I’m clearing out the leftovers from the holidays and came across Pickled Santa from the Hop Back Brewery in Salisbury, Wiltshire, UK. The name of this beer is more appropriate than it may seem. Here is, as excerpted from my book Fermenting Revolution, the story of Santa Claus:
“It might astonish you to know that Saint Nicholas, better known as the gift–giver we call Santa Claus, is also officially listed by the Church as a Patron Saint of Brewing. It was in the early 4th century that St. Nick served as Bishop of Myra, a land located in modern-day Turkey. Nick was a rich man who took great joy in using his wealth for the benefit of others.
According to one legend, three young church scholars stopped at an inn for nourishment and lodging. The innkeeper was greedy and evil and slew them for their money. Furthermore, because people in that land were enduring a great famine, the innkeeper sliced the corpses, pickled them in a barrel of brine, and sold their salty flesh as beer snacks. Now jolly old Nick happened by this perilous pub that very same evening. Given the famine, he was surprised when the innkeeper offered a plate of salted meat with his beer. Nick grew suspicious and snuck into the kitchen where he found the three boys floating in the barrel of brine. He wasted no time in miraculously reviving them into whole and healthy lads again. Thus, St. Nicholas earned the honor of Patron Saint of Brewers, Coopers, and Honest Innkeepers.”
And that is the story of how Santa Claus saved three boys in a pickle.