Nothing says mutually assured destruction quicker than a frosty craft beer shared among honest folk. The world as you know it may be vaporized before your slowly melting eyes but, man, does that pilsner go down smooth.
At least that's what the fine folks over at Hardknott Brewery are banking on. The Cumbrian brewery, located in the northwestern corner of England, caused a bit of brew for itself recently after releasing a new beer to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the dropping of the atomic bombs on Japan.
The August 1945 bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki are to date the only use of nuclear weaponry during warfare. In addition to the conservative estimate of at least 129,000 Japanese deaths, countless other lives were lost and people maimed as a result of the dropping of the bombs known as "Little Boy" and "Fat Man." Regardless of your view on the necessity for the bombings, their release was certainly one of the darkest moments of humanity; the effects can still be felt in many ways today.
Hardknott's founder, David Bailey, felt the need to commemorate the anniversary and so named his new beer "Nuclear Sunset."
Bailey is quick to point out, however, that he is not, in his own words, "a daft hippy lunatic. For a start, I don't want to throw away everything we've learned about nuclear power, I think would be a shame. I'm more a concerned pragmatist." In fact, Bailey alleges he was once an engineer at the Sellafield nuclear reactor plant and he says he supports nuclear power.
However, he says he wanted to recognize the tragedy that marked the dawn of nuclear warfare. Hardknott, which uses the tagline "Serious About Beer," said in its announcement of Nuclear Sunset that "This beer was brought out to commemorate the awful loss of life during the first and only military deployment of nuclear weapons."
Bailey's feelings are nuanced. This is a man who appreciates the gray areas in life. He told The Drinks Business, "I'm in a quandary over this for two reasons. Partly because the local economy depends on [nuclear power] and also because with so much global conflict, how do we peacefully ensure stability?"
Still, this beer-maker wants world peace. He says, "I'd love the world to be free from aggression and for us all to have plentiful and economic resources. But I do feel that with the passing of the 70th anniversary of what was probably the two most destructive single attacks on humanity, we should carefully think about global conflict and global energy resources alike."
For now, production of Nuclear Sunset is limited, but if it takes off, you may find the new brew at an anti-war rally near you. But hopefully, we won't need one to begin with.