Belgium Blesses Its Beer on Brewers’ Day

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Members of the Knighthood of the Brewer's Paddle attend a mass in front of a barrel of beer at the Saint Gudula Cathedral in Brussels
Members of the Knighthood of the Brewer's Paddle attend a mass in front of a barrel of beer during celebrations of Saint-Arnould, patron saint of brewers, at the Saint Gudula Cathedral in Brussels, Belgium September 7, 2018. REUTERS/Francois Lenoir
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BRUSSELS (Reuters)

Belgian brewers accompanied by musicians dressed in medieval costumes took a barrel of beer to Brussels’ cathedral on Friday for consecration as part of an annual celebration of their patron saint, Arnould

Known as the Knighthood of the Brewer’s Paddle, the guild of brewers walked to music through Brussels’ historic Grand Palace to the cathedral for the ceremony, where the wooden cask of beer was blessed by a priest.

 

Bearers carry a barrel of beer on Grand Place ahead of a mass at Saint Gudula Cathedral in Brussels
Bearers carry a barrel of beer on Grand Place ahead of a mass celebrating Saint-Arnould, patron saint of brewers at Saint Gudula Cathedral in Brussels, Belgium September 7, 2018. REUTERS/Francois Lenoir

 

“It’s a magnificent celebration for Saint Arnould … it’s a great tradition because beer in Belgium is something we are very proud of,” said Daniel Krug, an executive at the brewery of the family-run Duvel Moortgat.

Belgian monks began brewing more than 1,000 years ago and there are currently more than 150 breweries making beers ranging from strong Trappist brews to fruit ales.

 

Members of the Knighthood of the Brewer's Paddle attend a mass in front of a barrel of beer at the Saint Gudula Cathedral in Brussels
Members of the Knighthood of the Brewer’s Paddle attend a mass in front of a barrel of beer during celebrations of Saint-Arnould, patron saint of brewers, at the Saint Gudula Cathedral in Brussels, Belgium September 7, 2018. REUTERS/Francois Lenoir

 

In a ceremony that dates from medieval times, Arnould, an 11th century monk and later a bishop in Flanders, is said to have blessed a local brewery whose beer miraculously cured local people from the plague.

The consecration will be followed by the country’s beer weekend, an event gathering all brewers on the Grand Place to get the public to discover Belgium’s over 1,100 different beers.

 

 

The event was attended by Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel, who said beer was central to both Brussels’ and Belgium’s international image. “It’s our cultural heritage,” he told Reuters.

 

(Reporting by Hortense de Roffignac; Editing by Alison Williams)

 

Bearers carry a barrel of beer ahead of a mass at Saint Gudula Cathedral in Brussels
Bearers carry a barrel of beer ahead of a mass celebrating Saint-Arnould, patron saint of brewers, at Saint Gudula Cathedral in Brussels, Belgium September 7, 2018. REUTERS/Francois Lenoir

 

Bearers carry a barrel of beer ahead of a mass at Saint Gudula Cathedral in Brussels
Bearers carry a barrel of beer ahead of a mass celebrating Saint Arnould, patron saint of brewers, at Saint Gudula Cathedral in Brussels, Belgium September 7, 2018. REUTERS/Francois Lenoir

 

Members of the Knighthood of the Brewer's Paddle attend a mass in front of a barrel of beer at the Saint Gudula Cathedral in Brussels
Members of the Knighthood of the Brewer’s Paddle attend a mass in front of a barrel of beer during celebrations of Saint-Arnould, patron saint of brewers, at the Saint Gudula Cathedral in Brussels, Belgium September 7, 2018. REUTERS/Francois Lenoir

 

A priest blesses a barrel of beer next to members of the Knighthood of the Brewer's Paddle during a mass at the Saint Gudula Cathedral in Brussels
A priest blesses a barrel of beer next to members of the Knighthood of the Brewer’s Paddle during a mass celebrating Saint-Arnould, patron saint of brewers, at the Saint Gudula Cathedral in Brussels, Belgium September 7, 2018. REUTERS/Francois Lenoir

 

Bearers carry a barrel of beer on Grand Place ahead of a mass at Saint Gudula Cathedral in Brussels
Bearers carry a barrel of beer on Grand Place ahead of a mass celebrating Saint-Arnould, patron saint of brewers at Saint Gudula Cathedral in Brussels, Belgium September 7, 2018. REUTERS/Francois Lenoir

 

A priest blesses a barrel of beer next to members of the Knighthood of the Brewer's Paddle during a mass at the Saint Gudula Cathedral in Brussels
A priest blesses a barrel of beer next to members of the Knighthood of the Brewer’s Paddle during a mass celebrating Saint-Arnould, patron saint of brewers, at the Saint Gudula Cathedral in Brussels, Belgium September 7, 2018. REUTERS/Francois Lenoir