Beer in the Talmud

At our alumni event this past week, we sampled some craft beers. I complemented the sampling with a brief talk on beer in the Talmud (Pesachim 113a). Here is a highlight:Noah Morris, David Reghay, Shaul Wertheimer pic

The Talmud asks why a beer brewer is called by the Aramaic word Sudnah. Rav Chisda answers that the word is a composite of Sod Na’eh, a pleasant secret. The Ben Ish Chai explains that when beer is brewed properly (which is a sod, secret, because you need to learn the craft from someone who learned it from someone who etc…), and one drinks it for the sake of Heaven, it becomes na’eh, pleasant, i.e. it is beneficial to one’s health.