Bless + this creature, beer, which by your kindness and power has been produced from kernels of grain, and let it be a healthful drink for mankind.
Grant that whoever drinks it with thanksgiving to your holy name may find it a help in body and in soul; through Christ our Lord. Amen.
St. Arnold (580-640), also known as St. Arnulf of Metz, was a seventh-century bishop of Metz, in what later became France. Much beloved by the people, St. Arnold is said to have preached against drinking water, which in those days could be extremely dangerous owing to unsanitary sewage systems — or no sewage system at all. At the same time, he frequently touted the benefits of beer and is credited with having once said, “From man’s sweat and God’s love, beer came into the world.”
Wise words, and St. Arnold’s flock took them to heart. After his death, the good bishop was buried at a monastery near Remiremont, France, where he had retired. However, his flock missed him and wanted him back, so in 641, having gotten approval to exhume St. Arnold’s remains, they carried him in procession back to Metz for reburial in the Basilica of the Holy Apostles. Along the way, it being a hot day, they got thirsty and stopped at an inn for some beer. Unfortunately, the inn had just enough left for a single mug; the processionals would have to share. As the tale goes, the mug did not run dry until all the people had drunk their fill.
Good beer — and good wine for that matter — is a small miracle in itself, being a gift from God to His creatures, whom He loves. As G.K. Chesterton wrote in Orthodoxy, “We should thank God for beer and burgundy by not drinking too much of them." And as a German monk is quoted to have once said, "Beer makes you sleep easy. Easy sleep makes you not sin. Not sinning gets you into heaven. Amen." Amen!
-Sean P. Dailey, The Lost Art of Catholic Drinking