Get ready for the annual Blessing of the Beer on St. Patrick's Day in Louisiana

Melinda Martinez
Alexandria Town Talk

St. Patricks’ Day is Friday. That means it's time for the annual Blessing of the Beer. The Tasting Room of Louisiana, 812 3rd Street, in downtown Alexandria will have their blessing at noon. The blessing at Fighting Hand Brewing Company, 1600 Military Highway, in Pineville will be at 6 p.m.  

It’s a Central Louisiana St. Patrick’s Day tradition 

Melissa Scarborough, owner of the Tasting Room, was Finnegan’s head bartender. When Scarborough took over the establishment, she felt it was a tradition worth keeping.  

The blessing has been an annual St. Patrick's Day tradition in Central Louisiana since the mid-2000s. It started at a pub called Finnegan’s Wake. It later became The Tasting Room of Louisiana. 

Father Chad Partain blesses the beer during the annual Blessing of the Beer held in 2019 at Finnegan's Wake, now The Tasting Room of Louisiana, in downtown Alexandria. The blessing has been an annual St. Patrick's Day tradition at the pub since it opened in 2006.

The blessing is written in the official rites of the Catholic Church 

Father Chad Partain, who blessed the beer in previous years, stated in a prior Town Talk article that the tradition dates back to Gambrinus, "the patron saint of beers,” in modern day France around 800. 

"Bless, o Lord, this creature beer, which by your power has been produced from kernels of grain. May it be a healthful beverage to mankind. And grant that through the invoking of your holy name, all who drink hereof may find it a help in body and soul." 

Why bless beer? 

"As Christians we have always blessed food. Beer is a food item so we bless beer in a particular way because it's the beginning of the spring, a turning of the season as we get ready to celebrate the joy that goes with Easter," said Father Stephen Brandow in a 2020 Town Talk article. 

Monks brewed beer to supplement diet 

Traditionally, monks brewed beer to supplement their often meager diets, particular during times like Lent, when they ate no meat. They sometimes sold the beer and branded it after patron saints of their monasteries — a tradition that lives on today, with several brands of beer named after saints.