Vanilla Beer artist

St Arnold of Soissons (oil painting, 30cm x 30cm, 360€).

St Arnold of Soissons (ca 1040-1087) is the patron saint of hop-pickers and Belgian brewers.

Arnold, born in Brabant, the son of one Fulbertus, was first a career soldier before
settling at the Benedictine Abbey of St Medard's Soissons, France. He spent his first
three years as a hermit, but later rose to be abbot. He tried to refuse this honour
and flee - as often happens with saints - but was forced by a wolf to return.
He became a priest and in 1080 was elected as bishop of Soissons, another honour
he sought to avoid. When his place was occupied by another bishop, rather than
fighting, he took the opportunity to retire from public life, founding the Abbey of
St Peter in Oudenburg, Belgium.

At the abbey, he began to brew beer. He encouraged local peasants to drink beer
instead of water, due to its "gift of health." The beer normally consumed at breakfast
and during the day in Europe at this time was called small beer, having a very low
alcohol content and containing spent yeast. Thus the drinker had a safe source of
hydration, plus a dose of B vitamins from the yeast which grew during the fermentation
of the beverage.
The miracle tale says that at the time of an epidemic, Arnold was the abbot in Oudenburg.
Rather than stand by while the local Christians drank water, he had them consume
his alcoholic brews. The brewing process transformed tainted water. Because of this,
many people in his church survived the plague.

Miracles that were reported at his tomb were investigated and approved by a council in 1121