I’ve been speaking and writing about beer for years. Some people have asked if it’s really worth my time with all the important theological topics and cultural problems that could be addressed. It’s something I’ve definitely considered, but what I’ve found is that beer is a great entry point into the bigger picture of Catholic culture.
This is my approach in The Beer Option, which just came out last week. Beer has opened up a lot of possibilities for me to draw people more deeply into the Catholic tradition. I just got back from a Beer Option pilgrimage to France and Belgium, during which we visited monastic breweries, medieval churches, the relics of saints, and saw some great art.
And in November, you can experience the Beer Option yourself at a men’s retreat I’m leading November 9-11 at St. Joseph’s Farm in North Carolina.
Beer from a Catholic perspective is not about excess or goofiness, as we might see on a college campus, but fits within a rich life of friendship, culture, and prayer. Beer roots us in local traditions and customs, gives us a chance to work together in the home through homebrewing, and helps us to express our joy and thanks for the blessings we have received. I should be consumed for the glory of God and integrated into family life and the rich conversation of friendship.
This is what we’ll experience at St. Joseph’s Farm: an experience of Catholic culture centered around conversation, fraternity, festivity, the beauty of nature, and some old-fashioned work. I’ll be speaking about the dynamics of the Beer Option and how it can help spark our imaginations in the work of rebuilding Christian culture in our lives. Beer can help us to think about the nature of work and culture, how to integrate food and drink into a healthy and holy life (modeled by the monks), and how to build up a local and family economy.
The Beer Option retreat will be a true retreat, giving you time to reflect on your life in prayer and discussion. We will enjoy beer as part of our conversation, of course, but the retreat is truly a time for general refreshment in the beauty of Western North Carolina. With a perfect setting on the farm, we’ll be experiencing the work of building culture first hand.
Come experience this truly innovate retreat and get a glimpse of a richer Catholic culture that you can bring back home.
See you there! Cheers!