For centuries, monks have brewed beer for themselves and for others to enjoy. In Germany, they brewed Doppelbock beer during Lent, referring to it as “liquid bread” and drinking it as part of their fast. The tradition was also to have their brews blessed by the abbot or another priest, according to Nick Flies, head brewer at Pantown Brewing Company in St. Cloud.
That tradition continues in central Minnesota.
For the second year, Flies has created a traditional-style German Doppelbock called “Clodoald.”
“The name comes from the original name of St. Cloud which was St. Clodoald,” Flies said. “I picked him because of the clear reference to St. Cloud, Minnesota, where Pantown is located.”
He used Vienna (and other German and European) malts and German yeast. The brew is described as having sweet, bready notes, as well as notes of caramel and toffee.
As a Catholic, Flies wanted to have a traditional beer blessing. He asked Father Scott Pogatchnik, rector of St. Mary’s Cathedral and pastor of St. Augustine Parish in St. Cloud, if he would bless the brew, and he was happy to help.
“These are the good things of the earth that we should enjoy together, and we should enjoy in a special way,” Father Pogatchnik said. “This is part of our heritage. It’s part of our tradition.”
Clodoald Doppelbock was released Feb. 25 and a crowd gathered at Pantown Feb. 28 for a special “Blessing of the Bock.”
After a rousing verse of the “Beer Barrel Polka,” Father Pogatchnik welcomed everyone, talked a little about the beer and blessed it, reading the Blessing of Beer from the Roman Ritual.
“Bless O Lord this creature beer, which you have willed to produce from the fat of grain,” Father Pogatchnik read. “That it may be a salutary remedy to the human race, and grant through the invocation of your Holy Name, that whoever shall drink it may gain health in body and peace in soul.”
He offered a toast after the blessing.
“It’s good to see these breweries that help us carry on the tradition, both of brewing this beer and getting us together,” Father Pogatchnik said. “I think in a world that’s increasingly isolated, to find reasons to get together and to share our stories and to build up community are really important.”