WATERVILLE, Maine — After stepping down from the pastorate last month after fifty years in ministry, Albert Finley did something no one expected: he had his first beer.OK, my take on this is that he wasn't really unfamiliar with beer. Instead, he came out of the beer closet and used his retirement as an excuse. I say this because I don't know anyone who tries beer for the first time and thinks it's great. Beer is an acquired taste.
"I was curious what it actually tasted like, after all these years of preaching against it," he says.
"What a marvelous drink," he says. "It tastes much better than it smells."
The Sierra Nevada Pale Ale he chose delivered "surprisingly complex and satisfying tastes."
"I actually said ‘Praise God’ right in the middle of it," he says.
But people in his former congregation are not happy.
"He’s tarnishing the reputation of himself and this church," says one woman. "I always pointed to the pastor and told my kids, ‘See? There’s a man who has chosen not to drink.’ This puts a big question mark after everything he has preached."
Another says Finley reminds her of Noah, "a righteous man who ended up a worthless drunk," she says.
But Finley says he no longer has to be an example. He is also upset that he has held misconceptions about beer for so long.
But I'm willing to suspend disbelief and become BFS Dan long enough to think that Sierra Nevada Pale Ale could actually cause an epiphany in a former clergyman.