The origins of April Fool’s Day are shrouded in prank-filled mystery. There are plenty of theories, some of which sound like pranks themselves. All we know is that the idea of a day devoted to tricking our friends is centuries old.
In France, the holiday is called poisson d’Avril or April fish, a nod to the custom of surreptitiously taping a paper fish to someone’s back. In Scotland, it’s Hunt-the-Gowk Day; a gowk is a cuckoo or a foolish person. As early as 1698 — the same year Samuel Smith started brewing beer — a popular British prank involved sending people to the Tower of London to see the “washing of the lions,” a ceremony that did not exist.
The jury’s still out on whether playing tricks on friends and family is harmless fun (or downright mean), but a good belly laugh relieves stress, lowers blood pressure and relaxes blood vessels. And an increasing number of breweries are getting in on the act. On previous April Fool’s Days, Stone Brewing has announced such fake beers as Extreme LemonyLime, low-carb Stone Justification Ale and a Stone Juxtaposition Black Pilsner. Last year, the Czech brewery Pilsner Urquell announced a new pilsner called Black PilsNOIR.
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