"It's the oldest story ever told — the struggle between good and evil," said Arthur, 35, a product of Catholic schools in his native San Diego. "There is a battle being waged between those who make good beer and those who make evil beer."
Without question, unholy excess is in evidence anytime 18,000 gallons of alcohol is served to 46,000 people over three days. See: women in Bavarian maid outfits and "Beer Pong" tables.
Yet perhaps surprisingly, God could be found at last week's Great American Beer Festival — in the crassly commercial, in homage to religion's long history in brewing, in needling faiths that turn a suspect eye on drinking, and (if the prophet of home-brewing is to be believed) at the bottom of every glass.
From Belgian ales brewed by monks and all the beer culture they have inspired, to Schmaltz Brewing Co.'s He'Brew, brewers have certainly embraced religious themes and imagery. They say not to talk about religion, politics or money at the dinner table - at the bar stool, the rules for one of those, at least, are relaxed.