Holy beer

Even the cool kids were gettin' their pope on this week.

Community Beer Works, a nano-brewery on the West Side of Buffalo, sponsored a contest urging fans of their handcrafted beer – which includes a pale ale called Frank – to be the first to send a photoshopped picture of the new pontiff holding a glass of CBW beer.

“Growler or glass,” the beer makers clarified. The winner gets a $12 gift certificate.

Within five minutes, beer fan Christopher Budde posted a picture of Pope Francis with one arm raised and the other clutching a glass featuring the beer maker's green logo.

But the beer looked dark.

“Pope Frank, ironically, drinks The Whale,” the beermakers said. The Whale is CBW's brown ale.

While Community Beer Works celebrated Wednesday's papal announcement, one Western New Yorker lamented its timing.

“I don't think my #State-OfErieCounty will be the top story on any local broadcast now that white smoke is billowing at the Vatican. Oh well, the show must go on :),” County Executive Mark Poloncarz wrote on Twitter.

A Viking in the village

Thomas J. Reigstad, a Mark Twain scholar whose ground-breaking book on the author's 18 months in Buffalo will be published this week, has asked a lot of questions in his decades as an English professor at SUNY Buffalo State and as a journalist. So Reigstad responded with equanimity when he was asked to verify a small but specific fact:

Does he really live in Kenmore?

It turns out that many people whose houses are located in the Town of Tonawanda have a Kenmore mailing address but don't live in the village.

Reigstad's response ventured far beyond geography into genealogy and culture. In an email, he wrote, “I'm Norwegian-American (my Dad's first and middle names are “Thorwald Viking,” as were my grandfather's). We named our youngest son Leif, after Leif Eriksson, who thought he was in America, but was only in Greenland. No sense of direction, our people.”

But, concluded Reigstad, whose father also went by Tom, “I have lived in the same house in the Village of Kenmore for more than 26 years.”

Look for the details on Reigstad's book, “Scribblin' for a Livin': Mark Twain's Pivotal Period in Buffalo,” on the Spotlight cover Sunday.

Meanwhile, who do we see to change our name to “Thorwald Viking”?

Take him to Irish Times

The next president of Niagara University, the Rev. James J. Maher, is coming to campus with an impressive list of credentials to his name:

Master's in theology. Doctor of ministry. An executive vice president at St. John's University.

He won the school's President's Medal in 1998 and serves on the board of the second-largest emergency food provider in New York City.

But there was one other milestone worth mentioning this week when Maher was introduced to campus: He was named one of the “Top 100 Irish-Americans in the United States” by Irish America magazine in 2004.

“And yes,” said NU Chairman Jeffrey Holzschuh, “he will have a drink from time to time.”

Sing a song of praise

At Monday's School Board meeting, Lancaster High School senior Jason Maybach was recognized for being named to the Business First 2013 All-Western New York Academic Team.

Marie Perini, the district's director of secondary education, rattled off some of Maybach's accomplishments. He's an Eagle Scout, member of the Leadership Academy, the English Honor Society and the Concert Choir.

“If we're nice, he'll break into a chorus of 'If I Were a Rich Man,' because he was Tevye in 'Fiddler on the Roof,' ” Perini said as the audience chuckled.

“I'm sorry. I should have recognized you,” said board President Kenneth Graber, who saw the school musical.

“I shaved,” Maybach quipped.

By Stephen T. Watson with contributions from Maki Becker, Mary Kunz Goldman, Anne Neville and Jay Rey.