Morris dancers periodically gather together in conventions called “ales.” In ordinary times, when there aren’t raging wildfires and global pandemics, there’s an ale in California every year hosted by one of the many fine Morris teams in the state. Below is a chronicle of some of the ales Berkeley Morris has hosted. For a more complete list of California Ales, visit the California Ale site.
For reasons shrouded in the mists of time, Berkeley Morris has the reputation of preferring ice cream to beer, a truly vile accusation in morris circles. It is, in fact, utterly without foundation, and we have no idea how this got started, really we don’t, but in an attempt to approach the situation with humor rather than with the bloodthirsty rage it deserves, we named our 1987 ale the Malt and Malted Ale.
Artwork by Antone Cepernich.
In 1991 the Loma Prieta earthquake was still very much on everyone’s mind around here, even though it happened two years earlier, and that’s why we called our ale that year the Quakes and Ale. In case this isn’t dead obvious, it’s a pun on “cakes and ale,” a combination that seems thoroughly repulsive to me but was used by Sir Toby Belch in Twelfth Night as a metaphor for, more or less, “good times and easy living.”
Artwork by Carin Coulon.
Our motivations for naming our 1995 ale the Holy Gr’ale remain obscure. Probably a combination of having seen That Movie one too many times and a woeful lack of any better ideas.
Artwork by Patricia Mary Ross.
In 1998, Berkeley Morris celebrated its twenty-first anniversary. As one of the oldest morris sides on the Pacific west coast, Berkeley Morris alumni went on to form or participate in teams such as Seattle’s Seattle Morris and Misty City Morris, southern California’s Pennyroyal Morris, and the Bay Area’s Deer Creek Morris Men, Mayfield Morris and Sword, Swords of Gridlock, Goat Hill Morris, and Ring of Cold Steel. These and other teams joined Berkeley in toasting (with tankards of ale or big frothy milkshakes, depending on who was doing the toasting) the Coming of Age of this west coast institution.
Artwork by Elaine Richards.
West Coast Ale April 13-15, 2001
In 2001, we went to the Henry Bothin Camp for the last time. Tours in San Francisco. Click link above for more information.
Artwork by Julia Berger and Patrick Farley.
Beyond the Pale Ale
April 13-15, 2007
In 2007, Berkeley Morris celebrated its thirtieth anniversary at the Headlands Institute in the scenic Marin Headlands.
Artwork by Ethan Hay.
April 22-24, 2011
The Headlands Institute in the scenic Marin Headlands.
Artwork by Cliff Stevens.
April 17-19 2015
Nature Bridge in the scenic Marin Headlands.
April 5th – 7th, 2019
2019 saw our triumphant return to Camp Bothin. We were joined by teams from the West Coast and New Zealand for tours in Marin.
Artwork by Rosemary Clark.