Perturbed Hindus urge Portland brewery not to release “Kali-Ma” beer, brewery reacts

Kali-Ma

A new beer to be released from Burnside Brewing in Portland, OR has evoked some distress among Hindus. A new imperial wheaten ale with spices dubbed “Kali-Ma” is set to be released in bottles on Tuesday May 15. According to Burnside, the beer “is inspired by the Hindu goddess and her tribute in the movie Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom. The name Kali comes from k?la, which means black, time, death, lord of death, Shiva. Kali-Ma the beer is an Imperial wheat ale or wheat wine made with toasted cardamom, fenugreek, and cumin spices added in addition to almost 400 pounds of apricot. Fermented with a Belgian ale yeast harvested from Upright Brewing. We then dry hop it with 8 pounds of scotch bonnet and native India dandicut peppers.”

Rajan ZedRajan Zed, an Indo-American and Hindu statesman, President of Universal Society of Hinduism and Director of Interfaith Relations of Nevada Clergy Association, released an official press release denouncing Burnside’s thematic limited release. The release outlined negative connotations and impacts associated with the beer, deeming it as  “inappropriate usage of Hindu deities or concepts or symbols for commercial or other agenda was not okay as it hurt the devotees.” Such controversy might potentially lead to a reaction by Burnside, but will likely result in more attention for the brewery and their beer, potentially making the beer even more coveted by some. Here’s an official press release sent today by Zed:

Upset Hindus have urged Portland (Oregon) based Burnside Brewing Company not to release its “Kali-Ma” beer proposed for May 15, calling it inappropriate.

Hindu statesman Rajan Zed, in a statement in Nevada today, said that inappropriate usage of Hindu deities or concepts or symbols for commercial or other agenda was not okay as it hurt the devotees.

Zed, who is president of Universal Society of Hinduism, stressed that Goddess Kali was highly revered in Hinduism and she was meant to be worshiped in temples and not to be used in selling beer for mercantile greed.

Hinduism was the oldest and third largest religion of the world with about one billion adherents and a rich philosophical thought and it should not be taken lightly. Symbols of any faith, larger or smaller, should not be mishandled, Rajan Zed argued.

According to an announcement on “The Full Pint”, an online craft beer news publication, Burnside Brewing is releasing “Kali-Ma” on Tuesday, May 15. “Kali-Ma, is inspired by the Hindu goddess… Kali-Ma the beer is an Imperial wheat ale or wheat wine made with toasted cardamom, fenugreek, and cumin spices added in addition to almost 400 pounds of apricot. Fermented with a Belgian ale yeast harvested from Upright Brewing. We then dry hop it with 8 pounds of scotch bonnet and native India dandicut peppers.” “Come worship ‘the black one’ Kali as the ultimate reality or Brahman this Tuesday!” It shows the picture of goddess with four arms and three severed heads. Jason McAdam is the brew-master at the Company which is also organizing Annual Portland Fruit Beer Festival on June 9-10.

Goddess Kali, who personifies Sakti or divine energy, is widely worshiped in Hinduism. She is considered the goddess of time and change. Some Bengali poets described her as supreme deity. Moksh (liberation) is the ultimate goal of Hinduism.

More on Burnside’s Kali-Ma beer, from a brewery press release:

Burnside BrewingKali-Ma the beer is an Imperial wheat ale or wheat wine made with toasted cardamom, fenugreek, and cumin spices added in addition to almost 400 pounds of apricot. Fermented with a Belgian ale yeast harvested from Upright Brewing. We then dry hop it with 8 pounds of scotch bonnet and native India dandicut peppers.

Come worship “the black one” Kali as the ultimate reality or Brahman this Tuesday!

Burnside Kali Ma, in addition to all Burnside Beer is unfiltered.  This requires an increased time commitment, but pays dividends in the depth, character, and flavor profile of our offerings.

8.6% ABV
13.2 I.B.U.’s

UPDATE

Burnside Brewing Responds

It light of recent news that Burnside Brewing’s “Kali-Ma” beer had offended some Hindus, John Foyston of the Oregonian’s The Beer Here blog reports that the founders of the brewery have postponed the release of the beer and are scrapping the name.

To their credit, the folks at Burnside immediately postponed the May 15 release of the beer pending its renaming. Here’s the press release they sent…

We at Burnside Brewing co.aspire to create exceptional craft beer while sustaining an enjoyable, livable workplace for our crew of approximately 20 employees. In response to pleas from the Hindu community we have decided to postpone the limited release of “Kali-ma” our imperial wheat ale flavored with Indian spices and Scotch-Bonnet peppers. It is NEVER our intention at Burnside to offend or alienate any race, creed, religion or sexual orientation.

The inspiration for the beer label simply came from a favorite childhood movie in the “Indiana Jones” series and we were unaware that it could be offensive to anyone. We are currently scrambling to re-name the beer and intend to release it soon afterwards. To those who have been patiently waiting, we humbly ask that you wait just a little longer and to anyone we have offended we sincerely apologize. We will keep our loyal customers informed on the new release dates. Thank you for all your patience and understanding in this matter and we hope you will enjoy this ale and all the fine ales we produce here at Burnside.

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