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Sunday, January 6, 2013

In Pursuit of The Verger's Tipel

Bill Gleason of the Episcopal Church of the Resurrection in Franklin, Tennessee was intrigued by recent discussion started by Bill Rhines of St. David's Episcopal inKennebunk ME about an ale named "Verger's Tipple". This topic was noticed and also followed by many on the V-List online discussion group. The two “Bills” were serving together at a memorial service at St. David’s so, while in the vicinity, one directed the other to the source of the discussion topic.

Ever aware and enterprising in his research, Bill G. took occasion to find and visit the Post Road Tavern in Ogunquit, Maine early in 2013. This popular tourist spot on the historic Maine coast, is known for its beers and ales, which are actually brewed next door at the Rocky Coast Brewery.  

Bill G. reports that the Tavern owner is a member of St. Davids and works as an acolyte and member of the altar guild. His brew master, British by descent (how appropriate), is also a St. David's parishioner and an acolyte and Eucharistic Minister who is very familiar with the ministry of the Verger as practiced in the Church of England.

The companion brew, "Parson's Stout" is said to be named for the St. David's Rector. Bill R. writes that he often is introduced at the Tavern as the verger after whom the beer is named thus prompting discussions among those present of just what a verger does in the church (in-season many tourists are very interested in the resulting first-hand exposition of local history). Often, Bill R. says, his, now-fluent, stories about our ministry earn the price of his glass gladly paid by visitors.

So what about the "Verger’s Tipple" ale? Bill G. reported it to be amber, smooth and creamy, while the "Parson’s Stout" is dark, sweet and coffee-like in taste. This time of year, visitors have no problem being seated. But brace yourselves: the temperature this week in January in Ogunquit was just over zero.

We associate with England through our verger, so, however tangential an ale name may be, cuisine tied to the old country brings us a certain nostalgic refreshment to help wash down good food and have a laugh over our ministry being mentioned on a tavern menu on the coast of Maine.