2014 Pulitzer Prize Winner

Raise a glass to beer’s patron saint at June 14 festival

Published: May 1, 2014, 10:11 pm, by Stephanie Earls

Europe during the Dark Ages wasn’t a fun place to live for most people. There was war, plague, starvation and indoor plumbing was still a millennium away. On the up side, the awfulness was short-lived because most people were too; you’d have been lucky to reach your mid-40s if you were a commoner.

In summary, it was a world that desperately needed a beer. 

Thankfully, the people of the Dark Ages had Saint Arnold of Metz, a 7th century Frankish bishop later dubbed the patron saint of suds.

“According to history, he ministered to the sick and the poor but I suspect he had time to make beer,” said Brian Bennett, who helped found the  Feast of Saint Arnold, a June 14 celebration of beer, wine, spirits and good food on the grounds of the historic Chapel of Our Saviour Episcopal Church in the Broadmoor area. 

Now in its second year, the festival “celebrating Colorado’s lifestyle and culture” benefits Westside CARES, an ecumenical, interfaith collaboration that helps needy residents living on the west side of the Springs and western El Paso County.

Last year, just under 500 people came out to celebrate with the 7th century saint at the inaugural feast. Bennett expects a much bigger crowd this year.

“We’re shooting for over 1,000. I think it’s going to be better,” he said.

As of late April, in addition to food vendors, wineries and distilleries, 20 brewers had signed on to hand out samples, including Bristol, New Belgium, Oskar Blues and Trinity Brewing, as well as the only out-of-state representative, Saint Arnold Brewing of Houston, Texas.

This year’s VIP “experience” will be presented by the Colorado Mountain Brewery. The $55 ticket buys early entry to the event, at 11 a.m., as well as access to the historic 1920s church, where the brewery will provide its signature eats. VIP attendees can also use the church’s indoor toilets.
For those who want the real(er) Dark Ages washroom experience (a la portable toilet), general admission tickets are $25 in advance. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit the Feast of Saint Arnold website.