Over the past few days I’ve been thinking a lot about the connection between Christianity and the making of beer. I know, weird combination to put together. I should probably back up and give you some background. I grew up in the church. Every Sunday morning as a teenager we went to church with mom. It was expected that we would be there with her but never forced, and that is the hope I have for my kids.
A few years ago I was introduced to home brewing beer by a friend, was given some free equipment from my uncle, and have not looked back since. Extracts, grains, yeast, hops, exploding bottles, and “bath-tub gin” as some of my friends call it, I have learned how to make a decent bottle of beer and also to appreciate the work that goes into the production of craft beers.
During the Middle Ages, beer was widely consumed by all ages. Water during this time was deadly, and although not known at the time, beer was safe to drink because it was (and still is) boiled. It was reported that Saint Arnold of Metz ended a plague with beer. He placed his crucifix into a brewing kettle, next he asked people to drink the beer that had been blessed in the kettle.
“Don’t drink the water, drink beer”
“From man’s sweat and God’s love, beer came into the world.”
My challenge to myself over the coming months is to investigate where religion and the world of beer intersected and continue to intersect. Can brewing be a spiritual practice, similarly as some hold gardening? My hope for this is a journey a deeper understanding of this history behind beer, and the ties between Christianity and beer.