5 Patron Saints of Beer

June 25, 2014

4572052486_6b3aa384e8“From man’s sweat and God’s love, beer came into the world.” – St. Arnulf of Metz

Ah, beer. This blessed brew is one of life’s great enjoyments and an incontrovertible sign of God’s great love for us.

Brewed by monks for centuries, beer has always had a close relationship to Catholicism. In fact, Holy Mother Church has proven her love for this beverage by enshrining of an official beer blessing in the texts of the Roman Ritual.

Today, I want to share 5 holy men who have the distinction of being named patron saints of the noble art of brewing.

1. St. Arnulf of Metz – Perhaps the most famous of brewing patrons is St. Arnulf of Metz. St. Arnulf 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. 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. Other 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.

3. St. Augustine – The Doctor of Grace is the patron saint of many things, not the least of which is 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.

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. If anyone can explain to me the connection between St. Luke and brewing, I will be much obliged!

5.  St. Wenceslaus – 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. Now you do.

Conclusion

Brewing has always been honored as a noble and honorable art, and through the centuries, many brew masters have called upon these saintly patrons to aid them in their craft. Whether you’re taking up home brewing or simply enjoy beer, you can’t go wrong by invoking the intercession of these holy men. Cheers!

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Sam Guzman

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    • AvatarJohn Powell says

      Padraeg Sant (St. Patrick to you English barbarians) was a Holy man and a good Welshman, so no doubt he, in his mercy, brought not only the Faith to the pagan Irish, but also the wonderful golden nectar called beer. 🙂

  1. Brother-Andre Marie says

    Monks and Canons Regular drank beer during Lent in the Middle Ages. This is because the fast was so strict, that they looked for a fortifying drink that could get them through to their one meal of the day, after sunset. (Lent slowly evolved to the lax thing it is now.)

    Saint Augustine’s patronage of brewing likely comes from the fact that Augustinan Canons (not exactly, but almost, monks) brewed the beverage in English- and German-speaking countries, and also Belgium, it appears.

    The following links may help. From Germany:

    http://www.augustiner-braeu.de/augustiners/html/en/Historie.html

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Augustiner_Br%C3%A4u

    From the UK:

    http://www.beeradvocate.com/beer/profile/1390/3747/

    The Norbertines are also Augustinian Canons, as they are Canons Regular living the Rule of Saint Augustine, so their beer — from Belgium, the land of sublime Trappist Ales — counts too:

    http://belgianbeershrimper.wordpress.com/tag/augustine/

    Here is a longer article on patron saints of beer:

    http://www.beerhistory.com/library/holdings/patron_saints.shtml

    I live in St. Augustine’s Priory, and have a devotion to the Saint… and I like the beverage a bit, too.

  2. Andrew says

    Beer has been around since the Mesopotamians! And good on Bob Haley for noting St Brigid, who prayed for a lake of ale to serve to the saints.

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