Beer Brewing and God Fearing Beer Drinking – God and Guinness #4

Moving to Dublin

Guinness Ad-St James
This is a continuation of what has become my summary of Stephen Mansfield’s book; The Search for God and Guinness. A biography of the beer that changed the world.

To go back and read the last post click HERE.
It was 1759 when Arthur Guinness moved to Dublin. That was the very same year the first president of the United States got married to a girl named Martha. He was thirty-four years old at the time. Arthur moved to an old brewery located in the western part of Dublin called St. James Gate. It was a brilliant move given the intention of the government to link Dublin with the River Shannon and Limerick which would put the end of the canal right at his doorstep. Another amazing thing he did was to negotiate a low nine-thousand-year lease. Have you ever heard of someone with a nine-thousand-year lease? Twenty years later in 1779 his beer was so good and his reputation so intact that Guinness was named the official beer maker for Dublin Castle which was the British Governments headquarters for Ireland.
Arthur married Olivia Whitmore on July 17, 1761. Olivia was young, wealthy and an absolutely beautiful woman. She put Arthur into contact with the Dublin society and raised them to a status he could never have done alone. Arthur and Olivia would go on to have ten children. They had six boys and four girls. This set up a long dynasty of the Guinness family of beer makers. By the time Arthur Guinness passed away in 1803 the little brewery he started would become the largest business in all of Ireland.
It is not just the beer he made however, that makes the grand story. It is the story of how he knew that making his beer was a calling and a purpose given to him by God. He knew it was his calling to do good in the world through his occupation.
Let us take a look at who was a godly influence on Arthur’s life.
When the old Gaelic society collapsed and the change to Protestant Ascendancy occurred Ireland was ruled by a small representation of English Protestants. As Arthur rose up in the Dublin society he was a protestant that was outspoken toward anti-Catholic laws and he often challenged the ruling class traditions whenever morality was the basis. He was brought up with values from his parents and he was also influenced heavily by John Wesley. Wesley preached at the church that Arthur attended. It was St. Patrick’s Cathedral and was loaded with the calloused souls of wealthy attendees. Arthur had the opportunity to meet Wesley often through the contacts of his wife’s family and the parties which both he and Wesley attended. It is said that Wesley was unimpressed with Arthur Guinness or with the church as he called it a fledgling evangelical church over in Ireland. There is no way to know the degree of connection between John Wesley and Arthur Guinness but what became clear is the degree that Arthur lived out the values of Wesley. One of these values was that the gaining of wealth was to allow the Christian man to “give all he can to those in need.” Arthur lived that value by the way he treated his workers and contacts. Another project Arthur took on confirmed his faith and also his desire to do good. Arthur Guinness was the founder of the first Sunday schools in Ireland. He did this while it offended the Roman Catholics and others and this speaks volumes about his devotion to the Sunday school movement and to fulfill his calling to do good in the world. None of this would have been possible without his success and skill at brewing beer. Many causes he supported went on to great success. The Sunday schools were all over Ireland, Mead hospital which he supported was a great success and other good causes he supported were thriving.
When Arthur Guinness passed away on January 23, 1803 his children would go on to lead the Guinness Brewery to newfound heights. The causes Arthur supported of caring for the less fortunate for the greater glory of God would be carried on by the family. His beer making skills still carry on as well with over ten million pints a day of Guinness stout consumed around the world. Guinness St James Gate
Come back for the next post on more of what the Guinness culture has done for the world and to the glory of God.

May God bless your day,

The Tubthumper


God Fearin Beer Drinkin, Pt 2

pilgrims-drinking-1040cs092612One of the first buildings the Pilgrims constructed was the brewery. Gregg Smith wrote, “Their critical shortage made a brewhouse a priority among the structures built that first winter in Plymouth. The need for a brewery was immediate. The lack of beer caused them the most displeasure.”  When the Puritans made the trip to New England in 1630, a decade after the original Pilgrims, they were sure to have plenty of beer in supply. On just one ship, the Arbella, they loaded 42 tons of beer. A ton is 252 gallons, therefore no less than 10,000 gallons of beer was consumed by the Puritans on the journey. As soon as they arrived to the new city they called Boston the building of the brewhouse was a high priority.

Keep in mind the Puritans, preferred to call themselves “the godly”. The 17th century English Puritan preacher Thomas Watson used “the godly” to describe Puritans in the title of one of his more famous works, ‘The Godly Man’s Picture.’
Certainly beer was not the most important point of the Pilgrim adventure or the Puritan settlement. But it was there, it was beloved and it was needed. Beer was such a priority that it shaped a lot of decisions made by those forefathers. Beer helped to shape entire civilizations and effected critical decisions. We must consider the role that beer played within the civilization of man.

You might be thinking about how they brewed all that beer back then and how it tasted. Of course the beer of then was not as refined as the beer now but the basic process for brewing beer is relatively simple. Brwing processUsing a grain, usually barley, you wet it to allow it to germinate or sprout. When it sprouts it is quickly dried and has become what is called “malted’. The malted barley is then roasted and the length of time roasted will determine the color of the beer produced. This roasting is important for the dark beers and stouts. The malt is then mashed (or soaked) to convert the natural starches into sugars for fermentation. After this process more water is added to wash the sugars off the grain and this liquid is then called “wort”. Now the wort needs to be boiled, the dried hops get added for flavor along with whatever spice, fruit or other flavoring is desired. Once the hopped wort cools they add some yeast which creates the alcohol and carbon dioxide and magically, now they have the sweet, hopped water known as beer.

Who Discovered it?

The first making of beer likely occurred as a wonderful accident and to find out more we must trace the beginning of mankind. Our first ancestors likely came from the land called the “Fertile Crescent” between Egypt and the Mediterranean coast. It was called the “Fertile Crescent” because its soil was fertile and rich in nutrients and a perfect place to grow wheat and barley. (Or anything else for that matter.) Remember my earlier statement that this beer origination was likely some kind of mistake or a series of mistakes allowing for discovery. That’s how most of our great things of today were discovered. Not only did man need to learn how this stuff of mashing and fermenting happened but they also needed to make jars to contain it. That is why we often discover ancient huge vats and jars. I can imagine someone leaving grain out and getting it wet, it dried and baked in the hot sun, rain again causing the wort and then natural air-born yeast causing fermentation. Can you see this person finding a foaming jar of bubbly stuff and giving it a taste? Then they liked it and figured out how to repeat that process and experiment through curiosity to determine the time honored method of beer production.

There was a professor at the University of Pennsylvania that developed a theory that beer did develop this way an also caused man to change his hunter-gathering ways to production of grains. His name is Solomon Katz if you care to look this up. His main focus was that without beer man would never have become civilized. He claims they began making cities because they needed to be in the same place to have a stable environment to produce this alcoholic beverage of sorts. He points to the fact that civilization literally means “living in cities.” He believes beer is the primary reason man moved from the wild into cities. That’s all I want to say about Mr. Katz as his story is a story in itself and a rabbit trail I don’t wish to follow. Many others have followed the same logic over the years and whether true or not has little bearing on my focus.

Another thing they neglected to put in the history books is that beer was regarded as a sacred drink in the ancient world. It’s not hard to see why they might have thought the process of beer brewing is a miracle and a gift of the gods. In the Jewish and also later in the Christian worldview it was a blessing from the creation of the one God. Everyone agreed the brewing of beer was a sacred cooperation with the cosmic forces of the universe. As an example, the oldest recipe for beer known to mankind is found in the poem called, “The Hymn to Ninkasi,” which is an ode to the Sumerian goddess who lived on mythical Mount Sabu. “The mountain of the tavern keeper.” And what about the word “booze”? It is said that the modern word “booze” came from the Nubian’s exceptional skill at making beer and their word for the tasty brew, bousa. ♦

Of all the ancient peoples, however, it was the Egyptians that really put the breweries on the map, so to speak. They made beer the “heart” of their religion and had a strong myth tied to the brewing process and gods for every stage.

Come back for the next post and we can look at these Egyptian beer gods a little closer.

To jump to Part 3 just click the beer glass….Guiness glass

God bless your day,

The Tubthumper


♦ Stephen Mansfield, In Search for God and Guinness (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 2009) p 6-7, 14.



BeerAs I begin writing this blog entry I remember a very humorous television session. I think it was on the Ellen Degenerate show. There was a live call with a 90 something old lady and out of the blue (live) she said, “Well Ellen, I love Jesus but I love beer too.” It put people into stitches, me included. But hey, there is some seriousness to her lament
I will be writing many words about beer and the makers of beer. It will likely be 20,000 words or more and I hope you will stay with me. I hope you will be as intrigued as I.
This began as a thought to write about Arthur Guinness and how he used his beer brewing business for the cause of Christ in Ireland. Once I get into the Guiness story you may want to consider it a primer on a best selling book by Stephen Mansfield, “The search for God and Guinness.” Before I do that I must give you some background on the history of beer and it’s relation to Christianity. I think you will be surprised and amazed. If not anything else you will be the benefactor of a wonderful history lesson.
My disclaimer is this: Do not use my writing as an excuse to become intoxicated and drunken with beer or wine. I am not providing any justification or permission to drink. Drunkenness is sinful and bad for society as a whole. “And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit;” (Ephesians 5:18) My purpose is to open the eyes of everyone to a great story of how God uses the wealth of men and the things of men for his purpose. “But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty.” (1 Corinthians 1:27) If you stay with me until the end you will see this clearly.

If you have followed my blog you already know I am not stranger to controversial issues. So it shouldn’t surprise you I am taking this one on. I read Christian magazines and blogs continuously and often the subject of drinking comes up. I can’t tell you how many times I have seen writers take on the question of whether or not Christians should be drinking alcoholic beverages. It is not my purpose to take on that particular question today. I will give you my opinion however, regarding the subject of beer and then move on with my topic.
I do not believe it is a sin to have a pint of stout (beer) once in awhile with your meal at a restaurant or at home with your family. I do believe it is a sin to over indulge in it and become drunk. I believe drunkenness is a sin and that is what the Bible addresses. “Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.” (1 Corinthians 6:10) I can point to over 100 verses within God’s word on this subject and all point to abuse and drunkenness. With that said, my position is that if you have trouble with self control then you should definitely abstain and avoid it at all cost. As a friend of mine says, “I am weak-willed and easily led.” If that’s you then be forewarned and do not partake. Secondly as a Christian, I would never do anything to cause a brother to stumble. What that means is to never have anything present or be doing anything among any brethren that could cause them to sin. We want to be sure we are of the same mind. “It is good neither to eat flesh, nor to drink wine, nor any thing whereby thy brother stumbleth, or is offended, or is made weak.” (Romans 14:21)
So just to be clear, it is not the beer that is the problem. It is the abuse that is the problem. I can’t put it into any better perspective than one of our great reformers and forefathers that also drank beer. Martin Luther wrote, “Do not suppose that abuses are eliminated by destroying the object which is abused. Men can go wrong with wine and women. Shall we then prohibit and abolish women?” Yes, Martin Luther had a love of beer too. I won’t bother to call for a vote among men as to whether to abolish the beer and wine or to abolish the women. It might be a close vote.

Let’s begin the history trail of beer. You might be stunned, as I was to find that beer played a humongous role throughout the centuries within Christianity.
The Pilgrims
Let’s start with the Pilgrims and the Mayflower back in 1621 when they landed at Plymouth. They were standing guard because they knew natives were watching them. It must have been unbelievable to them when one native walked out of the woods and approached them. The native was almost naked with just a small loin cloth covering his private parts as he shouted “Welcome!” in clear English. They must have been even more surprised when this native asked them if they have any beer. Wow! He asked for beer! That’s right, you won”t find it in the grade school textbooks that one of the first of communications with this native was about beer. But it was. You can find it yourself within, ‘Mourt’s Relation’ and ‘Of Plymouth Plantation’ which are two primary sources for information on the story of the Pilgrims. So don’t just take my word for it. The native’s name was Samoset and he mastered the English language traveling with English ships up and down the coast of New England. Not only did he learn the language but he also developed a keen taste for English beer. When the Mayflower left the shores of England John Alden saw to it that it was loaded heavy with more than enough beer to make the trip. As it turned out the supply was running low when they landed and to them it was a dangerous threat. For the Pilgrims beer was more than a refreshing drink on a hot day. They believed it had great medicinal quality and like most people then were afraid to drink the water and instead drank beer. It was believed all the water was unsafe but beer was pure and healthy. They didn’t understand yet that the boiling of the beer along with the alcohol that kills the germs was what made it consumable and could also do the same for water.♦
We need to keep in mind that the Pilgrims represented Godly people. They risked their lives for religious freedom. The risk they took which caused death and sickness hardly explained enough was a religious and spiritual, not a political agenda; moral and theological principles were involved, and from their perspective, there could be no compromise. That is why they boarded the Mayflower.
Visiting the first paragraph of the Mayflower Pact we see, “In the name of God, Amen. We whose names are underwriten, by the loyall subjects of our dread soveraigne Lord, King James, by the grace of God, of Great Britaine, Franc, and Ireland king, defender of the faith, etc.”

These were godly men that were also committed to beer production and consumption.
Join me for the next segment on the beer story among Christians. You will be glad you followed along…     To jump to part 2 just click the glass of beer… Guiness glass

May your day be filled with God’s blessing,

The Tubthumper


Stephen Mansfield, In Search for God and Guinness (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 2009) p 4-5.