I have always enjoyed drinking Real Ale and a couple of years ago i made some home brew, which turned out OK - The Vicar's Bitter!
Recently I did something something related - in the midst of a busy week of funerals and the usual day to day parish activities, I blessed a microbrewery which has just opened in the parish.
There is a long history of brewing being associated with the Church, as many of the brewers in the Middle Ages were monks. Today, eleven Trappist breweries are active — six in Belgium, two in the Netherlands, and one each in Austria, Italy and the United States.
Chapter VIII of the Rituale Romanum, a liturgical manual dated 1614, includes special blessings for almost anything you might use on a daily basis, and includes the following blessing which I used today:
Our help is in the name of the Lord.
Who made heaven and earth.
The Lord be with you.
And with your spirit.
Let us pray.
Bless, + O Lord this brewery and this beer, which you have produced from the grain: that it may be a remedy to the human race, and grant through the invocation of your holy name; that, whosoever shall drink it, may gain health in body and peace in soul.
Through Christ our Lord. Amen.
The Brewhouse is a new venture and is located in the old stable block at the back of the Wheatsheaf pub which is located half-way between Christ Church and the Vicarage!
The brewery is under the watchful eye of Mark Aston, and is producing three Real Ales,
Mustang Sally (3.8% ABV), Mustang Gold (4.6% ABV) and Mustang V8 (6.8% ABV).
The ales are on sale at the Wheatsheaf and also at other local pubs in Burslem and across the City and beyond. Do look out for the range if you're drinking locally.
The left over malt and grain from the brewing process is then fed to some local pigs just down the road, so the whole venture is also sustainable.
It's great to see this new venture, especially at a time when so many local pubs are closing, and it was a great pleasure to be asked to bless the brewery.
After blessing the brewery I enjoyed a pint of Mustang Gold.
Story on BBC Radio Stoke concerning the blessing.
Please click below to listen.