August 2 is “International Beer Day“, and in honor of such an auspicious occasion, I provide an Internationally flavored beer entry about a good saint for brewers to know, and one of my recipes developed in honor of him.
It might be sacrilegious — although I think not — but I select a patron for each brew day from the Lives of the Saints. For example, I brew a beer that I normally call “Religious Liberty Ale”, but because I was able to brew on June 22 — the feast day for St. Thomas More — and because I wanted to “amp up” the normal brew, I brewed ten gallons of “Super Religious Liberty” that day.
One of the patron saints of brewers and beer is St. Arnold of Metz, whose feast day was July 18. The “Legend of the Beer Mug” [note: I’m not representing that Wikipedia is a reliable or academic source, but we are dealing with a LEGEND here] is attributed to his intercession:
“It was July 642 and very hot when the parishioners of Metz went to Remiremont to recover the remains of their former bishop. They had little to drink and the terrain was inhospitable. At the point when the exhausted procession was about to leave Champigneulles, one of the parishioners, Duc Notto, prayed “By his powerful intercession the Blessed Arnold will bring us what we lack.” Immediately the small remnant of beer at the bottom of a pot multiplied in such amounts that the pilgrims thirst was quenched and they had enough to enjoy the next evening when they arrived in Metz.”
I’ve definitely felt, from time to time, that I have been the recipient of small miracles of kegs not going empty when a hungry and thirsty crowd is gathered around, expecting plenty of food and beer. I’ve had kegs pour pitcher after pitcher, long after I thought they should go empty, even when they feel totally empty. I make a note of the saints for those kegs, and I pray to them when I brew.
This beer is actually half of a single 10-gallon batch of beer. This half (St. Arnold of Metz) was brewed at regular ale temperature and the other half (St. Arnold of Soissons, August 14) was brewed at lager temperature, using the same “hybrid” California Lager yeast.
The Recipe is here.
Tasting notes: This Imperial IPA offers up notes of melon, orange blossom and apples on the nose. The mid-7% alcohol content provides a smooth warmth on the palate, without an overwrought or flabby mouthfeel, which is adequately balanced with the bitterness of the hops, reaching nearly 70 IBUs (although realistically, I think this beer tastes closer to 55-60 IBUs). Flavor notes include grapefruit rounded out by a subtle malt profile.
St. Arnold of Metz, pray for us.
I will post a followup with tasting notes for St. Arnold of Soissons in a few weeks!