Finally, we had the traditional Blessing of the Beer, from the Rituale Romanum at our annual Feast of the Assumption Mass, procession, and picnic. Every year at our apostolate we celebrate this great feast of our Lady with a special Mass, followed by a Eucharistic procession and then a huge feast. I supply the beer. This year the line-up consisted of three brews by yours truly. The first was a Southern English Brown and the recipe I used was taken from Jamil Zainasheff's Brewing Classic Styles: 80 Winning Recipes Anyone Can Brew, which is truly a great resource. All of the recipes I've brewed from that book have been marvelous and this caramelly English Brown was no exception. Then I had a Honey Blond Ale, brewed from a recipe I got over at the TastyBrew forum, posted by a guy who goes by the online moniker of CLB (now chaselakebeer). Look at this thread and scroll down to the second recipe he posted. I changed the hops in this one (I used East Kent Goldings for bittering and Hallertau for flavor and aroma), but I've brewed it twice and it's really a crowd-pleaser. I made 10 gallons and fermented one half with American ale yeast (US-05 dry yeast) and the other half with a Belgian yeast (T-58 dry yeast) and called it a Belgian Blonde. The only difference between the beers is the yeast and they are radically different. I like them both, but the nod actually goes to the regular Honey Blond half with the neutral yeast. Very yummy. This is a super beer for those who aren't really into beer, lean toward the CoorsBudMiller end of the spectrum, and are hesitant to try new beers. But believe me, even if you're really into special beers this is a nice one.
I don't know if the traditional blessing makes the beer taste any better, but it was enjoyed by all and that is a great satisfaction. If you are ever in the vicinity of southwestern Wisconsin near the Feast of the Assumption (August 15, ya know), then by all means come out and join us for the great time to honor our Lady and have a wonderful time together.