Saturday, October 3, 2009


I have a new favorite German word: Frühschoppen. It has narrowly won out over my long time favorite: Stinktier, which means "skunk", but literally is "stinky animal" and also the only recently discovered Glühbirne, which means "light bulb" but literally is "glowing pear." You have to hand it to the Germans for being infinitely practical in their use of language.

I encountered Frühschoppen in the following sentence: "For example, it's not uncommon to see German men gathering after church for Frühschoppen (morning pint), a Sunday breakfast bonding session over bread, cheese, cold cuts, and a Hefeweizen'" The Germans have a word for the beer you drink on Sunday morning after church. As my 18 month old daughter loves to say: "WOW!" Unlike my other favorite German words, Frühschoppen is extremely unpractical, and not only that, my Norwegian ancestors would have looked with distain upon the practice of drinking beer in the late morning after church itself (though they probably would have partaken, just with guilty consciences) and certainly would never have coined a word for it. They would have called it "Dad is off in the garage again, don't you know." Frühschoppen is so much more direct.

The sentence I quoted above came from a magazine called "Beer Northwest" which I picked up at the Balefire Wine Bar in Everett, where I took my wife to celebrate her 30th birthday while taking advantage of a day of free babysitting by my parents. This was Tauni's first visit to Balefire, thought I been several times on previous visits with my dad (who has a mug in their mug club with "Pastor Mark" engraved on it). It's actually the place people from my dad's church go to share a beer after church (though not for Frühschoppen, they go after the evening service). I thought Tauni would enjoy it because they have 24 wines on tap (preserved with Argon gas) and it has 12 good beer taps for me (and I didn't even know about the bacon wrapped dates--Tauni's favorite). If the Balefire existed in Spokane I think it would be our regular hang out--the best of both worlds. Unfortunately, no such thing exists in Spokane to my knowledge. Too bad, I'll have to have my Frühschoppen at home.

The other thing that doesn't exist in Spokane is a magazine entitled "Beer Northwest" (though it should). Some highlights from the Table of Contents: "Two Wheels and Three Sheets: The DIY style of bicycles and beer in Portland, Oregon--page 20", "Take me out to the Ballgame: Learn the best places to find craft beer inside the Northwest's ball parks--pg 30"' "To Lemon, or Not to Lemon: The nuances of American and German Hefeweizens--page 34" (where the quote above came from) and "I 'Brew': Your wedding day is one of the most exciting days of your life; the beer you brew for the day should be equally monumental--page 52". If I were going to make up a beer magazine, these were the sorts of headlines I'd come up with. Amazingly enough there were actual articles to go with them. And now I feel reassured about my habit rejecting the lemon that comes with Hefeweizen (it does ruin it you know, the Germans know this) during my Frühschoppen.


  1. I love this blog post!! For some reason I really love the line at the end, "Amazingly enough there were actual articles to go with them." I think I love it because: 1) you (unlike most Americans, including news anchorpeople) actually know how to use an adverb, PRAISE GOD; 2) it made me laugh; and 3) it's such a funny Erik thing to say. :) I also love your favorite German words. :)

  2. Just more proof that Everett, Washington, is replacing the Fremont neighborhood of Seattle as the center of the universe.

    In a related subject, I have a friend who is a graduate of an Episcopal seminary that sums up theological approaches this way:

    1. Luther worked out his theology with friends over beer.

    2. Calvin worked out his theology in his study over wine.

    3. Anglicans worked out our theology in Parliament.

    Why does this make sense to me?

  3. Yes, Robert, but what about these oldies but goodies about your denomination?

    1) Wherever three our four Episcopalians are gathered you are sure to find a fifth.

    2) How many Episcopalian's does it take to change a lightbulb? Two. One to change the lightbulb and one to pour the sherry.

    Next time I'm in Everett for more than 24 hours, I'll see you at the Irishman for a pint on me.