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What is the origin of buy your priest a beer day (September 9)?


What is the origin of buy your priest a beer day (September 9)?

The practice of buying a priest a beer  traces its origin to St. Hopswald of Aleyard, the first man to buy his priest a beer.

The legend has it that, St. Hopswald, a master brewer by trade, was a Germanic pagan who got converted and baptized by a zealous Catholic priest.

It is said that, one day, St. Hopswald committed a grievous sin. Without wasting a moment, he ran quickly to his priest and confessed. Later that day, as he was particularly enjoying the peace of a clean conscience, St. Hopswald was so filled with gratitude for his priest’s sacramental ministry that he rushed to the rectory and offered to buy his priest a beer.

Later, the parishioners also picked the date to buy beer for their priests in order to share with them how they have benefitted from the impact of their priesthood and show appreciation to them.

What is the Catholic history of beer?

Like universities and hospitals, the roots of the modern beer brewing industry run through the Catholic monasteries of Europe.

And although many of the monasteries are gone, their beer lives on as some of the most well-known brands in the world, said Scott Mertie, a parishioner at Holy Family Church in Brentwood, a beer historian, and the owner of Nashville Brewing Co.

Originally, beer was primarily brewed in homes. But in the Middle Ages, there was a shift to brewing beer in monasteries.

The monasteries would host people as they passed through the town, offering them shelter, food and drink, often beer. Just as the monasteries were making their own food, such as cheese, they started brewing their own beer.

Beer was an important part of the monks’ diet. They were mostly drinking beer. For them, it was safer than water.

The monks started recording their beer recipes, documenting every batch, and keeping track of what worked and what didn’t, Mertie explained. As monks would leave one monastery to establish another, they would bring their recipes for beer with them.

It was the monks who discovered that adding hops to the recipe acted as a preservative, which allowed the monasteries to keep their beer in kegs and ship it to other communities. It was a secret the monasteries kept to themselves.

The process of boiling the hops had the extra benefit of making beer safer to drink than water, especially during the many plagues that struck Europe during the Middle Ages.

St. Arnold of Metz, the patron saint of brewers, once blessed the kettle used to brew beer to convince the people of the city to drink beer instead of water during a plague, which saved many lives.

Beer saints

There are many saints of the Church who have connections to beer and brewing

St. Florian, the patron saint of Austria, Poland, firefighters and brewers, saved the city of Nuremberg, Germany, from a massive fire by using beer from a local brewery to put out the fire.

St. Brigid of Kildare, one of the patron saints of Ireland, was a brewer and several miracles involving beer are attributed to her, including using one keg from her monastery to supply beer to 18 other monasteries. On another occasion, she changed the dirty bathwater in a leper colony into beer.

St. Arnold of Soissons, the patron saint of hops pickers and Belgian brewers, is credited with improving filtration techniques for beer.

In the 1500s, brewing beer started moving from the monasteries to secular brewers. Some of those secular brewers with monastic roots are still brewing today, including Augustiner and Paulaner.

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