St. Arnoldus Day: Drink beer, not water

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A Belgian beer served up to celebrate St. Arnoldus Day at Bazi Bierbrasserie July 18, 2013. (KOIN 6 News)

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Many in Portland don’t need an excuse to drink beer, but dozens turned out Thursday night at Bazi Bierbrasserie in southeast Portland to honor a saint rumored to support it.

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A sign at Bazi Bierbrasserie in honor of St. Arnoldus Day July 18, 2013. (KOIN 6 News)

Every July 18, the Belgians honor Saint Arnoldus — the “patron saint of Belgian beer.” He’s most famous for reportedly urging his congregation to “drink beer, not water” during a plaque epidemic.

The local water at the time was believed be one way to contract the illness. The water in beer, however, was sterilized during production — thus killing any plague bacterium.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has since determined that breathing “cough droplets” of those with plague pneumonia “is the only way that plague can spread between people.” However the plague can still be contracted through sickened animals, which happened a year ago to an Oregon man.

FYI: The Bazi pub plans to continue its Belgium celebrations Sunday, with an all-day “Celebrate Belgian Independence Day.” That event, however, comes with a $19 per person set fee.

Related links:

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A yellow lab waits patiently for his owners outside the Bazi Bierbrasserie on St. Arnoldus Day July 18, 2013. (KOIN 6 News)

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