Kali-Ma, is inspired by the Hindu goddess and her tribute in the movie Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom. The name Kali comes from kāla, 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.Hindu gods are almost irresistible to Americans. To Yanks, they're gothic in a graphic novel mode, exotic, and very difficult to relate to as divinity. Thus do they get repurposed as packaging to hawk just about every product sold in America. Thanks to India Pale Ales, they do a lot of heavy lifting in the beer realm in particular. Kali is particularly vivid, and the label art exploits her most exotic qualities. Even the mention of that crappy second Indy movie is instructive: so offensive was the movie to Hindus that the Indian government banned it (though admittedly they're quick to ban controversial art). So, leaving aside the beer, which I haven't tried, is this 1) a silly but harmless reappropriation of Indian religious themes, or 2) an (albeit unintentionally) offensive use of Indian religion?
Come worship "the black one" Kali as the ultimate reality or Brahman this Tuesday!
I'm a bit on the fence. A lot of this is context. It would be tremendously offensive to place the image of Muhammad, offensive to many Muslims by its very existence, on a bottle of beer. But Hindu gods are regularly harnessed to sell products even in India. Beer? Okay, that moves us closer to the line.
It would have been nice if Burnside had done enough research that they didn't have to cut and paste Kali's description right off the Wikipedia page. Kali is an interesting figure in Indian cosmology. The description mentions that her name means time, and this begins to hint at her significance. She is the destructive force that in identical to the creative force--with birth must inevitably come death. The Hindi word for tomorrow, कल, is the same as the word for yesterday. The Indian cycle of rebirth is something to be escaped; Kali is part of the creative/destructive nature of the fallen world we inhabit, samsara,
How does all that relate to a wheat wine? Beats me, but it would have been nice to see it worked into the whole concept a bit more adroitly. And that last reference to brahman? Don't even get me started....