Friday, December 31, 2010

King Gambrinus

I've heard of Saint Arnold, the patron saint of hop pickers and Belgian brewers, but until yesterday I had  never heard of King Gambrinus, but have now seen two references to him in the past two days.  Here is what Wikipedia has to say:
Gambrinus is a legendary king of Flanders, and an unofficial patron saint of beer or beer brewing. Gambrinus is variously depicted as a European king, as an English knight of the Middle Ages, or (less commonly) as a plump old man. Gambrinus' birthday is purported to be April 11.
The origin of the character is most widely believed to be John the Fearless (1371–1419), who some also believe to be the inventor of hopped malt beer. However, other sources report that one of the cup-bearersCharlemagne (742–814) was also called Gambrinus. In 1543, the German poet Burkart Waldis wrote of Gambrinus, explaining that Gambrinus learned the art of brewing from Isis, the ancient Egyptian goddess of motherhood and fertility.
There is a holding company named Gambrinus that has brands Shriner, Bridgeport, Pete's Wicked Ale and Trumer Pils.  I had never heard of the holding company before.  I learned two new beer trivia facts over the past two days.

In looking at that picture of King Gambrinus, I think I've seen some of his decedents at O'Brien's.

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