Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Over the Full Moon

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Over the Full Moon

Article excerpt

Byline: By Alastair Gilmour

AAOWOOOOOOOWW.

The moon will be full on Sunday, an occasion traditionally associated with werewolf activity, suicides, mental illness, disasters and accidents.

But it's a coupling that is scientifically without foundation ( exhaustive studies have failed to find conclusive links between the wax/wane cycle and human behaviour. The lunar superstition has persisted throughout the world since we first deduced it wasn't made of green cheese.

Books, films and folklore perpetuate the myth of lunar influence and just one piece of anecdotal evidence will trump 10 scientific studies any day ( because it's more exciting that way.

Many of us think that since the moon affects the ocean's tides it must be such a powerful force that it involves the human body as well. The moon actually creates a very weak tidal force (American astronomer George O Abell claims that a mosquito exerts more gravitational pull on your arm than the moon does) and it doesn't cause earthquakes. It's responsible for some terrific beer from Switzerland, though.

On Sunday, at exactly 9pm, the master brewer from the Locher Brewery in the canton of Appenzell will open a valve for soft spring mountain water to surge into the copper ( just as he always does on the night of a full moon. Malt and hops will be added and, at six o'clock on Monday morning, the yeast is pitched in.

"It is the influence of the full moon that gives the beer its special taste and strength," says RenA Seidl, a young beer enthusiast who has been appointed to distribute Vollmond (Full Moon) Bier to the UK through his company, Suisse Connection. RenA is a music agent by day ( promoting conductors ( and his girlfriend is a singer with English National Opera.

He is level-headed and bright enough to realise that the weight of superstition and the power of tradition provide beer with a commanding sales message.

Appenzeller Vollmond Bier (5.2%) is totally organic with a superb maltiness in its aroma and flavour. The label reads: "Only when the moon is full is the time truly right. By its silvery light, our master brewer descends into the vaults to work his wonders. Blessed by the mythical powers of the celestial body in all its glory, within Vollmond Bier lies the magical force of nature." Helpfully, it also lists all the full moons until the best-by date.

"My Swiss grandmother would only cut my hair on a growing moon," says RenA. "That way you are supposed to have healthier hair and be less prone to hair loss."

For years we've tried lotions and potions, but wished we'd known the full barnet question could have been answered simply by a scissor-scything superstitious Swiss granny.

RenA explains that the full moon tradition was revived in 1991 when two innkeepers, fed up with the influx of mass-produced foreign beer, approached the Locher Brewery to come up with a beer that owed more to Swiss brewing heritage. …

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