Friday, February 1, 2008

St. Brigid of Ireland

Today, February 1, is the Feast day of St. Brigid of Ireland. St. Brigid has an interesting association with beer. According to tradition Brigid was working in a leper colony when they ran out of beer. Since beer was an important source of safe liquid refreshment and nourishment, this was a serious issue. Brigid is said to have changed her bath water into beer to nourish the lepers and visiting clerics. In another miracle attributed to the Saint, Brigid provided beer to 18 churches for an entire Easter season, all from a single barrel of beer in her convent.

Brigid was inspired by the preaching of St. Patrick, and along with Patrick, is considered a Patron Saint of Ireland. Brigid was a great advocate for the poor all her life. As a young woman she frequently gave away her family's possessions to help those in need until she was eventually granted her wish enter the religious life. Around 470 A.D. she founded Ireland's first convent which became one of the most prestigious monasteries in the country. The historical facts surrounding St. Brigid's life are few because numerous accounts of her life include many miracles and anecdotes deeply intertwined with pagan Irish folklore. Nonetheless she is an important figure in Celtic history.

A prayer attributed to St. Brigid begins "I'd Like A Great Lake Of Beer For The King Of Kings. I Would Like To Be Watching Heaven's Family Drinking It Through All Eternity." A worthy wish indeed.

The Saint's name is frequently, though incorrectly, written as Bridget. The Great Divide brewery in Denver offers St. Bridget’s Porter, which was initially released as St. Brigid's Porter. The name was eventually changed to match the common misspelling. Today we'll raise a toast to St. Brigid. Here's hoping to see that Great Lake some day.


  1. Very intresting lady, and indeed your article too connecting her to beer. I just tasted the Faroese beer Sct. Brigid IPA from the small brewery in the northern town in the Faroe Island Klaksvig.By google I was lead to your blog. The brewery, Föroya Björ, is founded 1888, and has some very good beers from the clear and smooth mountainstreams on the islands.

  2. Late to the party again (sigh).
    When I brewed beer I referred to it as "bathtub beer" because I used my mom's unused bathroom's bathtub to keep the primary and secondary fermenters in since the porcelain kept the area at a steady temperature.


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