The church has a rich and tasty, historical relationship with beer. Many religious orders from medieval times through to the present day have brewed their own. Medieval church hostelries sold church ales to raise funds. These were banned by Oliver Cromwell and many became ordinary alehouses. To this day many medieval churches are located close to ancient pubs. The church nave was often used for local people to sell their produce. It was a safe place to trade and for the community to come together.
St Andrew’s Church in Hertford is following in this great tradition of bringing together the community and cask ales. On September 8th from lunchtime until early evening the Church will become a hub, not just for the local congregation but for the wider community when the second St Andrew’s Beer Festival opens. They are hoping that people from far and wide will join them for live music, good food and a few pints of real ale. Alex Wilsdon, who used to be a cask and keg manager and is now part of the congregation at St Andrew’s is in charge of selecting the beer. There will be 12 real ales for tasting this year with some ciders.
Rev Alan Stewart said “It’s a wonderful space to share with the community. A church should be a place of hospitality and safety. We are not trying to convert anyone. It’s a great opportunity for us to get to know each other and work as a team for the benefit of the wider community”. The last beer festival at St Andrew’s raised over £1200 for Wateraid. There will be something for everyone at this festival live music, food, children’s play area and crafts to name but a few. I’m certainly putting it in my diary.