It's not every day a church brews its own beer. But St. James Episcopal Church, in Lancaster, will unveil its St. James Brown Ale to the public tomorrow at Iron Hill Brewery.
The church's rector, the Rev. David Peck, of England, loved the idea when Chad Rieker and David Rutledge, beer brewers and St. James members, suggested it.
"There are a lot of microbrew drinkers in the church, and a lot of interest in quality beer," Rieker said. "We thought we would donate it to the church, and they could do whatever they wanted with it."
The initial batch of several gallons was served to rave reviews at a church event.
But Rieker, who works as a brewer at Lancaster-based Iron Hill, decided to take the ale a step further and brewed 310 gallons for the restaurant.
"Everyone knows St. James Church," Rieker said. "It's just another way for Iron Hill to connect with the community."
Peck acknowledged there is tension over Christians' drinking alcohol but said the problems stem from excessive drinking, not from having a social drink or two.
"Good food and drink provide the opportunity to build friendships and community, which are an invitation to encounter God," Peck said.