We gather together to enjoy the fruits of the harvest, of goodwill and fellowship. It is Bryan’s hope that, with each sip, his beer will inspire the same affections in you.
We raise a toast to you, to yours, and to freedom. May you never know want.
Words from apprentice brewer Bryan O’Neill
On December 5th, 1933, the 21st Amendment was ratified, thus repealing the Prohibition of alcohol in the United States. Known today as Repeal Day, this is indeed a historic and oft celebrated day for brewers and beer enthusiasts alike. I am honored to hold the distinct privilege of having brewed my Apprentice Series ale on the 79th anniversary of the passing of the 21st Amendment.
I love history. During his 1941 State of the Union address, FDR articulated what he strongly believed to be the four fundamental freedoms, which should be available to everyone in the world. The four being Freedom of Speech, Freedom of Worship, Freedom from Want, and Freedom from Fear. It is with the third freedom that I feel a particular resonance. I have always believed that there is plenty for all, and that all good things in the world are made meaningful when shared. Beer, the fruit of the harvests and the yardstick of abundance, has become a warm representation of this ideology.
I love art. In 1943, Norman Rockwell produced a series of oil paintings inspired after the Four Freedoms. Freedom from want depicts a family seated for Thanksgiving dinner, my favorite day of the year. There is nothing like all the turkey and trimmings beside a glass of Saison. The painting captures the joy and warmth of food and family and shared experience. I’ve always enjoyed Rockwell’s paintings for their unambiguous, unpretentious, wholesome attributes – all incidentally admirable characteristics in a beer.
I love beer. I also love the people who make and drink beer. Everyone I’ve had the pleasure of working with here at White Birch has proven themselves to be excellent and admirable people. I’m ever grateful for my apprentice opportunity as well as the opportunity I’ve been given to take the beer on the road and host tastings across Massachusetts. Of all the enriching experiences I’ve had, my apprenticeship at White Birch distinguishes itself as the most inspirational.
I’d like to thank Paul Casey, for being generally awesome and bringing the Apprentice Program to my attention. I’ve never had a question that Paul hasn’t had an answer to (rhetorical ponderings not withstanding). Ever the encyclopedic epicurean, his enthusiasm for food and drink has been an inspiration for many years.
Thanks to all of you. Above all else I enjoy pouring the beer. Hunter S. Thompson said it well enough. “Good people drink good beer.” There is little else quite so invigorating and satisfying as talking about beer with people who love beer.