- Bob Dolci
Bob's Blog #3 - Beer or Wine?
Updated: Feb 21, 2020
Recently I’ve been pondering the difference between wine drinkers and beer drinkers. Just so that we’re all on the same page, beer includes ales and lagers. Maybe it just comes down to a matter of taste. Frankly I prefer wine over beer. I know that there are certain preconceptions relative to each. I certainly have ingrained mental images of each. My mental images tend to be somewhat fanciful. I’m not implying that existing stereotypes or my images are at all valid. Nor should I attribute my whimsical ideas to any member of our vine and wine society. But, I will. Before I share with you the images that I conjure up when I think of beer drinkers and wine drinkers, I feel compelled to let you know I see myself to be more inline mentally and physically with beer drinkers than wine drinkers.
Bob’s Mental Image of Beer Drinkers
It’s the dark ages. In a dimly lit and filthy tavern (yeah, somewhat of a rip-off), four brawny unkempt men are sitting around a rutted and stained table swilling pint size steins of warm beer. On the table are plates of under cooked meat. The four each have a chunk of greasy dripping beef in the dirty hand not grasping the stein. So as not to be compelled to later “delete”, I will leave out any mental image that I may or may not have of the women in the tavern. I did say that this is the dark ages. To complete the image, picture this if you will; the four men sitting around the table surprisingly look like Tony, Mike, Tom D and, yes, me. The four guys that look like the aforementioned, but clearly are not, are grungy, loud and totally obnoxious. They each have a broadsword and a longsword. The conversation is replete with crude language as they discuss some kind of medieval sporting event. At one point the guy that looks like Mike but clearly isn’t asks, “what do you think about this ale?”. The guy that looks like me but clearly isn’t responded, “…………………………..” (this section was deleted by the website censor). At one point they all start singing, “one hundred firkins of alu on the wall”.
Bob’s Mental Images of Wine Drinkers
During the height of the Roman Empire in a clean well-lit taberna (tavern) four men dressed in white togas (a dress for men) are sitting around a polished marble table drinking wine from pewter mugs. On the table are bowls of fruit, cheeses and meats. In the background a woman is playing the lyre. The four men look surprisingly like Rick, Stan, David, and Tom C. They each have some kind of weird plant wrapped around their head. For the sake of brevity, and because I don’t want to say, “the guy that looked like XX but clearly isn’t”, I shall just refer to them as Rick, Tom, David and Stan. Rick is complaining about the lack of public education and if nothing is done to better educate all Roman’s it will ultimately cause the fall of the Empire. David is presenting a different view point by pontificating on how the rise of Christianity will ultimately cause the fall of the Roman Empire (did you get the pun?).  Stan is complaining that the drought is going to result in fewer tonnage of grapes from his vineyard and without sufficient quantities of wine the Empire will surely fall. Men will not go to war without wine he further stated. Tom is complaining that the lack of adequate lupanars outside of Rome will result in unhappy legionnaires and unhappy legionnaires do not do well in battle.  “Enough said about politics” retorted the guy that looked like Rick but clearly isn’t. “What do you think of this wine?” he added. The guy that looked like Tom said, “it has a lovely bouquet, a touch of sweet cherry, and leaves a wonderful aftertaste on the back of my palate.” Can you picture these guys singing, “take one amphorae of wine from the wall and pass it around”? I don’t think so.
Once again, I remind you that I prefer wine over beer. Nonetheless, I ask you, what would John Wayne drink? Can you picture John Wayne drinking wine from a long-stemmed wine glass? No! As a cowboy I see him drinking beer followed by shots of whisky! Yeah, maybe in one of his WW II movies in his Navy dress white uniform I can picture him sitting at a table across from his lady friend with a glass of wine on the table. I cannot picture him actually drinking the wine. That would be like picturing John Wayne drinking soda through a straw. Ick!
The aforementioned beer drinkers are clearly not like the folks that I really know. Nor are the wine drinkers at all like….. well, maybe they are more like the guys that I know.
Ya know, when writing nonsensical drivel as above you will note that I tend to, for the most part, leave out the ladies within our group. Also, I tend to only pick on some of the guys. I pick on those that know me well enough to know that I mean no harm. Of course, I often wonder If I am causing discontent by not treating everyone within our group with equal humor. No doubt that I could have conjured up a mental vision of Wendy, Joy, Tina and Mary in the tavern. But I wisely didn’t (Well, actually I did I just wisely didn't include it. Don't tell Wendy). I could have done the same for the taberna. But I didn’t. Well, almost didn’t, somehow Carolyn crept into my mind’s eye. She was playing the Lyre. I probably should have included Randy in my beer drinking mental image. I can picture him with long hair, in a Germanic tunic, swilling beer. Maybe with a battle ax rather than swords.
For the sake of full disclosure, I should point out that I participated in several toga parties in my twenties. One more thing. Can you picture John Wayne drinking a craft beer from a micro-brewery or worse yet a light beer?
 A firkin is a small cask of beer.
 Alu is ale.
 There is sufficient reason to believe that the fall of the Roman Empire can be attributed to the rise of Christianity.
 The Roman word for brothel was lupanar, meaning a wolf den, and a prostitute was called a lupa ("she-wolf"). Yes, Christianity plaid a role here as well.
 An amphorae was a clay pot used to store and transport wine.