Saint Arnold(Arnold of Soissons) is a saint of the Catholic Church and the patron saint of hop-pickers and Belgian brewers.
As abbot in Oudenburg, Arnold brewed beer, as essential in medieval life as water. Saint Arnold encouraged local peasants to drink beer, instead of water, due to its “gift of health”. During the process of brewing the water was boiled and thus freed of pathogens, making the beer safer to drink. The beer normally consumed at breakfast and during the day at this time in Europe was called small beer, having a very low alcohol content, and containing spent yeast. It is likely that people in the local area normally consumed small beer from the monastery, or made their own small beer at the instructions of Arnold and his fellow monks. During one outbreak of sickness, Arnold advised the local people to avoid consuming water, in favor of beer, which advice effectively saved lives.
One miracle tale says, at the time of an epidemic, rather than stand by while the local people fell ill from drinking water, Saint Arnold had them consume his monastery brews. Because of this, many people in his church survived the plague.
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