The cakes and ale tradition is most often an afterthought, tacked on to the end of the ritual for the sake of bringing everyone “back down to earth.”
But instead of some stale cookies and quick chalice full of whatever beer is in the fridge, why not make this full moon special by turning cakes and ale into a post-ritual after party?
Sometimes called the Pink Moon, or the Planter’s Moon, the apex of the April lunar cycle is an esbat of celebration to welcome the new season. This one is super special because it also happens to be the night of a lunar eclipse!
And I say, “What better way to celebrate than with beer and sugar?”
The bakeries are usually closed at night, so we just picked a restaurant. I try to chose local restaurants, and pick a different one every time.
One of the nice things about going out for just cakes and beer as opposed to a full meal is that you can try some of the fancier restaurants in your neighborhood without breaking your budget, so feel free to pick something a step up from what you’d normally choose. If you’re going with your family, a coven or a group, lots of places have desserts to share.
I like the idea of finishing off at a brewery. I think it enhances the sense of camaraderie and it’s a nice way to “seal” the experience.
Or, you may even make decide to make it a ritual unto itself.
I was inspired to start doing this by a recent trip to Germany, where we had the good fortune of tasting some of the best beers in the world. It was very nice to be able to pick up such amazing brews at the even the simplest corner grocery stores.
Our favorite Stateside location for this is a German restaurant in Georgetown called Old Europe. This charming little restaurant has its own magical quality, and atmosphere contributes to the spirit of the cakes & ale experience. I love the enormous, artful ship model hanging over the bar!
Have fun with this idea, and check back next month for more ways to mix up your Esbat!