German Beer’s Sacred Roots

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May 24, 2013 by Prost Brewing

Many may find it surprising to find out that German beer was largely developed by monks and nuns, but indeed, Germany has a long history of monks and nuns brewing beer.

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Centuries ago, beer was the daily drink of people because plain water was often contaminated, and beer was an inexpensive alternative that was considered highly nourishing by most.

Monks and nuns brewed their own beer as a drink that offered hearty sustenance, particularly during fasts when liquids such as beer were still permitted.  It was not long before they saw the economic value of their quality brews, leading them to begin selling their beer, putting the name of the monastery’s patron saint as their label.

Patron St. Label

Both monks and nuns were well educated, using their learned minds to take a scientific approach to brewing.  Carefully refining their techniques with trial and error coupled with careful observation, they were able to discover the virtues of hops as both a preserving and bitter-ing agent.  The benedictine nun, Hildegard von Bingen, a well known herbalist, abbess, physician, natural scientist, advisor to Emperor Frederick I as well as other popes, bishops, and kings, was the first to write of the nourishing, healthful, and preserving qualities of hops in beer in the book titled ‘Physica Sacra’, or ‘Sacred World.’

Hildegard von Bingen

Hildegard von Bingen

This famous ‘brewnun’, credited as making the earliest known reference to using hops in beer, was also known to have drunk beer regularly, living to 81 years of age, an astounding age for her time.  Such longevity may lead one to ponder upon the validity of her claim that a little beer promotes health.  Certainly, a few sips of one of Prost’s pleasure ridden brews will leave you feeling happier and healthier than before, left wondering if it is the German beer’s sacred roots that may bring such joy to the soul.

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One thought on “German Beer’s Sacred Roots

  1. Nice post! I’m in the process of writing a multi-part article on Monastic Brewing, The Trappists, and Non-Trappist Monastic breweries. I’ve posted the first two so far. The last piece will probably end up focusing on a lot of the German monasteries that still brew since Germany seems to have the highest concentration.

    Here are links to the first 2 parts:
    http://wp.me/p2ucmM-CA
    http://wp.me/p2ucmM-zP

    By the way, I’ll be in Denver in June and will be stopping in to visit your place. I’m a German beer fan and have heard great things about what you guys are doing.

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