Episode 60 – 1521 Year in Review

Mike Yagley and Evan Gaertner review the Reformation events of 1521. Included in this episode:

  • Dr. Martin Luther’s excommunication through the papal bull, Decet Romanian Pontificem.
  • Diet of Worms and Luther declares, “Here I stand!”
  • Luther “kidnapped” to the Wartburg
  • Luther writes his Commentary on the Magnificat as a gift for John Frederick
  • While Hiding at the Wartburg, Luther translates Erasmus’ Greek New Testament to German
  • Luther continues his thoughts from Babylonian Captivity in November 1521 Treatise on The Misuse of the Mass
  • Growing Controversy with Andreas Karlstadt

Beer Break

The Beer Break features a beer from Unplugged Brewing Company. The beer is Dudley’s Golden Ale which is exclusively available at the Huggy’s Social House in Vermillion. This special beer is a charity beer sold to support a golden retriever rescue society.

All profits from Dudley’s Golden Ale will go back to GRIN?Please consider making a donation to them to further their Golden rescue efforts !?♥️

Episode 56 – Introduction to the Augsburg Confession

In this episode Mike Yagley and Evan Gaertner introduce the Augsburg Confession. The beginning of the episode is a timeline leading up to June 25, 1530.

This date is a major turning point in the identity of Reformation as something other than a schismatic movement that is breaking apart the holy Christian church.

Christian Beyer presents the Augsburg Confession to the Diet of Augsburg.

You can follow read the Augsburg Confession online at

Beer Break

Short’s Brewing Company is again featured during our Beer Break. This beer is a dry hopped double brown ale. Good Humans was originally created to showcase one of Briess Malting Company’s new malt varieties. Good Humans is a Double Brown Ale made with Carabrown Malt and dry-hopped with Simcoe and Golding hops. The brew has sweet malty esters that are met by huge toasted caramel and toffee flavors. The finish is dry with a bouquet of hops


Episode 47 -4th Commandment Part 1

We begin our discussion of the fourth commandment explanation by Martin Luther in the Large Catechism.

Beer Break

Griffin Claw Brewing Company on Eton Road in Birmingham, Michigan.

El Rojo Red Ale ABV: 6.5 IBU: 25

A bronze medal winning El Rojo Red Ale has a malty, roasted flavor profile. Entered in competition as an English brown, the El Rojo is more of an American Red – bigger than Scottish Reds with a beautiful ruby red color and a rich, roasty, caramel body.

The Griffin Claw is not nearly as much of a second office as comments in this podcast appear to make it.


Episode 41 – Commentary on the Preface to the Large Catechism Part 1

This podcast episode begins a new format for Grace on Tap. In this episode and the next several we will provide a running commentary of the Large Catechism as we read it together.

You can download the version we are using and follow along with our commentary:

1531 Edition of the Large Catechism in German

In this episode we get through the first 12 paragraphs of the preface.

The Large Catechism was written by Martin Luther with material from sermons he preached as a part fo the catechism series he did in Wittenberg. The first edition was published in April of 1529. He wrote the longer preface to the 1530 edition while at the Coburg Castle waiting for new from the Diet of Augsburg.

Beer Break

Brewery Vivant is a place of tradition and artistic approach to the Belgian and French style of beers. They use local sources for ingredients and run their business to be environmentally sustainable, with social equity, and economic viability. The brewery in Grand Rapids is in an 80+ year old renovated building. Between 1894-1980 it was operated as a funeral home. The chapel of the funeral home still possess the wood beams and light fixtures.

Chapel then
Chapel of the brewery at Christmas time

The beer we feature in this episode is the Bourbon Barrel Aged Quadrupel. +9% ABV – VARIES by year.


Episode 40 – Saxon Visitations

When Luther and the other Reformers visited the common peasants in Electoral Saxony, they were shocked and deeply dismayed. 

Their problems were numerable, running from administrative issues to serious theological gaps. Most concerning, the majority of the common people had no idea of the most basic principles of the faith. 

Luther’s visits to Electoral Saxony marked a turning point in the Reformation, leading to some of his most cherished teachings to this day.

Taken from: König, Gustav Ferdinand Leopold. 1900. The life of Luther in forty-eight historical engravings. St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House.

Beer Break

Black River Oatmeal Stout from Paw Paw Brewing Co. in Paw Paw, Michigan. This is a small brewery established by two brothers-in-law, Ben Fleckenstein and Ryan Sylvester. Started in 2010 with the goal of putting people and community above everything else.

This is a very smooth stout with pleasing mild roast and rich bittersweet chocolate notes derived from a complex malt profile.

Thank you

Thanks to Josh for the sound engineering and to Sarah Yagley – music and new graphics

Thanks to our listeners

Recognition of source materials

James Kittelson Luther the Reformer

Reformation 500 website

Luther’s Works 40


Contact us at 

Let us know if you’d like to host a road trip.

or catch us on Facebook at graceontap podcast

Would appreciate any reviews you could post on iTunes. Helps to get the word out. 


Episode 39 – The House of Medici

After the death of Pope Adrian IV, the young kings of Spain, France and England seemed to be less interested in manipulating the election of the next pope. Perhaps because they realized that they could not predict the behavior of a pope. 

The disinterest of the kings allowed the cardinals to maneuver amongst themselves for the position of pope, leaving Leo X cousin, Giulio de Medici with a distinct advantage. 


The papal elections are a really good window into 16th century politics. 

When Leo X died in December 1521, the logical replacement was his cousin, Giulio. Giulio was Leo’s Vice-Chancellor (2nd in command of the church) since March, 1517, just a few months before Luther posted his 95 theses. Effectively, Giulio was Leo’s right-hand-man from the beginning of his pontificate in 1513. But he couldn’t be officially Leo’s Vice-Chancellor. He was the illegitimate son of Leo’s uncle, Giuliano de’ Medici. Since he was illegitimate, he was not allowed to hold high ranking positions within the church. Leo’s first acts as pope was to declare that his cousin’s birth was legitimate because his parents were “wed according to the word of the those present.”

Nobody knows if this was true, but it opened the door for Giulio to become a Cardinal. He was immediately recognized as an unusually skilled statesman. In January, 1514, Henry VIII named him the Cardinal protector of England. Cardinal protector was responsible for representing England in the Roman Curia, or as Henry VIII said, “for the defense of us and our realm in all matters of the Curia.”

Francis I of France also recognized Giulio’s unusual skills and appointed him to the Cardinal protector of France in 1516. Amazing since Henry and Francis hated each other. Having Giulio as the French Cardinal Protector didn’t work out well for Francis, though. When the personal rivalry between Francis and Emperor Charles V broke into war in northern Italy, Giulio Medici sided with Charles.

Giulio distrusted Francis because he was selecting French bishops who were more loyal to the king than to the church. Francis gained the ability to name bishops when he defeated the pope in the battle of Merignano in 1515. The agreement between Francis and the church was called the concordant of Bologna. 

Giulio’s betrayal of France left Francis furious. When Leo died in 1521, Francis made it clear that he would leave the church if Giulio was elected pope, leading to the election of Adrian. After Adrian died in Sept 1523, the Roman people were excited to have a new pope named. They were tired of Adrian and wanted to have a new leader who would better understand them. 

The conclave opened on Oct 1. 

When the Roman leadership started to complain shortly after the conclave opened, the cardinals played for time, telling the Roman leadership that the entire French party had not yet arrived. 

The French party finally settled on Cardinal Gianmaria del Monte. Cardinal Medici promised that he would give up 3 votes if Cardinal Monte could get 18 votes, which would have given Cardinal Monte 21 votes. It also would have given a green light to the Medici party to vote for Monte in the next round (scrutiny). 

Monte originally got 16 votes, but when the members of the French party saw that he was gaining traction, three of them changed their vote to get him to 19. Medici said that Monte would have had to have gotten 18 votes the first time around, so his offer was rescinded. This further infuriated the French party, so no progress was made for a few days. 

 To try to get things moving again, Medici suggested that the French party agree on one name. (Assume it was implied that he would support who ever they agreed on, if they could all agree.)

 The French party was broken up into two groups. 

 ◦ The juniors, who were willing to work together.

 ◦ The seniors, who were all trying to get themselves elected. 

Medici’s proposal caused even more internal strife between the junior members of the French party and the senior members. 

Beer break

Ballast Point Brewing Co – Victory at Sea


They started out in 1996 as a small group of San Diego home brewers who simply wanted to make a better beer. In our exploration, they became obsessed with ingredients—tinkering, testing and tasting to find the perfect balance of taste and aroma. That adventurous spirit leads to award-winning beers in classic and unique styles while challenging their own tastes and expanding yours.


Robust coffee, sweet caramel, and aromatic vanilla.


The Ballast Point Victory at Sea Imperial Porter is a bold, smooth brew with just the right amount of sweetness. They infused this robust porter with vanilla and San Diego’s own Caffe Calabria coffee beans. The subtle roasted notes and minimal acidity of the cold brewed coffee, balances perfectly with the sweet caramel undertones of the malt, creating a winning combination for your palate.

Time for the election to be over

There were two main groups battling for the papacy.

  • The imperialists, who had about 16 votes and were supporters of Giulio Medici.
  • The French, who had about 19 votes, and were only committed to having somebody other than Medici. 

Up until now, we’ve been highlighting the problems with the French as being between the juniors, who were willing to work together, and the seniors, who were trying to get themselves elected. This is a very simplified view of the French politics. It’s a little difficult to figure out what exactly was happening in the French party, but we’re going to have to give it a try to untangle what happens next. 

First, Alberto Pio, an ambassador of the king of France, showed up in late October. He was a friend of Medici. He tried to convince the French party that Medici would be as good for France as anybody. Although he wasn’t immediately successful, he softened them up a little. 

On November 11, the Roman magistrates threatened to reduce the food for the cardinals to just bread and water.  At this point, Cardinal Farnese, made his move. He approached the Duke of Sessa, to make a deal. The Duke of Sessa was a Spanish noble who was closely aligned with the emperor. 

Cardinal Farnese offered to give the Duke substantial amount of money and a cardinalate for the duke’s brother if the duke would support giving the imperial votes to Farnese. This seems like it worked, because shortly afterward, one of the leaders of the French party, Cardinal Colonna, proposed Farnese as the next pope.

We are starting to see the French block breaking up. Several cardinals objected to Farnese on moral grounds. He was well known to have mistresses and children. Sort of a throwback to the pre-reformation popes. 

There were a couple of versions of what happened next in the literature. Both have to do with Colonna, one of the leaders of the French party. 

  •  One version says that Colonna, claimed he was frustrated that the French had turned against his candidate Farnese, so gave his support to Medici. 
  •  Another source says that when the Farnese proposal fell apart, the majority of the French said they supported Cardinal Orsini. 

 The Colonna and Orsini families hated each other. So Colonna, who only controlled 4 votes, realized that he would be more appreciated in the Medici camp. He threw his four votes over to Medici. After the election, Colonna received a palace and the position of second in command (Vice-Chancellor) of the Vatican in return. 

We have a pope

Either way – on November 19, 1523, Giulio de’ Medici became Pope Clement VII

Clement inherited a mess from his cousin, Leo X, and things didn’t get any better under Adrian VI. 

Now we’re caught up with the popes.

For our next episode, we’ll get back to Luther. 

Sign off

Thanks to our listeners.

Thanks to Josh

Recognition of source materials


Contact us


 ◦ Let us know if you’d like to host a roadtrip.


Episode 37 – The New Pope

As the cardinals gathered in Rome in early 1522 to elect a new pope after the unexpected death of Pope Leo X in December 1521, they all recognized that the world had changed dramatically since Leo’s election in 1513.

Not only did Martin Luther challenge the authority of the church and the pope, the Turks were traveling up the Danube River, threatening the eastern regions of Europe, there were three new young kings making dangerous threats against each other and, most urgently, the church was deeply in debt.

The cardinals recognized they needed somebody learned enough to engage in the theological battles, but they also needed someone with experience in the politics of the day and able to calm the warrior princes. They were initially thrilled when they finally settled on Cardinal Adrian Boeyens, the scholar who was first selected to tutor Emperor Charles when he was young, then subsequently selected by the Emperor to manage Spain while the emperor was in Germany.

Within minutes of announcing the selection, the cardinals got their first indication that they had made a mistake when the people of Rome almost rioted after hearing the news.


We’ve spent quite a bit of time talking about the rise and fall of Thomas Müntzer and the Peasants Revolt of 1524 and 1525. This episode goes back to December of 1521.

Luther started December of 1521 in the Wartburg castle, hiding from his enemies, and increasingly concerned about the rumors he had begun hearing about growing Reformation excesses back in Wittenberg.

Pope Leo X

Meanwhile, on December 1, 1521 in Rome, Luther’s primary opponent, Pope Leo X, died (supposedly of pneumonia) at age 46. Leo died suddenly, and wasn’t even given last rites, one day after he complained about the wine that had been handed to him. The pope’s cup-bearer was arrested the next morning, but was released by the pope’s cousin, Cardinal Giulio de’ Medici before any inquiry could be made. The reason the cardinal gave for releasing the cup-bearer was, “lest some great prince should be found mixed up in the matter, and he should thus acquire an implacable enemy.”

The pope’s cousin was the lead candidate for the papacy. The respected 19th century historian, Thomas Dyer, believed the cardinal shut down the inquiry mostly because he didn’t want to lose votes for the papacy. (Sorta hard to campaign for votes from somebody who killed your cousin.)

There was a full agenda left by Leo.

The Turks were threatening Hungary; The young kings of France, England and Spain were ready and anxious for war; Lutheranism was a continually growing irritation.

Most urgently, the church was completely broke. Leo’s “table” alone cost about 100,000 ducats per year (around $15 M in 2018 dollars). Upon his death, Leo had debts of about 850,000 ducats (~$127 M), with no money in the papal treasury to pay.

Leo’s friends, who had loaned him all this money, took whatever wasn’t nailed down at the Vatican to try to recoup their losses. They were so broke, the Vatican couldn’t afford new candles for Leo’s funeral. They had to reuse the candles from the recent funeral of Cardinal Riario.

After the death of Leo, the Roman church engaged in one of the most open and politically motivated papal conclaves in all of history. There were three strong factions, trying to manipulate the voting for their own benefit. So the conclave was stuck in a deadlock.

  • Thomas Wolsey, supported by Emperor Charles and King Henry VIII didn’t have enough votes.
  • Tomasso Soderini, supported by Francis I, king of France, also didn’t have enough votes.
  • Giulio de’ Medici, who was the most qualified, was opposed by Francis, who threatened to leave the Catholic church if another Medici was elected.

Suddenly, out of the blue, Cardinal Medici suggested Adrian of Utrecht.

Adrian of Utrect, Pope Adrian VI

Who was Adrian? He was the tutor to the emperor from the time the emperor was 7 years old. As the emperor grew in power, he gave Adrian more important positions of authority. In 1515, Charles wanted to be the ruler of Spain, instead of his younger brother, Ferdinand. Adrian was sent to Spain to negotiate with Charles’ father. Adrian succeeded and Charles was made the ruler of Spain when his father died. Charles then appointed Adrian Bishop of Tortosa. The appointment was approved by Pope Leo X in Aug of 1518.

When Charles left Spain to become the emperor, he left Adrian in charge.

Almost immediately after Adrian was suggested, he was elected to be the next pope on January 9, 1522.

Beer break

Schlenkerla has a quite extensive description of each of their beers and the processes used to brew them on their website—in English, no less. Just visit

Schlenkerla claims to smoke their own malt, so maybe Weyermann supplies Spezial, which is the other Bamberg brewery that makes Rauchbier.

There are also a couple of breweries in neighboring villages that make Rauchbier. Schlenkerla, which is the most smoky of the three, to be the most widely distributed.

Don’t be offended if you don’t like it.

Back to Adrian

When Adrian arrived outside the walls of Rome, on Aug 29, the cardinals greeted him with a speech about the kinds of reforms they hoped he would implement. Adrian answered that they must first stop sheltering evil-doers in their palaces, and allow the police free access to make arrests. The cardinals were stunned.

One of them didn’t get the memo, and came forward with a request for a pardon for someone convicted of murder. Adrian said, “We cannot pardon without hearing both sides.” The cardinals were devastated.

On August 31, almost nine months after his election, Adrian walked into Rome. He traveled by foot as a sign of his humility. When he arrived at the Roman gate, he took off his shoes and hose as a sign of respect for the city

This made a great impression on the general populace who immediately respected Adrian.

Things didn’t go as well with the higher classes.

He didn’t speak Italian. He had no understanding of Italian manners. Most significantly, he had no appreciation of art. When he saw some of the Roman art from the time of Christ, he turned in horror and cried out, “These are pagan idols!”

This was one of the few times Adrian was passionate about anything. Adrian was almost always relaxed, peaceful, quiet and easy going. The upper classes of Rome even hated this. Before Adrian, Leo was like a never-ending party. Before Leo, Julius was providing all sorts of excitement by continually starting wars with his enemies. They hated that Adrian was boring.

Adrian had arrived in Rome.

We’ll be covering the pontificate of Adrian in our next episode.

Thank You

  • Thanks to our listeners and thanks to Josh our sound engineer.

Recognition of source materials

  • Thomas Henry Dyer – Modern Europe Volume 1 (1453 -1530)
  • Mandell Creighton – A History of the Papacy from the Great Schism to the Sack of Rome
  • Vatican website
  • Wikipedia
  • Contact us
    • Let us know if you’d like to host a roadtrip.
  • We would appreciate any reviews you could post on iTunes. Helps to get the word out.




Episode 31 – Knights’ Revolt

In October 1347, twelve trading ships docked in the Sicilian port of Messina. When the ships were boarded, the locals were horrified to find most of the crewmates either dead or dying of a strange illness that covered their bodies with the black boils. Even though the authorities ordered the ships sent back out to sea, it was too late. The Black Plague had arrived in Europe.

The plague would not stop ravaging Europe until 1720, almost 400 years after it first arrived. During this time, the plague totally reordered society by killing off huge numbers of peasants who were the foundation of the medieval system of governance called feudalism.

The decimation of the peasant population resulted in increased bargaining power for the remaining peasants, allowing them to make some choices about how they wanted to live. The empowering of the peasants left the knights, who populated the lowest level of the ruling system, without peasants to tax and protect, throwing their entire existence into question.  In 1522, the knights decided to do what they did best – to fight in the knights’ revolt, a critical step in the reordering of Europe during the time of the reformation.

Franz von Sickingen was a knight who saw himself as a sort of Robin Hood, defending the poor against injustices.

In 1513, he took the side of a citizen of Worms who was driven out of town. He attacked Worms with 7000 men and won. In 1518, he fought for the citizens of Metz against the local government. He won that battle too. He was given 20,000 gold gulden and a month’s pay for his troops, but it’s unclear how this helped the citizens. He also offered his castles as refuges for any reformer who was under attack.

He made friends with Ulrich von Hutten, a humanist who was interested in enforcing reform through military means. Together, von Sickingen and von Hutten worked to promote Luther’s teachings, even offering Luther protection against the Emperor. Luther turned them down.

In 1522, Sickingen and Hutton decided to overthrow the Archbishop of Trier, who was a supporter of the pope. Part of his strategy was to get the people of Trier to revolt.

When Sickingen attacked, the people never revolted, so he was left with insufficient forces. He ran out of gunpowder after 7 days, and retreated to his castle in Landstuhl. Hutton escaped to Switzerland. This episode is about how their work upset the social system and laid the groundwork for the peasants revolt led by Thomas Müntzer.

The ringleader of the knights: Franz von Sickingen

Beer break

CAKEWALK by Right Brain Brewery, Traverse City Michigan.

This is our second Traverse City Brewery in a row!!!

Style: Vanilla Cream Ale

ABV: 4.5%

Package: Draft, 12oz Bottle 6-Packs.

Description: An extremely light and approachable cream ale brewed with real Madagascar Vanilla Beans. The addition of corn yields a light creamy mouth feel. This finishes smooth, not sweet.


  • Thanks to Josh
  • Thanks to St. Paul Lutheran in Hamburg MI
  • James Kittelson – Luther the Reformer
  • Scott Hendrix – Martin Luther, The Man and His Vision
  • Christina Vunguyen – The Black Death: How it affected Feudalism
  • Roger J. P. Kain, and Hugh C. Prince – The Tithe Surveys of England and Wales


Episode 29 – The Edict of Worms and the Seeds of the Gospel

The Emperor released the Edict of Worms on May 26, 1521, officially declaring Luther and his teachings outlawed, only 3 weeks after Luther disappeared while traveling through the Thuringia forest. With the release of the edict, the reformation entered into a new and dangerous period.

It was most dangerous for those who proclaimed the gospel in areas like modern day Belgium, where the leadership was most loyal to both the pope and the emperor. In areas like this, the leaders were willing to attack the Luther’s teachings vigorously and ruthlessly, using the full force of the law.

When the monks at the Augustinian monastery in Antwerp, Belgium openly proclaimed Luther’s teachings, they found themselves opposed by the most powerful forces in the empire. Most of them recanted, but three, Henry Voes, John Esch and Lampertus Thorn, refused.

Their refusal resulted in their martyrdom.

Heinrich Voss & Johannes Esch

Beer Break

Jet – Bitter Old Fecker Brewery

Bitter Old Fecker Rustic Ales, based in Chelsea, Michigan, is a small batch brewery started by Nathan Hukill, an entrepreneur with an ideal lineage for brewing craft beer. His great grandparents were bootleggers in Detroit, running booze from Canada, who also ran a blind pig speakeasy out of their basement. Detroit police (including the Chief) were their main clientele. His great grandmother also made beer in her kitchen for the guys at the brickyard where she worked.

Nathan’s grandfather Cecil Fecker — rail worker, 17-year Ford employee turned weird angry recluse — left Detroit for Hillsdale, MI to start farming. Cecil started brewing in the early 80’s, naming beers after the things that inspired the recipes and included ingredients he grew or foraged.

After some frustration with trying to break into brewing, Nathan started Bitter Old Fecker, working under Cecil as an apprentice. During the start up process, Nathan took a job as an assistant brewer at Grizzly Peak, leaving after 18 months to focus efforts on Bitter Old Fecker exclusively.

Nathan and Cecil produce high gravity, bold beers brewed in a “rustic” style. No automatic equipment. Kettles, mash tuns, etc., stirred by hand in a brewery that can literally produce beer without the use of electricity. All beers are barrel-aged and include non traditional, foraged and locally sourced ingredients. All malt and hops are 100% US grown. His first brew, introduced in the Summer of 2013, is called Strutter, named after a nasty old rooster on Cecil’s farm. Darlin’, Kaplan, and Jet are brews that are soon to follow.

Jet is named after Cecil’s dog. For many farm dogs out here, life can mean a slow stretch of days, lazing in the shade on the family porch. But that’s not Jet’s life. Jet was rescued by old Cecil K. Fecker after a snarling dog fight on the farm down the road. Their love for each other was sealed in dirt and blood. Ever since, he hasn’t left his master’s side, and is a constant sentry on the farm. Jet’s quick to fight and sink his fangs into any intruder’s backside. This isn’t a friendship, but rather a kinship, born on the same black night, with the moon glowing like the devil’s eyes.




  • James Kittelson – Luther the Reformer
  • CFW Walther – Missouri Synod in Formation (1844 – 47): Essays of the Founding Fathers (editor: Joel Baseley)
  • THM Akerboom – Emanuel University in Romania

Let us know if you’d like to host a road trip.

Catch us on


Episode 28 – Return of the Reformer

Although Wittenberg was ground zero for the reform movement in the 16th century, it was still home to many priests, monks and laity who were not comfortable with the changes proposed by the reformers. When Luther was in Wittenberg, these disagreements remained within the confines of discussion and debate.

After Luther was in hiding for 6 months, things began to change. Changes in Wittenberg began to be forced upon on the priests and laity, sometimes through edict, but often through threats and even violence.

When Luther returned in the spring of 1522, he was not pleased. He sought to return things to good order, and he had to do it quickly. Just a couple of days after his arrival, Luther began a sermon series that addressed the issues that had arisen. The name of the eight sermon series is the Invocavit sermons. Given over eight days during the first week of Lent, 1522. The Invocavit sermons shaped the implementation of the reform changes in Wittenberg, and still speak to us today.

This episode looks at how the eight sermons preached by Martin Luther when he returned to Wittenberg shaped his understanding of how the gospel motivates and defines the momentum of change in church practices.

Martin Luther’s Sermon, detail from a triptych, 1547 (oil on panel) by Cranach, Lucas, the Elder (1472-1553); Church of St.Marien, Wittenberg, Germany;

Beer Break

Train Wreck – Imperial Amber Ale brewed with Michigan honey and maple syrup; 8.2% ABV. Steam Engine Stout – American stout with chocolate notes up front and a nice dry, roast finish; 6.2% ABV.

After successfully launching the Mountain Town Station Brewing Co. & Steakhouse in Mount Pleasant, MIch., the company’s beer grew in popularity. So owners Jim and Karen Holten formed a new company, Mountain Town Brewing Company, in 2007.

“I began brewing beer when I was a student at Central Michigan University,” said Holton. “I knew brewing beer was going to be a passion of mine and something consumers were going to love.”

As Holton’s craft beer grew in popularity, he and his wife Karen decided to open Mountain Town Brewing Company in Mt. Pleasant, Mich., in 2007. The two are no strangers to entrepreneurship—the brewery is their third business in the Mt. Pleasant area.

The new brewery and taproom allowed them to begin distributing beer across the state while providing locals with a place to enjoy a good beer. Today Michigan consumers can enjoy the Holton’s labor or love through their distinctive ales and lagers that include Gamblers Golden Ale, Railyard Raspberry Wheat and Cow Catcher Red Ale.

Recognitions and Sources


Episode 27 – Marriage and Monks, Communion and Chaos in Wittenberg

The ten-month (1521-1522) stay in the Wartburg castle was one of the most productive periods of Martin Luther’s life, but not all the action was in the castle outside of Eisenach. The team of theologians that Luther left back in Wittenberg were also busy during this period, but with decidedly mixed results.

Although the changes being implemented in Wittenberg were generally in line with Luther’s teachings, they were not carried out in a way that was consistent with Luther’s Evangelical theology. The individual freedom that Luther had defined in his seminal work, “The Freedom of the Christian” was pushed aside to force monks, priests and parishioners to embrace the new thinking.

Luther was not pleased, but there wasn’t much he could do except write to his colleagues to encourage them to be more gracious to those who were uncomfortable with the changes. When this didn’t work, Luther found himself in the uncomfortable position of engaging in an open disagreement with his own supporters, a precursor to the disagreements that we see amongst protestants even today.

Andreas Karlstadt

Andreas von Karlstadt

While Luther was busy at the Wartburg castle, his friends were busy making changes in Wittenberg.

The primary driver for the changes in Wittenberg was Andreas Karlstadt, the dean of the University of Wittenberg.

You may remember Karlstadt from episode 12 on the 1519 debate in Leipzig. This was where Karlstadt engaged John Eck in a debate on Luther’s teachings. He ultimately fumbled the debate so badly (possibly because his notes were ruined when his wagon lost a wheel shortly after his arrival) that Luther had to step in to debate with Eck.

The first of the changes began when three priests near Wittenberg got married in the early summer of 1521.

Luther’s thinking on vows

Luther responded by writing “Themata de Votis” (Themes Concerning Vows) in September of 1521.

These were 280 theses on vows that he was ready to debate.

Beer break

Arbor Brewing Co. – Sacred Cow IPA

DESCRIPTION Coppery-gold hue with a full floral cascade hop aroma. Rich bready malts lay a perfect foundation for the profusion of tangy, citrusy hops that infuse this beer with a distinct ruby-red grapefruit quality that starts on the palate and lingers through a long satisfying finish.

Communion in both kinds

Communion was the second major issue that Luther had to address.

Even though the real theological change in the evangelical theology was in the discussion on monasticism, it was the discussion on communion that seemed like it caused the most problems.

Luther had been talking about sharing both the bread and the wine for communion for over 2 years at this point. Still, nobody had actually shared the wine with the laity yet, so this was all talk to the common people.

In the last episode, we briefly discussed Luther’s “Sin boldly” quote during a discussion on sharing communion in both the bread and the wine with the laity. Sharing the bread and the wine would be sinning since it was disruptive to other Christians. Not sharing the bread and wine would be sinning since it would be continuing to act against Christ’s command. Luther said, go ahead, sin boldly and share the bread and the wine. Even though he wasn’t a priest, Melanchthon understood and celebrated the sacrament of communion with several students on September 29, 1521. On October 6, Gabriel Zwilling, an Augustinian brother who had a reputation for giving strong sermons, started to discourage people from attending mass if the priests refused to share the bread and the wine.

Luther’s visit

Luther decided to see how things were going for himself.

Arrived in Wittenberg on December 4, staying for 3 days in disguise as Junker Jorg.

Luther returned the Wartburg and sent out a manuscript “A sincere admonition to all Christians to guard against insurrection and rebellion” on December 14 to try to calm everything down. Regardless of the letter from Luther, things continued to escalate in Wittenberg. In mid-December, Frederick rejected a call to reform the mass by sharing the wine, stopping private masses, etc.

It was too much change at once. It also threatened the priests who still adhered to the Roman Catholic beliefs.

Andreas Karlstadt ignored Frederick’s ruling and celebrated an Evangelical worship service on Christmas, 1521. Celebrated the Lord’s Supper in German and distributed both the bread and the wine to the congregants.

Zwickau Prophets

More dangerous than the Zwickau prophets was the priest that came with them, Thomas Muntzer.

Muntzer and Karlstadt banded together to start pushing more radical reforms. Luther disagreed with the reforms. Over the next couple of months, the disagreement between Karlstadt and Luther became an open conflict.

Luther’s decision to return

Luther decided to return to Wittenberg. Frederick wanted him to stay at the Wartburg, since the political environment was not yet settled. Luther wrote back with three reasons

  • Called by the whole congregation at Wittenberg in a letter filled with urgent begging and pleading. (There is no copy of this letter, so nobody knows what was in it.)
  • Satan had intruded into his fold in Wittenberg, so he had a pastoral responsibility.
  • He feared that there was a rebellion starting. (Probably exaggerating the danger to impress the emperor.)

Luther arrived in Wittenberg on March 6, 1522.

Gave eight sermons in eight days, starting on the first Sunday in Lent, March 9.

The sermons are called the Invocavit or the Wittenberg sermons.

Recognition of source materials

  • James Kittelson – Luther the Reformer
  • Scott Hendrix – Martin Luther – Visionary Reformer
  • Bernhard Lohse – Martin Luther’s Theology: Its Historical and Systematic Development
  • Luther’s Works 44 and 45
  • Wikipedia


Episode 23 – Martin Luther’s Reformation of Hymnody and Liturgy

When Martin Luther first posted the 95 theses on the church door in Wittenberg, he was driven by a deep concern for his congregation. This continued to be the primary driver of everything he did for his entire career as a reformer.

Luther’s concern for his congregation was expressed in many ways. He wrote sermons for his own congregation; he wrote guidelines for sermons for other pastors; he wrote devotionals.  Even when he wrote a theological treatise, his mind wasn’t ever very far from the regular-folk and what this would mean for them.

In this episode we look at how Luther used music.  In churchy terms, we call this Luther’s hymnody, the body of music that was written by Luther to communicate proper theology to the congregation.

This episode is released on Oct 31, 2017, the 500th anniversary of the posting of the 95 theses. Happy Reformation Day, everyone!

Tower of the Castle Church in Wittenberg.

We’re taking a break from Luther’s story at the Diet of Worms. Instead, in honor of the 500th anniversary of the posting of the 95 theses, we’re going to focus this episode on the single subject that animated everything that Luther did in his struggles with the medieval Catholic Church – the congregation.

To tackle the entire issue of Luther’s concern for the congregation is too much for one episode, so we’re going to limit ourselves to Luther’s hymns, which were one of his favorite ways to communicate his theology to the common folk.

Neither of us really know much about music, so we’ve invited Chris Mowers, one of our congregation’s music experts at St. Paul Lutheran Church, to help us out.

Beer break!

Stan Bucrek, a member of St. Paul, provided the beer for our break. We asked Chris Mowers and Stan to help with this episode as a demonstration that Luther’s reforms of hymnody and liturgy were done with the congregation in mind.

The Pale Ale is
(Modified)  Cornerstone India Pale Ale:
ABV: 6.56%
Magnum, Amarillo,  Centennial and Cascade hops-
Was supposed to be an IPA, but the secondary hop addition was reduced to let malt not be overwhelmed by hops [I dislike it when the beer tastes like prairie grass]. Well balanced flavor and bite, with a well sustained head when poured.
Original Recipe from: AIH (Adventures in Home-Brewing) Ann Arbor, MI.

Fire Island Scotch Ale:
ABV: 5.51%
(Not related to New York’s Fire Island Brewing Co.)
Crystal and Chocolate malts, brown sugar &  Kent Golding hops –
Smooth, sweet and drinkable – A fall/winterish Ale with pleasant hints/notes resembling Scotch Whiskey sans actually barrel aging the beer.

Recipe from: James C. Whitely, Arbor Beer-making Supplies, East Islip, New York.

Both beers are brewed in 5 gallon batches and bottle aged.
The Pale Ale is from June of this year and the Scotch Ale was brewed in March.


Episode 22 – The Diet of Worms Part 2

Martin Luther, the professor of Biblical studies at the University of Wittenberg, had finally received the invitation with the promise of safe conduct from the emperor. Now Luther had decide if he would attend the Diet of Worms.

The invitation that Luther received said nothing about the structure of the meeting. Would it be the open debate he had wanted since the beginning? Would the Bible or canon law be used to evaluate the positions of the debaters? Luther had no way of knowing.

Ultimately, Luther decided he wouldn’t be called a coward. He loaded up a wagon and began the 300 mile journey to Worms to defend his teachings to the Diet of the Holy Roman Empire.

Martin Luther at the imperial Diet or Reichstag of Worms, Edict of Worms, 1521

Frederick the Wise requested a hearing for Luther. The emperor extended an invite, then rescinded it after hearing arguments from Aleander. But it didn’t matter, since Frederick the Wise declined the invitation since he was suspicious of the clergy over-riding the emperor’s promise of safe conduct, just like they did to Jan Hus. Eventually, everything got worked out and Luther was extended an invitation with a promise of safe conduct.

Luther at the Diet of Worms, by Anton von Werner, 1877

Beer Break

Wolverine State Brewing Company’s Barista Coffee Lager / 6.6% abv / 13 IBUs

A collaboration brew with Ann Arbor’s RoosRoast featuring locally roasted Colombian coffee. This brew took gold at the 2015 World Expo of Beer! Wolverine Brewer Karl Hinbern, once in the coffee roasting business himself, spearheaded the coffee side of this beer, finally selecting a Colombian Excelso bean roasted at Roos. Part beer, part coffee, what’s not to love?

From Wolverine State Brewing Co.’s website

At Wolverine State Brewing Co., we love lagers. A lot. We love them so much, we make literally nothing else — no ales pass through these draft lines. And in fact, we’re Michigan’s first and only all-lager microbrewery. But what makes lagers special? Why are we so obsessed with them? Read on:

Ales and lagers, for all their perceived differences, are NOT all that different. The chief differences lie in their fermentation temperatures and durations (lagers = colder and longer) and yeast strains. That’s it! You can do anything with a lager that you can do with an ale. Put it in a bourbon barrel. Hop the living hell out of it. Add guava and lime and the kitchen sink. Drink it on a hot day. Warm yourself up in the winter. Leave it unfiltered. The list goes on. Bottom line: they are both beers.

What is different, however, is the way lagers pass through your palate. Lagers are generally characterized by tight, crisp, clean finishes — these finishes are difficult to achieve, which is one reason lots of breweries do not brew lagers. They are hard to make. There is nothing to hide behind. And that crisp finish works as a natural palate cleanser — you’re left wanting more and more and more and more.


Thanks to Josh Yagley our sound engineer.

Source materials

James Kittelson – Luther the Reformer

Scott Hendrix – Martin Luther – Visionary Reformer

Roland Bainton – Here I Stand, A Life of Martin Luther

Luther’s Works – volumes 32




Episode 21 – The Diet of Worms Part 1

Charles V of Spain was on a very steep learning curve. Even though he was only 20 years old, he had just been voted as the new Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire. Including his governance of Spain, he now had the responsibilities for a vast domain that included modern day Germany, Belgium, Netherlands, Czech Republic, Austria, Switzerland, Northern Italy and South America.

Charles had prepared for these responsibilities for his entire life, so he felt in 1521 as ready as he could have been as he approached his first major meeting with the leaders of the Empire, set for the city of Worms, in the Rhineland of Germany. Still, he knew the princes, electors, dukes and other leaders of the would be watching him closely for any missteps as he sought to guide the empire through the treacherous terrain of medieval European politics.

Treacherous barely describes the complexity of the situation Charles had inherited from his grandfather. The pope was no friend, having done everything in his power to deny Charles the position of Emperor. The German princes were fractious and squabbling, even while the Turks were threatening the eastern edges of the empire. And in his own Spain, the commoners were rising up in revolt against the nobility.

Finally, there was this matter regarding the German monk, Dr. Martin Luther. Although Luther’s teachings were popular with the people, Charles was confident everybody would fall in line behind the pope declaring Luther a heretic. Still, to calm the leadership of the German states, and to get them to finally work together against the Turks, Charles on November 28, 1520 agreed that Luther would be given a hearing at the Diet scheduled to be held in the city of Worms in early 1521.

The Diet of Worms will be dealt with through three parts. The word diet describes an assembly of the Holy Roman Empire. The first part looks at the lead up to the hearing in Worms. We especially focus on why a monk that has already been declared a heretic by the pope is being given a hearing in Germany. The second part will look at the hearing itself and Luther’s famous speech before the emperor. The final part will examine what happens after the hearing is over and how Luther is “kidnapped” and taken to the Wartburg.

Luther at the Diet of Worms, by Anton von Werner, 1877

Beer Break

Our featured beer in this episode is from Perrin Brewing in Comstock Park, Michigan. The No Problems Session IPA bursts open with aromatics of fresh citrus fruits, ripened melon and a distinctive floral bouquet.

Diet of Worms by Swashbookler


Thanks to Josh Yagley for the sound engineering

James Kittelson – Luther the Reformer

Scott Hendrix – Martin Luther – Visionary Reformer

Roland Bainton – Here I Stand, A Life of Martin Luther

Luther’s Works – volumes 32



Episode 17 – Babylonian Captivity Part 1

After being thrust into the spotlight with the publication of the 95 Theses in 1517, Martin Luther worked to engage in a conversation with the leadership of the Roman Catholic church, but without much success. By the summer of 1520, both Luther and the pope realized there was little chance of reaching an agreement.

The pope responded with the publication of the papal bull, Exsurge Domine, a hastily written document that formally outlined Luther’s perceived errors. Concurrently, and independently, Luther released the Open Letter to the German Christian Nobility, an attack on the church’s authority over the secular realm.

At the end of the Open Letter, Luther hinted that he had a second attack ready. Luther was hinting at today’s document, The Babylonian Captivity of the Church, an attack on the medieval sacramental system, the very core of 16th century Roman Catholic church power.

This book from Luther looks at how the sacraments had been used to keep people in exile away from the true promises of God. Listen to this podcast for the first part of the Babylonian Captivity. We discuss Luther’s desire that we come to the Lord’s Supper for the promise of God.

Beer Break

St. Basil’s – From Brewery Becker

St. Basil’s | A Belgian Dark strong. Carmel and malt balance out with the direct kick of alcohol. Quite dry for such a large beer. All proceeds go to educational opportunities. Brewed with goodness, discipline, and knowledge

500 W Main Street, once known as The Western House, has only been Brewery Becker since 2014. Much of the integrity and history remains in the building today, and was kept a priority by the owners when renovating and rebuilding. Visit the Brewery for a step back in time and a true experience.


  • Thanks to Josh
  • Thanks to St. Paul Lutheran in Hamburg MI

Source materials

  • James Kittelson – Luther the Reformer
  • David Whitford – Luther: A Guide for the Perplexed
  • Scott Hendrix – Martin Luther: Visionary Reformer
  • Luther’s Works – volumes 44
  • Wikipedia

Contact Us



Episode 16 – Open Letter to the Christian Nobility Part 2

The opening section of Martin Luther’s Open Letter to the Christian Nobility was an effective broadside against the Roman Catholic power structure. It outlined a biblical argument that elevated both the nobility and the common man to stand equal to both priest and pope in the eyes of God.

But Luther wasn’t done. The Open Letter also outlined Luther’s calls to reform the church from how people should dress to ceremonial changes to help people understand that the pope was just a man like everyone else.

The Open Letter was very effective. Before the release of the Open Letter, the pressure was building on Frederick the Wise to turn Luther over to the Roman authorities. The success of the Open Letter allowed Frederick to continue to protect Luther through this critical period of the Reformation.

In this episode we conclude our discussion of this letter. The implications for church and state relationships are huge as Luther calls upon the people to identify their role in the church through their baptism instead of through self-righteousness.

This letter includes a description of three false walls that divide the clergy and laity in the church. After tearing down these walls, Luther goes on to list reforms for the church. Walls surrounding the self-righteous are torn down. Our only identity in the church is found in Christ.

Beer Break

Curmudgeon Ale from Founders Brewery. This beer was chosen based on a request from a listener in New York. This beer is brewed with molasses and an insane focus on the malt bill.

Thank You

Josh for the sound engineer work. These episode used a different post-production technique. We are interested in feedback on if any differences are noticed.

St. Paul Lutheran in Hamburg


    • David Whitford – Luther: A Guide for the Perplexed
    • James Kittelson – Luther the Reformer
    • Luther’s Works – volumes 44
    • Wikipedia
    • Elsie Singmaster, Martin Luther – the story of his life
    • Hannah S. Bowers –

Contact us

We would appreciate any reviews you could post on iTunes. Help us get the word out.


Episode 14 – A Wild Boar in the Vineyard

This episode focuses on Exsurge Domine, the official papal response to Martin Luther. With the printing presses of Europe hard at work in the fall of 1517, the 95 Theses spread throughout Europe in a couple of weeks. Attention was drawn to the leadership of the church in Rome. In 1518 Cardinal Cajetan visited Luther in Augsburg, and Cajetan attempted to get Luther to recant. In the summer of 1519, John Eck debated Luther in Leipzig. Eck succeeded in getting Luther to admit that the issue was about more than reforming abuses. Luther admitted that the pope and a council could be wrong if they conflicted with Scripture.

In June of 1520, the pope signed Exsurge Domine, the papal bull that formally outlined Martin Luther’s errors. Cardinal Cajetan wanted a scholarly response to Luther that specifically outlined the errors of Luther. Eck wanted a response that was released quickly to address the issue of Luther before things got worse in Germany. Eck won and the papal bull lacks specifics against Luther but clearly labels him as a heretic dangerous to the church.

Exsurge Domine is a papal bull promulgated on 15 June 1520 by Pope Leo X. It was written in response to the teachings of Martin Luther which opposed the views of the Church.

The name of this document comes from the first phrase in Latin, “Arise, O Lord!” It goes on to say that the wild board from the forest seeks to destroy the Lord’s vineyard and it is time to put down the boar.

Lucas Cranach included in the altar piece he painted for the Town Church in Wittenberg a picture of Martin Luther preaching from a pulpit that is decorated with a wild boar running through a vineyard.

Martin Luther’s Sermon, detail from a triptych, 1547 (oil on panel) by Cranach, Lucas, the Elder (1472-1553); Church of St. Marien, Wittenberg, Germany.

Beer Break

We set aside our walk through beers from the Great Lakes region because we have found we have a consistent set of listeners from Japan. So this beer break features a beer form the Kiuchi Brewery. The beginning of this brewery is found when it was established in 1823 by Kiuchi Gihei, the headman of Kounosu village. The beer side of the business started in 1996 and named the beer “Hitachino Next Beer.” It has a unique owl character logo. This beer is a German style Hefe Weizen with banana, clove, and vanilla like flavors with a touch of toasty wheat malt and hops.

Recognitions and Thanks

  •  Thanks to Josh
  •  Thanks to St. Paul Lutheran in Hamburg Michigan
  •  Wikipedia
  •  John M. Todd book Martin Luther, a biographical study
  •  Hans Hillerbrand – several documents
  • A Catholic website set up to defend the Roman Catholic faith against protestant attacks.
  • Good place for us to make sure we are not mischaracterizing Catholic teaching, although we would welcome anybody shooting us an email with any corrections on our understanding of Roman Catholic doctrine.
  •  Vatican for a copy of Exsurge Domine

Contact Us

We would appreciate any reviews you could post on itunes. The reviews help us to get the word out.



Episode 13 – Sermons from 1519

In the fall of 1519, Martin Luther was concerned. His concern was for the souls of those that the Lord had placed near to him. His protector, Frederick the Wise, became very ill. The people were curious and seeking promise, but still finding in the rituals of the church a focus on works instead of faith. Luther offered to them consolation. He wrote a devotional for those approaching death called the 14 Consolations. He also wrote three sermons on the sacraments. Each sermon describing the action, the inner significance, and the role of faith in receiving these gifts.

His three teaching sermons on the sacraments infuriated the supporters of the people. Duke George of Saxony called the treatise containing these sermons, “full of heresy and scandal.” Luther responded by calling these complaints, “the trumpeting of a sterile pig.”

The three sermons are titled:

  •  The sermon on the Sacrament of Penance, 
  •  The Holy and Blessed Sacrament of Baptism
  •  The Blessed Sacrament of the Holy and True Body of Christ, and the Brotherhoods

Before we discuss the sermons we add to our discussion of the pastoral heart of Martin Luther by talking about the devotional 14 Consolations.

Beer Break

Arcadia Brewery was founded in 1996 in Battle Creek, Michigan, by Tim Surprise and his wife, Mary. In 2016, Jim Lutz came on board as Arcadia’s president. The majority of production now happens at the Kalamazoo location, which still has lots of room for more capacity. You can visit to learn more about this brewery.

Loch Down Scotch Ale is their tribute to the Scottish Highlands. This beer is garnet in color. The color is joined with aroma of ripe plums and freshly-baked biscuits. The texture reveals notes of roasted chestnuts and caramel in the smooth single-malt style brew.

Recognition of source materials

  •  David Whitford – Luther: A Guide for the Perplexed
  •  James Kittelson – Luther the Reformer
  •  Luther’s Works – volumes 35 and 42

Visit us at




Episode 12 – The Leipzig Debate

Turning Point

John Eck and Martin Luther met for a debate in Leipzig in 1519. This debate was a major turning point for the Reformation. This debate pushed Luther beyond the question of reforming indulgences towards the question of authority in the church.

John Eck was a scholastic theologian teaching at Inglostadt. Martin Luther was a professor from Wittenberg. These two men meet for the rumble in Leipzig. Two men enter, one man leaves (actually both left alive, MMA was not in play at this time).

In the fall of 1518, Cardinal Cajetan had his fatherly talk with Luther. Luther refused to recant or return to Rome for trial. Then Karl von Miltitz visited Luther, and Miltitz made a deal with him. Luther would remain quiet as long as his adversaries remained quiet, which brings us to this podcast episode of Grace on Tap.

John Eck corresponded with Luther through a document titled, Obelisks. After Eck released the Obelisks, Luther replied with something called Asterisks. These two terms refer to different type of margin notes that people would put in their books to mark areas of interest. Andreas Karlstadt didn’t want to be left out of the party. He also responded with The 370 Theses.

So let’s get ready to rumble.

On June 24, 1519, the Wittenbergers arrived in Leipzig. There was a pause at the entrance to the city because there were questions about whether their passports would be received. The fact that the Wittenberg delegation arrived as a raucous group of students and professors might have given the city some worry about their ability to keep the peace.

The debate became a turning point in the Reformation because Eck was able to draw Martin Luther into a debate on the question of papal authority. This debate publicly pushed Luther beyond the indulgence controversy, which was seen by many as a suitable topic for reform.

The Leipzig Disputation – 1519 – Carl Lessing

Listen to this podcast and discover how the Leipzig debate helped focus the discussion on authority in the church, the Word of God or the pope.

Beer Break

Our featured beer in this episode is The Live Wire from the ROAK. This is an American IPA from a brewery in Royal Oak, Michigan. It is a juicy beer with classic hoppy bitterness and little malt sweetness.


  • Thanks to Josh Yagley for his sound engineering
  • Thanks to the people at St. Paul Lutheran in Hamburg MI who provide us the encouragement and support to continue recording these podcast episodes

Recognition of source materials

  • James Kittelson – Luther the Reformer
  • David Whitford – Luther: A Guide for the Perplexed
  • WHT Dau – The Leipzig Debate in 1519
  • Sean Doherty – “Theology and Economic Ethics: Martin Luther and Arthur Rich in Dialogue”
  • Encyclopedia Britannica

Contact us

Come on out to our upcoming Road Trip in Clinton Twp on June 7. Details can be found on our Facebook page.

This post has been updated with an audio file that starts at the beginning.


Episode 11 – Election Capitulation

On January 12, 1519, Maximillian, Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire, died at Wels in Upper Austria. The election that took place on June 28 in Frankfurt was a hotly contested election. The two main contenders were Charles, grandson of Maximillian, and Francis I, the King of France. After a series of bribes and promises, the election swings towards Charles.

Charles V signed a document that was critical to the Reformation that is typically overlooked by Lutherans. The Election Capitulation was negotiated by Frederick the Wise who was supporting Martin Luther. So listen to this podcast to learn about some political processes that helped define the Reformation period.

Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor

Beer Break

Rochester Mills Brewing Co.

Milkshake Stout, a property of 7 malts, along with a low hop level that creates a dark beer featuring rich, sweet, roasted flavors.


  • Thanks to Josh Yagley for sound engineering
  • Thanks to St. Paul Lutheran in Hamburg MI

Recognition of source materials

  • David Whitford – Luther: A Guide for the Perplexed
  • Charles Beard – Martin Luther and the Reformation in Germany Until the Close of the Diet of Worms
  • Daniel J. Castellano – Repository of Arcane Knowledge
  • Erwin Iserloh, Joseph Glazik, and Hubert Jedin – History of the Church: Reformation and Counter Reformation
  • Henry Eyster Jacobs – Martin Luther: The Hero of the Reformation
  • Wikipedia articles


Episode 10 – Mr. Miltitz Goes to Germany

Karl von Miltitz was sent from Rome to Germany in the fall of 1518. He was a papal nuncio, which is the title for an ecclesiastical diplomat. His job was to improve the conflict with Luther. He expected to be a part of the negotiating team with Cardinal Cajetan. The timing of their arrivals in Germany meant they worked separate from each other. Maybe he expected this was going to be a good cop / bad cop sort of relationship. Cardinal Cajetan would be the bad cop and Miltitz would be the good cop. He was supposed to relieve the tensions in the international relationship between Rome and Frederick the Wise that had developed during the controversy over indulgences.

In this episode Mike Yagley and Evan Gaertner discuss the role of Miltitz to settle the dispute between Martin Luther and the sale of indulgences. Luther and Miltitz met in Altenburg in January, 1519.

Pope Leo gave Frederick the Wise the “Golden Rose,” a honorary gift and sign of favor from Rome.

Beer Break Information

This episode we feature the Keweenaw Brewing Company and their Red Jacket Amber Ale. KBC is a microbrewery with no food served at their taproom. This Amber Ale is a class Oktoberfest style ale that is brewed in tribute to the Red Jacket Mine and copper industry glory days of the Keweenaw Pennisula.

Luther’s View of the 10 Commandments

Mike and Evan have a discussion after the beer break about how Luther’s view of the law changes along with his changed view of Romans 1:17, “I am not ashamed of the gospel… for in it, the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith, as it is written, ‘The righteous shall live by faith.'”

How do we look at how the righteous shall live by faith?

Heads up that this second half of the episode might require a few rewinds to capture. Some people may only listen to the history stuff of the first half and call it good enough (which is okay). We won’t track you down and make you listen to all the second half.

Recognition of Source Materials

    • David Whitford – Luther: A Guide for the Perplexed
    • James Kittelson – Luther the reformer
    • LW 34 and 48
    • Catholic Encyclopedia
    • Luther’s large catechism


Episode 3 – Grace on Tap – Sermon on Indulgence and Grace

This episode looks at a sermon from the spring of 1518 that Martin Luther wrote and shared with the German people to explain the controversy on indulgences and why the grace of God is our confidence.

Published copy of Luther’s “Sermon on Indulgence and Grace” from 1518. From the Taylor Institution Library, Oxford

The featured beer for this episode is Founders All Day IPA. This is a session beer, which means that its alcohol content is lower and so appropriate for drinking over an extended period.


Episode 1 – Grace on Tap – Background on 95 Theses

The first episode for Grace on Tap.

This podcast looks at the people, documents, and contexts for the Lutheran Reformation. This episode especially focuses on the situation in Germany leading up to the posting of the 95 Theses on October 31, 1517. We discuss the social structures that are changing in this time period, and how the situation is set for Martin Luther to rely on the Scriptures for His teaching.

Here are some of the resources we found helpful for this episode:

The featured beer for this episode: Shorts Brew Autumn Ale. Autumn Ale is an English-style Extra Special Bitter (ESB). It has a medium body, amber colour, and full flavor. This beer exhibits a wonderful balance of malty sweetness and earthy, herbal hop bitterness. Autumn Ale won a silver medal at the 2006 Great American Beer Festival.

We look forward to hearing from our listeners.

You can send us an email at

You can find out more information about us.