31904 - Papal approval of beer for Lent

The period of Lent in the Catholic faith is a time for sacrifice and reflection. The Catholic Church introduced this period of forty days prior to Easter it is thought in about 300 AD.  Early followers of Christianity fasted during this time as a demonstration of their sacrifice and abstention and to follow in the footsteps of Jesus where he spent forty days in the desert prior to starting his ministry.

Before we go too far down the history of Catholicism, let's fast forward to the monks of the 1600s, specifically the Paulaner Monks from Cloister Neudeck ob der Au. Many people in those days brewed their own beer but groups of monks had dialed in the process to be some of the best beer producers of their time.

They were looking for sustenance during the long period of Lent.  Although food was forbidden during this time, drink was not.  Shortly after their arrival in Germany, the Paulaner Monks brewed a doppelbock called Salvator to provide them this sustenance during Lent.

But as time went on, the monks started feeling guilty.  Lent was supposed to be a time of sacrifice and abstention but here they were enjoying a most delicious drink every day.  They decided to get the pope of the time to weigh in on whether or not their delicious beer was allowed during Lent.  They sent samples from Munich to Rome to get the papal opinion.  However, during the long and hot journey, the beer spoiled so by the time it got to Rome, it was repulsive.  The pope decided that anyone who would drink this liquid was demonstrating humility before God so he blessed the beer as an approved Lenten sacrifice.