7 Euros, or almost 11 US Dollars, that it too was part of the journey. I wouldn’t have paid a penny less.

Catch 900poundgorilla’s WC Turck with Brian Murray and the whole Our Town gang every Sunday 8-9am on Chicago’s Progressive Talk, WCTP during the Revolution and Beer segment, and find out more about all of the great craft Beers we feature by googling Louis Glunz Beer, Inc. Like us on Facebook at Revolution and Beer, or subscribe for free to

About 900poundgorilla

W.C. Turck is a Chicago playwright and the author of four widely acclaimed books.His latest is "The Last Man," a prophetic novel of a world ruled by a single corporation. His first novel, "Broken: One Soldier's Unexpected Journey Home," was reccommended by the National Association of Mental Health Institutes. His 2009 Memoir, "Everything for Love" chronicled the genocide in Bosnia and the siege of Sarajevo. His third book "Burn Down the Sky" is published exclusively on Amazon Kindle. It was in Sarajevo at the height of the siege where he met and married his wife, writer and Artist Ana Turck. FOX NEWS, ABC, CBS News, the Chicago Tribune and The Joliet Herald covered their reunion after the war. He helped organized relief into Rwanda during the 1994 genocide. Turck has been a guest on WMAQ-TV, WLS in Chicago, WCPT, WBBM radio, National Public Radio, Best Of the Left and the Thom Hartmann show. He has spoken frequently on Human Rights, Genocide and Nationalism. In 2011, his play in support of the Occupy Movement, "Occupy My Heart-a revolutionary Christmas Carol" recieved national media attention and filled theaters to capacity across Chicago. He remains an activist to the cause of human rights and international peace. View all posts by 900poundgorilla

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