Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Days of the Beer, December 17

The beer for today is Brasserie de Bellavaux, Black.

On December 17, 1944, 90 unarmed American prisoners of war were executed by their German captors. This became known as the Malmedy massacre. It happened during the Battle of the bulge.

This war crime was committed by part of the 1st SS Panzer Division, under the command of Joachim Peiper.

Around noon, an American convoy of around 30 vehicles, mostly from the American 285th Field Artiller Observation Battalion, were around Malmedy, when it was attacked by Peiper's troops. Peiper immobilized the first and last vehicle, which forced the column to stop. The American's were forced to surrender.

Shortly thereafter the P.O.W.s were led to a field, where they were joined by others captured that day. For no apparent reason, the germans suddenly opened fire on the prisoners. Eventually, 43 survivors managed to reach the Allied lines.

It wasn't until January 14 that US forces reached the site and could perform an investigation. The bodies showed that several had suffered fatal gunshot wounds to the head from very close range. Others had fatal crushing or blunt trauma injuries most likely from a rifle butt. Some only had a single wound in the temple or behind the ear.

As to the beer:

Brasserie de Bellavaux is the only brewery in Malmedy. Black is their winter offering that comes in at 6.3% ABV, and is designed as an English black beer.

The Black is a beer out of the ordinary. The origin of this beer is a memory. A 'taste memory' which recalls a trip in the Yorkshire countryside in the seventies of last century and especially beers like Old Peculiar of the Theakston Brewery.
So, for the 90 US troops killed at Malmedy, have a black beer from Malmedy.

I'm not sure where you can find this beer.

Bill O'Reilly, in October 2005 and May 2006, claimed that the Malmedy massacre was committed by US troops instead of by Germans. He has never corrected his mistake.

"General, you need to look at the Malmedy massacre in World War II and the 82nd Airborne that did it."

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