Welcome to Man O' War Brewery, celebrating and recognizing these two great hallmarks of civilization - beer and the sea! Dedicated to all who have sailed, lived, fought and died on the sea and ships, and to the wonderful drink that nourished them in the early days of sail, and still brings them enjoyment today.
When a Man O' War was too old for service, or a nation's navy was not in need of it's services, the ship was stripped down to a condition that required the absolute minimum amount of maintenance to keep it afloat until it was either broken up or re-activated. Such ships were said to be "in ordinary". Here you see HMS Implacable, 74 - originally the French Duguay-Trouin. Survivor of the Battle of Trafalgar, Duguay-Trouin was captured not two weeks later by the British and placed into service in the Royal Navy, with a new name, until she was scheduled for disposal in 1908. She languished in ordinary until 1949 and, despite efforts to raise money and save her, was scuttled. Now, only HMS Victory - 102 remains to remind us of that great sea battle.
To me, the ship in ordinary is a sad sight, a mere hulk devoid of life. If Implacable could have prayed, I'm sure she would have. Prayed for years for restoration, for rebirth, to once again have sailors walk her decks, swing in hammocks and bare-chested work her "Two-and-thirties" in heated action. To feel their knees and the holystones at their hands as they cleaned the spar deck, to feel them as they scramble up the shrouds and out on the yards to set, reef and furl canvas, to feel the pace of the captain and officers on the quarterdeck. To hear the violin's music and the sailors' songs.
How she must have wondered why, when she finally got underway on that cold December day in 1949, she was feeling none of these things. The scuttling of Implacable was a sad day for many in England who recognized the significance of the ship, the battle, and the importance of ships and the sea to humanity in general. "Implacable - Never Again" became a rallying cry for the World Ship Trust.
Here is another "ship in ordinary". My brewing equipment - left in storage, idle, growing dusty, the tubing useless and dry, waiting for a willing hand to employ it once again in a ritual nearly as old as civilization itself - the conversion of grain, with aided by water, yeast and flora, to the potion that has provided mankind with nourishment, with relaxation, indeed with a great deal of culture throughout the centuries. Like the sea and ships, beer and brewing are truly a mark of civilization.
Soon, when I have re-rigged and provisioned my ship, I will take in all lines and set out to re-learn the craft I reveled in as a young man. I look forward to sharing my experiences, hearing from other brewers and those interested in the sea and ships, especially the fighting ships of years long gone and the sailors who sailed them.
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