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St. Arnold’s Day is Significant, Especially in Houston

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History has it that Saint Arnold’s day is celebrated because he brewed beer instead of forcing his local people to drink the water that was making them sick.

That’s the kind of attitude we look for around here at Beer Chronicle.

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July 18th is Saint Arnold’s Day, a day not only significant to the beer world but one that is especially important right here in the great city of Houston.

The man in celebration, St. Arnold of Metz, was born in France in 580. Several legends are centered around him, but our favorite part has to do with a plague.

Oh, wow, that sounds familiar…

During his time as a monk in Oudenburg, Belgium, Arnold spent time convincing his neighbors that drinking beer (which is boiled) was safer than drinking water.

It was a valid concept, and one we’d like to think is applicable to current times.

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In just a few days, we’ll celebrate Saint Arnold’s legacy, and while the state government feels that this must be done from the comfort of our living room couch, we won’t let COVID-19 stop us.

Saint Arnold Brewing Company is Texas’ oldest craft brewery and has been in business since 1994 in Houston.

Many of us love them for such classics as their 5 O’Clock Pils, Fancy Lawnmower, and maybe we even mourned the loss of Weedwacker, R.I.P.

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And you wouldn’t be wrong.

The brewery situated on Lyons Ave. just north of downtown has been brewing beer for nearly 26 years.

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St. Arnold Brewing Company was originally located in far northwest Houston, and relocated to its current location in 2009.

Despite trials and tribulations, the company was up and running again by the spring of 2010 in a 3-story building that was once a food service facility for HISD. That meant plenty of room for brewing beer, or 100,000 barrels if you’re keeping score at home. It also makes a lot of sense why the beer hall and investor’s pub have the same red tile as the cafeteria that houses your fond memories of chicken fried steak and dinner rolls.

Between 2010 and 2018, the brewery continued to grow and establish itself as Houston’s largest brewery.

Not only do they have a solid lineup of shelfies, they are also known for two absolute bangers of beer series, their Bishop’s Barrel and Divine Reserve.

The Bishop’s Barrel series are all barrel-aged beers, whether it’s something they’ve brewed before or a completely new beer. With aging times ranging, every release is unique.

In a similar fashion, the Divine Reserve series are all single batches, focusing on brand new recipes. It’s all random, and all hard-to-find.

While the water is safe to drink, we still find ourselves in difficult times with a LITERAL plague taking over the planet.

Whether it’s COVID-19, racial and social injustice issues, or supporting those who serve us, it can be helpful to step back and reflect on where we’ve come from.

The Houston beer community has grown a LOT, especially in the past few years. Many, many breweries have started up (and sadly, a few have shut down), but those, like Saint Arnold, laid the groundwork to satisfy this huge city’s craft beer thirst and continue to lead the charge in many ways.

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So, on July 18th, join us for a toast to the Patron Saint of Brewers, Saint Arnold. The history books say he provided beer to those who went to bring his remains back for burial.

Our favorite saint is in a little bit of trouble right now, though. They got a snap decision handed down from our governer that shuttered their doors in an instant and wiped out the jobs of about 75 employees in a moment’s notice.

Founder and Brewer Brock Wagner had this to say, “We have worked hard to create one of the safest dining experiences in the state, waiting an extra two weeks to reopen, restricting ourselves to only outdoor tables, increasing spacing and instituting strict safety protocols. We have received much positive feedback for our efforts. Even if there is another shutdown which seems increasingly likely, it is critical that we get this interpretation changed.”

We are STILL trying to get just an answer as to why Governor Abbott recklessly decided to count our distributor sales with our on-site sales and close our outdoor dining and cost more Texans their jobs.

The Governor even directed the TABC to NOT notify breweries about this sudden change to their interpretation or publicly post it on their website. The TABC is working with us but their hands are tied, and unfortunately, this puts more Texans on the unemployment rolls.

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If you have a minute, there are three ways to help:
1) Please visit the Governor’s website, fill out the contact form, and ask him to allow us to safely continue our dine-in operations and get our employees off unemployment.

2) Sign this petition courtesy of the Texas Restaurant Association asking Governor Abbott to clarify the definition of “restaurant” for all COVID-19 regulations.

3) Stop by the brewery for a curbside pickup order this weekend.

Give Saint Arnold a hand. Like, applause and help.

Feels like we could all use a refill and a helping hand right about now. Amirite?

Beers to you, Houston.


Brent is originally from Ohio but has been in Houston for over 10 years. As an Aggie, musician, animal advocate, and Lego collector, he always has something going on. If you have an imperial stout, come find him. He’ll want to add it to his insatiable beer spreadsheet.


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Brent Topa
brent.topa@beerchronicle.com

Brent is originally from Ohio but has been in Houston for over 10 years. As an Aggie, musician, animal advocate, and Lego collector, he always has something going on. If you have an imperial stout, come find him. He'll want to add it to his insatiable beer spreadsheet.

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