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加拿大云杉啤酒:瓶中的圣诞树

更新时间:2019/1/9 20:31:13 来源:纽约时报中文网 作者:佚名

Canada's Christmas tree in a bottle
加拿大云杉啤酒:瓶中的圣诞树

In a little poutine shop on the eastern side of Montreal’s Canal de Lachine, I breathed a sigh of relief as the server placed a heavy, dark-brown bottle on my table. Beads of condensation were already rolling down its side, stirring within me an odd sense of sympathy at having found a companion who was perspiring as profusely as I was.

在蒙特利尔拉欣运河(Canal de Lachine)东岸的一家肉质奶酪薯条店(肉质奶酪薯条是加拿大魁北克一种特色快餐),当服务员把一个笨重的深棕色瓶子放在我的桌子上时,我松了一口气。凝结的水珠在瓶子的侧面顺流而下,令我心里有了一种奇怪的感同身受,因为找到了一个跟我一样汗流浃背的同伴。

So far, I had found the European influence in Quebec’s largest city quite charming: the chatter of French in cafes; the freshly baked brioche for breakfast; the murmur of street-side jazz wafting through the summer air. But, although I’d usually consider it admirable, the one European sensibility I was currently not enjoying was the pronounced dearth of air conditioning. I had arrived in the middle of one of Montreal’s worst heatwaves in decades.

到目前为止,我发现欧洲在蒙特利尔这座魁北克最大城市中留下了迷人的影响力:咖啡馆里的法语闲聊;新鲜出炉的法式早餐奶油蛋卷;街头悠扬的爵士乐在夏日的空气中飘荡。不过,尽管我通常会认为这挺好的,但我眼下并不欣赏没有空调这样一种很欧洲的感觉。我来蒙特利尔恰逢几十年来最严重的热浪。

I raised the bottle and poured its contents into a frosted mug. The clear, effervescent brew had scarcely foamed to the top before it was at my lips. As I eagerly took my first sip, I was immediately hit with the unmistakable, biting taste of conifer – like a liquefied Christmas tree. This was my first bière d'épinette, or spruce beer.

我举起瓶子,把里面的东西倒进一个磨砂马克杯。那杯清澈、冒着泡的啤酒刚刚漫到杯子顶部,我就迫不及待地端至嘴边。急切地灌下第一口,我立刻就明确无误地被刺鼻的针叶树味道击中,这味道就像是一棵液化了的圣诞树。这是我第一次喝云杉啤酒。

Despite its name, the drink contains a negligible amount of alcohol; it’s more like a root beer (a sweet, North American soft drink) than a lager or ale. Even so, on such a sweltering day, it wouldn’t feel a stretch to say the drink saved my life. As legend has it, this beer has something of a reputation for saving lives.

尽管它叫啤酒,其实里面的酒精含量可以忽略不计;它更像根啤(一种甜味北美软饮),而不是窖藏啤酒或淡啤酒。即便如此,在这样一个闷热的天气里,说这杯饮料救了我的命也不为过。据传说,这种啤酒还真救过很多人的命。

Dany Roy is the proprietor and spruce brewmaster of this poutine shop, Paul Patates. Though factory-produced spruce beer is commercially available in many Canadian supermarkets, Roy’s particular brew has gained something of legendary status among locals. As far as Roy knows, his restaurant is one of a few remaining places in Canada where one can find authentic, homemade spruce beer. Brewed and bottled in the shop’s small back room, Roy’s spruce beer is still made ‘the old fashioned way’, through fermentation and yeast (though the process is stopped while the alcohol content is minimal). Though the recipe has remained relatively unchanged over the last century, Roy claims the story of spruce beer’s origins stretches back even further.

罗伊(Dany Roy)是这家名叫保罗·帕特兹(Paul Patates)的肉质奶酪薯条店的店主和云杉啤酒酿酒师。尽管加拿大的许多超市都能买到大批量生产的云杉啤酒,但罗伊的特酿在当地享有某种传奇的地位。据他所知,他的餐厅是加拿大为数不多的几个还可以找到正宗自制云杉啤酒的地方之一。罗伊的云杉啤酒在小店的后屋酿造和装瓶,仍然是通过发酵和使用酵母的"老派方法"酿造(尽管在酒精浓度极低的情况下,这个过程其实会终止)。罗伊说,尽管上个世纪云杉啤酒的配方基本没有什么变化,但云杉啤酒的起源可以追溯到更为久远的时代。

“First of all, we all know that the spruce beer was made by the [indigenous peoples]. They used it like a medicine,” he explained. Of course, the spruce beer used by the First Nations peoples was a far cry from the fizzy pop found in Roy’s shop. Theirs was a decoction made by boiling the ground bark and leaves of coniferous trees. One of the earliest written mentions of the drink and its purported medicinal properties came from the accounts of French navigator Jacques Cartier. In the account of Cartier’s exploration of the St Lawrence River in the winter of 1536, an unnamed sailor wrote of a vicious bout of scurvy, caused by a Vitamin C deficiency, that ravaged the expedition.

“首先,我们都知道云杉啤酒是(原住民)酿造的。他们把它当药来用,” 他解释。当然,原住民喝的云杉啤酒和罗伊店里的汽水大不相同。原住民的云杉啤酒是一种用针叶树的树皮和树叶煮沸而成的煎剂。关于这种饮料及其所谓的药物特性,最早的书面记载之一来自法国航海家卡蒂埃(Jacques Cartier)的描述。在一篇关于卡蒂埃1536年冬对圣劳伦斯河探险的文章中,一位名字不详的水手写道,由于维生素C缺乏,探险队出现了严重的坏血病。

“The sickness broke out among us accompanied by most marvellous and extraordinary symptoms,” the author wrote. “For some lost all their strength, their legs became swollen and inflamed, while the sinews contracted and turned as black as coal… of the 110 men forming our company, there were not 10 in good health so that no-one could aid the other, which was a grievous sight considering the place where we were.”

此人写道,“这种病在我们中间爆发,伴随着许多不可思议的、非同寻常的症状。一些人完全没了力气,他们的双腿肿胀、发炎,肌肉收缩,变得跟煤一样黑……探险队110号人,身体健康的不到10个,所以大家都一筹莫展,考虑到我们所在之处的偏远,这相当令人绝望。”

Just as things looked darkest for Cartier and his men, salvation came from the local Iroquois tribe in the form of a life-saving elixir. Made from the boiled bark and evergreen tips of a regional conifer, the concoction reportedly cured every man bold enough to try it. “A whole tree as large and as tall as any I ever saw was used up,” the account reads, “and produced such a result that had all the doctors of Louvain and Montpellier been there, with all the drugs of Alexandria, they could not have done so much in a year as did this tree in eight days.”

就在卡蒂埃和他的人马陷入绝望的时候,当地的易洛魁部落提供了救命的灵丹妙药。它是用当地一种针叶树煮熟的树皮和常绿树叶调制而成,据说,每个敢于尝试的人都恢复了健康。那篇文章写道,“我看过的一棵最高最大的树,树皮和树叶被采用完了。结果非常理想,即或比利时鲁汶和法国蒙彼利埃的所有医生都在这里,使用亚历山大全部的药物治疗一年,也做不到这棵树8天就能产生的效果。”

Named ‘Anneda’ by the local tribes, the exact species of the tree is still a mystery, though it is thought to have been the white cedar or the balsam fir. Regardless of the species, evergreen trees in general contain surprisingly high concentrations of Vitamin C in their needles.

那棵树被当地部落称之为“Anneda”,确切的种类至今仍然是个谜,不过大家认为应该是白雪松或香脂冷杉。不管是哪种树,常绿树木的针叶中都含有丰富的维生素C。

Though the decoction written about in the accounts of Cartier’s voyage is more a herbal tea than the effervescent beverage Roy sells, Roy considers this to be one of the earliest forms of modern spruce beer. “That’s where it all started,” Roy said. “After that, people transformed it. They started fermenting it.”

虽然关于卡蒂埃航海的文字记录中提到的煎剂更像是草药茶,而不是罗伊卖的气泡饮料,但他认为,这是现在云杉啤酒最早的形式。罗伊说,“开始就是那样的,之后人们做了改良。他们开始用发酵的方式来制作。”

The fermented iteration of spruce beer enjoyed a stint of fame, rising to prominence after it was praised and popularised by famed nutritionist James Lind in his Treatise on Scurvy published in 1753. After observing its effects on sailors afflicted with scurvy, Lind wrote:

著名营养学家林德(James Lin)在1753年出版的名著《坏血病专论》中赞扬和推广经过发酵的云杉啤酒后,这种啤酒开始为人所知。在观察了对患有坏血病的水手疗效后,林德写道:

“Spruce beer, made of the black spruce, either fresh or dried, or from its essence, is an excellent medicine. This beer must be drank daily, and the parts affected with the eruption [of scurvy] bathed with it night and morning.”

“由黑色云杉酿制的云杉啤酒,无论是鲜啤酒还是熟啤酒,或从云杉啤酒提炼的东西,都是一种极好的药物。这种啤酒必须每天喝,患坏血病的部位早晚都要用它来清洗。”

Lind’s writings inspired the British Navy to make the elixir a standard ration for long sea voyages. It was even lauded by Captain Cook in his written accounts of his voyages across the world. Cook’s own recipe, which he penned in his first volume of A Voyage to the South Pole and Round the World, called for a decoction of boiled spruce branches and tea leaves, with the addition of molasses and yeast to initiate the fermentation process. He found the brew to be so effective that in later writings he listed it as part of a daily regimen said to ‘remove all seeds of scurvy from our people’.

林德的书启发了英国海军,使这种灵丹妙药成为长途航海的标准配给品。甚至库克船长在他的环球航行的书面记载中也对其赞不绝口。库克在《南极和环球航行》(A Voyage to the South Pole and Round the World)第一卷写下了自己的配方。他要求用水煮云杉树枝和茶叶熬汤,还要加入糖蜜和酵母启动发酵过程。他发现这种饮料非常有效,以至于在后来的文章中,他把它列为日常养生的一部分,谓之“清除我们身上所有的坏血病种子”。

However, nutrient-rich as spruce tips are, it’s now known that their Vitamin C content diminishes significantly with boiling and is virtually non-existent after prolonged fermentation. In spite of Cartier’s experience with the drink, the fermented, alcoholic brews of Cook and Lind were not likely to have any curative properties.

然而,尽管云杉叶尖营养丰富,但现在人们知道了,云杉针叶的维生素C含量随着煮沸会显著减少,经过长时间发酵后会几乎消失殆尽。尽管卡蒂埃体验过这种饮料的神奇,库克和林德经过发酵酿制含酒精的啤酒,不大可能有任何疗效。

Roy’s modern version is yet another adaptation, as he no longer boils spruce sprigs but instead uses spruce essence, which he claims makes for a cleaner flavour. Still, even though the recipe and preparation methods have changed since the time of Cartier, the myth surrounding spruce beer’s purported healing qualities has endured.

罗伊的云杉啤酒也是现代改良版,因为他不是煮沸云杉树枝,而是榨取云杉的汁液,他说其味道更清新。不过,尽管自卡蒂埃以来,云杉啤酒的配方和制作工艺发生了很大变化,但围绕其疗效的神话却依然存在。

“I wouldn’t say that it can cure people, but sure enough people who come here in the winter swear that they don’t catch a cold, all because they’re drinking the spruce beer,” Roy said, a note of scepticism in his voice.

罗伊带着怀疑的口气说道,“我不会说云杉啤酒能治病,但可以肯定的是,很多冬天来这里的人都说他们之所以没有感冒,是因为喝了云杉啤酒。”

Though the wonders of spruce beer may never have reached international renown, it nevertheless maintained its hold in Canada – specifically in Quebec, as Roy explained. “People here used to brew it in their bathtubs, back in the ‘20s and ‘30s,” Roy said, “When they finished brewing they put it in heavy bottles, usually Champagne ones, and brought it to their roofs to ferment. When the bottles started popping, that’s how you knew the spruce beer was ready.”

虽然云杉啤酒的神奇可能永远不会享誉国际,但正如罗伊解释的那样,在加拿大,尤其是在魁北克,其地位是不可动摇的。罗伊说,“在上世纪二三十年代,这里的人会在家里用浴缸来酿造这种啤酒,酿造好了之后,放在笨重的瓶子里,通常是香槟瓶,然后放在屋顶上发酵。当瓶子开始发出砰砰的响声时,他们知道云杉啤酒可以喝了。”

Roy’s own brand of spruce beer has become a cultural icon. Roy’s father Paul opened the restaurant in the 1950s, but the recipe Roy uses has been around since the 1800s. Using no factory machines or carbonators, Roy does his brewing alone in a small, temperature-controlled room in the back of the restaurant. He’s remarkably secretive about his process, but he did indulge me with the knowledge of two key ingredients: oil extracted from black spruce, just as Lind recommended; and the water from Montreal, which Roy claims to have just the right purity level to produce his spruce beer’s unique taste.

罗伊拥有的云杉啤酒品牌已经成为了一个文化符号。罗伊的父亲保罗在上世纪50年代开了这家餐厅,但罗伊使用的酿造啤酒的方子来自19世纪。他没有使用工业设备或者碳化器,而是在餐厅后面一间带温控的小房子里自己酿酒。他对自己的制作过程守口如瓶,但还是向我透露了两种关键成分:就像林德推荐的,从黑云杉中提取的杉油,以及来自蒙特利尔的水,他说这些水的纯度恰到好处,得以酿造出独特的云杉啤酒。

For those outside Montreal hoping to get a taste of the legendary brew, options are scant. Roy’s spruce beer has a short shelf life, so it must be enjoyed fresh. What’s more, the heavy brown bottles are for more than just show; they’re the only bottles strong enough to withstand the pressure built up during fermentation, but if not properly temperature-controlled, they run the risk of exploding. In order for customers to qualify for a special delivery, Roy said that they must have extenuating circumstances.

对于蒙特利尔以外的酒客,希望品尝这一传奇啤酒,机会不大。罗伊的云杉啤酒保质期很短,所以必须新鲜饮用。更重要的是,笨重的棕色瓶子不仅仅是为了好看,它们是唯一能够承受发酵过程所产生的压力的瓶子,但如果温度控制不当,还有爆炸的危险。罗伊说,顾客要想享受特殊递送服务,他们得想法减压才行。

“There was a man in Newfoundland who was dying of cancer. His last wish was to taste real spruce beer one more time, so his wife contacted me,” Roy recalled. “It’s usually a problem to ship it by plane because of the pressure, but I made some phone calls and there was a pilot who agreed to keep it in the cockpit with him. In the end, he was able to have it before he passed. That was the only time we ever shipped it this way.”

罗伊回忆说,“纽芬兰有个奄奄一息的癌症患者。他最后的愿望就是能在去世之前,再喝到一次真正的云杉啤酒,于是他太太联系了我。因为压力的原因,用飞机运肯定不行,我打了几个电话,最后有个飞行员同意把酒放在驾驶舱。最后,他的心愿在过世之前得到了满足。那是唯一一次,我们用这种方式发货。”

For most people, a trek to Montreal is all they need to do to get their hands on a genuine spruce beer. Although no promises can be made about whether it can cure any ailments, there’s still something to be said for the invigorating taste of fresh spruce on a hot summer day in Canada.

对于大多数人来说,要喝到真正的云杉啤酒,他们必须长途跋涉到蒙特利尔。虽然不能保证这种啤酒能治病,但在加拿大的炎炎夏日,新鲜云杉啤酒的爽口味道,仍然会令人回味不已。

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