If you are looking for a fun read about the history of Catholics and drinking, this is it! In the book, The Catholic Drinkie’s Guide to Home Brewed Evangelism (Liguori Publications), drinkie Sarah Vabulas explores the biblical highlights of enjoying wine and strong drink. She explores the brews created by Monks and discusses what we can learn from their brewing process of prayer and work. With all this new knowledge, she shows us how we can evangelize to others over social networks and bring us together over a pint of our own homebrew. In the last section of the book, she gives us her recipes with tips and tricks to creating our own homebrew!
Vabulas begins with the history of the use of alcohol in Biblical times. Newsflash: Jesus loved a good glass of wine! She describes how Jesus’ first miracle was at a wedding and how he ultimately used the fruit of the vine to give of himself in the Mass.
“To continue the traditions of the early Christians, we offer back to God man-made bread and wine at the Mass as a sacrifice and result of our earthly labors.”
She summarizes the history of strong drink and how it was used for everything from medicine, celebrations, and a daily drink as part of meals. Actually, there are water-based drinks developed as a way to make dirty water safe to drink, called Mead (who knew!). She gives us a short background on some patron saints of brewers and alcohol, and outlines each of the brewing monasteries and the types of beer they make and distribute.
I really enjoyed the chapter titled Monk Inspiration and found the principles to be simple, yet challenging when applying them to my own life. Basically, the pillars to making a good brew are discipline, humility, work and spiritual life. My favorite point is making prayer a part of work.
“I find that when I am feeling anything is tedious, whether it is homebrew-related or not, if I make my work into a prayer as the Rule calls for, it becomes easier.”
Just like anything worth doing, in order to obtain success we need to be disciplined in our calling, humble when we struggle, work hard at all times and always put God in his proper place, first in our lives.
Brewing and Evangelization
Vabulas gives the reader a primer on social networking and how to use it to speak about your passion, whether that be pop culture, TV, or beer. Finding the place where you can draw people in is the first step to evangelizing and we need meet the audience where they are at. We can then integrate a favorite verse or saint feast day into the message or tweet, interacting when there are questions, being authentic, and sometimes, just be silent.
Vabulas shares wonderful stories of her own bar-side evangelization and she really shows she was like Jesus who went into “the homes of tax collectors and sinners” sharing a glass of wine with dinner. She also shares her times of homebrewing with a priest, deacon in a young adult group, and in her apartment with friends. She shows us there is a thrill in brewing, fellowship and excitement when they finally get the first taste of their latest fermented creation.
“Homebrewing should be fun, I do it for fun and an escape from my sometimes-stressful day-to-day life.”
The last chapters are the homebrewing recipes and tips to brewing your own one gallon batches. She begins by giving us the lingo (so you can sound like an expert). Then, outlines all of the supplies and ingredients needed to make the beer and along with the basic brewing process. Vabulas shares her “secret” recipes for fruity and light, medium, and dark and full-bodied beers, concluding with a Limonchello and Mead recipe. She even includes blessings of wine and beer, and additional resources.
A Catholic Drinkie
Sarah Vabulas writes a fun, interesting read on the complex topic of mixing alcohol and Catholicism. Two things that we probably didn’t think would mix well, but all in moderation, with the right ingredients, work and prayer, can create a beautiful kinship. Discussing everyday problems over a pint can open us up to feeling comfortable to talk about our common issues and the opportunity to offer sound godly advice, just as Jesus would do when was here on earth. So raise your glass to The Catholic Drinkie’s Guide to Home Brewed Evangelism, and discover the fellowship of homebrewed evangelism.