image © Staas Beer
“I would like a great lake of beer for the King of Kings; I would like the people of heaven to be drinking it through time eternal.” ~St. Brigid of Ireland
The blessing of beer…
In the Middle Ages, beer (which is made from cereal Grains) was one of the safest, most nutritious everyday drinks for northern Europeans – since grapes didn’t grow in that colder climate, and water was often polluted.
Occasionally a batch would go bad, and people would naturally blame the devil for the problem. To keep the demon away, brewer would place religious statues in their brew house, and also ask the local priests to bless a new batch.
Bock beer is a darker, stronger beer which began in northern Germany. It is brewed in the fall, aged through the winer, and served in early spring. Beer festivals traditionally began on St. Joseph’s Day (March 19), and often included the blessing of the new beer.
Many monasteries brew their own beer. It was a staple of the monks’ diet because of its nutritional qualities (they called it “liquid bread”). This was true especially during the Lenten fast, which restricted solid food.
Since monasteries often served as inns for travelers, monks sold their beer as a means of support. Some beers still bear the name of the monastery!
The Little Black Book – Six-minute reflections on the Weekday Gospels of Lent, Wednesday, February 24, 2016 – Second Week of Lent