From a reader…
I recently took up homebrewing as a hobby. Are there any traditional prayers, say from monastic brewers, that I can pray while I enjoy my new hobby?
I’m reminded of the old chestnut about whether it is okay to smoke a cigar while praying the Breviary. Maybe not, is the answer usually given. But it is okay to pray the Breviary while smoking a cigar!
I think there is a prayer that runs something like, “Our lager, which is in barrels, hallow be thy foam….”, or words to that effect.
It seemed proper to consult an expert, so I wrote to the Benedictine monks at Norcia, who are making splendid beer. The brewery managing monk himself wrote back:
Dear Fr. Z,
Thanks for your email. We don’t do anything fancy. We simply use the blessing in the Roman Ritual. Sometimes too, while one of us is brewing, we may be praying the Divine Office in the brewery.
I hope you enjoy the beer! [I do, and so do my priest friends.]
So, in answer, I don’t think there are any specific prayers for the brewing of beer. If you don’t say the office, you might say the Rosary and other prayers as you work.
There is, however, the blessing of beer in the old Rituale Romanum which a priest can impart.
When your brew is true invite the priest over to pray over it.
V. Adjutorium nostrum in nomine Domini.
R. Qui fecit caelum et terram.
V. Dominus vobiscum.
R. Et cum spiritu tuo.
Benedic, Domine, creaturam istam cerevisiae, quam ex adipe frumenti producere dignatus es: ut sit remedium salutare humano generi, et praesta per invocationem nominis tui sancti; ut, quicumque ex ea biberint, sanitatem corpus et animae tutelam percipiant. Per Christum Dominum nostrum.
V. Our help is in the name of the Lord.
R. Who made heaven and earth.
V. The Lord be with you.
R. And with thy spirit.
Let us pray.
Bless, + O Lord, this creature beer, which thou hast deigned to produce from the fat of grain: that it may be a salutary remedy to the human race, and grant through the invocation of thy holy name; that, whoever shall drink it, may gain health in body and peace in soul. Through Christ our Lord.
And it is sprinkled with holy water.
And may I remind all of you that the Benedictine Monks in Norcia, Italy, are recovering from a terrible series of earthquakes? They could use your support and you could use their beer! Everybody wins (except Satan).
Finally, may I note that International Buy A Priest A Beer Day went unobserved by all of you readers? Tisk tisk.
It isn’t too late to make amends.