Today is Saint Arnold's Day; Raise a Pint In Support of Your Local Homebrewers
There are many beer holidays scattered throughout the year that give us reason to drink heartily but today is unlike any other because today we celebrate Saint Arnold, the patron saint of brewers, the guy who gave people a legit excuse to drink beer.
CC Wikimedia/Mpolo Saint Arnold
Saint Arnold is not one person. There are at least three people known by this name who all carry similar legends. What should be recognized is the fact that Saint Arnold brought beer to the masses and we pay homage to the home brewers who are actively doing the same thing. There is no official, church-recognized Saint Arnold's Day, but it is generally accepted that it is July 18.
In Medieval times, food and beverage sanitation was not widely practiced, thus food-borne sickness was very common. Along came Arnold of Metz who preached to local peasants to drink beer rather than water because it was boiled, thus rendering the liquid safe from any pathogens (and because boiled water is just no fun to drink).
Legend has it that he ended a plague after he dipped his crucifix into a brew kettle and told people to drink only from the "blessed" kettle.
A similar story is told of Arnold of Soissons, who came at least 400 years after Arnold of Metz, although the former is typically depicted with a mash rake in hand. Arnold of Soissons is more typically associated as the patron saint of hop-pickers. He is also said to have improved the process of brewing by using straw cones as a filter to clarify beer.
Then there is a third Saint Arnold that, depending on the source, could be distinguished from the previous two. Arnou of Oudenaarde was known to multiply beer into vast quantities through blessing and prayer. According to legend, he once successfully appealed to God to bring cold beer for the soldiers to drink during a 11th century battle in Flanders, Belgium.
In recognition of dear Saint Arnold, we pay homage here to our own homebrewers - those who do it purely for the love of beer and those who hope to go pro.