“From man’s sweat and God’s love, beer came into the world.” A saying by, St. Arnulf of Metz
I bet you are thinking, How did important religious personages become the patron saints of beer? The bishops of brewers? Do Not Worry, I will explain.
Centuries ago, beer was the daily drink of the people. This is because, plain water was often polluted and also due to beer’s inexpensive, nourishing qualities. The beer has been brewed by monks for centuries as a safe source of hearty sustenance. Monk’s meals were frugal at best, especially during fast and consumption of liquids did not break the fast. The Monks were able to sell their beers at pubs called klosterschenken, and a flourishing trade developed. Beer has always had a close relationship with Catholicism. In fact, It was said that Holy Mother Church had proven her love for this beverage by enshrining of an official beer blessing in the texts of the Roman Ritual.
Here are 7 holy men who have the distinction of being named patron saints of the noble art of brewing.
1. St. Arnulf or Arnold of Metz
He is the most famous of brewing patrons is St. Arnulf of Metz. He was a bishop and advisor to king Theudebert II of Austrasia. After his death at Remiremont Abbey, parishioners from his former diocese of Metz, who already venerated him as a saint, went to recover his body. The journey was during a particularly hot part of the year, and the travelers were ready to faint of thirst. One of the parishioners, by the name of Duc Notto, cried out, “By his powerful intercession the Blessed Arnold will bring us what we lack.” Miraculously, their supply of beer was replenished and lasted until they returned home.
2. St. Augustine of Hippo
St. Augustine, the Doctor of Grace is the patron saint of many things, including the Patron Saint of those who practice the art of brewing. While it is unclear how he achieved this distinction, it is likely through his profound conversion in which he was transformed from a wild, drunken, and dissipated soul into a holy and temperate bishop. So, if you often get drunk or find yourself in the sin of gluttony, you can not stop even though you want to, why not seek the help of this Saint!
3. St. Wenceslaus
He was known for his heroic almsgiving and compassion for outcasts. St. Wenceslaus was venerated immediately upon his martyrdom in 935 A.D. You may have heard of this good king before due to his holy life being celebrated in song, but you probably didn’t know he is also a patron saint of brewers. Well, now you do.
4. St. Luke the Evangelist
Yes, this is St. Luke who wrote the Gospel of Luke. This holy man is the patron of everything from goldsmiths to lace makers to sculptors, and he is also another patron saint of brewers! There is no obvious reason. Possible connections include his being a physician and knowing that beer at that time was healthier than water of the time. He also had a good ability to mix various herbs together for medicines just as they were mixed for beer. If anyone else can explain to me another connection between St. Luke and brewing, I will be much obliged.
5. St. Gambrinus
First of all, St. Gambrinus is not really a saint. In fact, it’s unclear whether he was a real person or simply a myth based on real personages. Nevertheless, St. Gambrinus embodies the joyful enjoyment of alcohol and has even been credited by some with being the inventor of beer. Others say he learned the art of brewing from the gods, and still, others say he simply was a man who could down epic amounts of beer. Regardless, he is famous in European folklore for typifying the merriment brought by the blessed brew.
6. Nicholas of Myra
Also known as Saint Nicholas, or Santa Claus, a Turkey and believed to have lived in the first half of the 4th century, and died between 342 an 350 AD. This Saint is associated with the legend of three Clerics where 3 church scholars stopped to lodge in an inn, and the innkeeper slew them for their money. A disguised Nicholas invoked God’s help to resurrect them and, by doing so, he became a protector over travelers and brewers.
7. Saint Arnold Of Soissons
This Saint is specifically considered as the Patron Saint of hop pickers. He is often confused with Saint Arnold of Metz and the same miracles. Following the collapse of the roof of an abbey brewery in Flanders, the good Saint Arnold of Soissons asked God to multiply the stores of beer which was left for the Monk’s consumption. Arnold’s prayer was answered in abundance and the Monks and townspeople were prepared to canonize him on the spot.
There are several other Patron Saints of beer. Beer, this blessed brew is one of life’s great enjoyments and an incontrovertible sign of God’s great love for us. It has always been honored as a noble and honorable art, and through the centuries, many brewmasters have called upon these saintly patrons to aid them in their craft. Whether you’re taking up home brewing or simply enjoying beer, you can not go wrong by invoking the intercession of these holy men.