Long blessed by Catholics as a “healthful drink for mankind,” one Texas priest has managed to take beer to new heights – winning the highest award in the United States for home-brewed beverages.
“It’s surreal,” Fr. Jeff Poirot told the Fort Worth Star- Telegram. “After we were done screaming from excitement when we won, it was hard to put it into words what winning the Ninkasi means to us.”
Yet, for the brewing priest, his hobby doesn’t detract from his vocation.
“This is a hobby, and it’s a hobby I’ve done all right with. So I would never want it to eclipse what I do … because my role as a priest takes precedence,” he told the newspaper.
“You can have a busy life. You can have commitments with family and work, but you can still do something you love.”
Fr. Poirot serves as pastor of Holy Family Catholic Church in Fort Worth, and brews with his homebrewing partner Nick McCoy, who is also a Catholic. Together one of their beers has won the 2017 Ninkasi Award from the American Homebrewers Association, and is the highest award for the best drink judged in the annual National Homebrew Competition.
Together their beer was chosen as the best drink submitted among all 33 categories of beers, meads, and ciders submitted for the competition. Over 8,500 beers were submitted in the competition.
Submitting under then name “Draft Punk,” a play on the French Electronic duo Daft Punk, Fr. Poirot and McCoy’s brew club also won first place in the Specialty IPA and Trappist Ale and Strong Belgian categories at the National Homebrew Awards in Minneapolis. This was the third year Fr. Poirot and McCoy have entered beers into the competition.
The winning beer, a Belgian Quadrupel, drew its inspiration from the Trappist tradition.
Generally winners of the Ninkasi award go on to open their own shops or to write books, but the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports that Fr. Poirot and McCoy will be staying where they are.
“For me, I always want to balance [brewing] with being a priest, because being a priest is primary, first and foremost for me,” Poirot told the newspaper.