Lincoln brewery on historic site receives priestly blessing
Story by Tess Wahlmeier
LINCOLN (SNR) - While it may be an unusual sight to some, 12 Lincoln priests were invited to tour and bless a local brewery in its new location – a spot known as “Robber’s Cave.”
“It’s very much steeped in the tradition of the Church to do blessings of homes or do blessings of businesses,” Father Michael Zimmer said, after blessing the infamous Robber’s Cave, now owned by Blue Blood Brewing Company. “It’s to recognize that our Lord wants to be present in every aspect of our life. We don’t just ask him to be with us when we go to Church.”
A brewery might not be the first place one expects to find Jesus, but it shouldn’t be the last. Fellowship, laughter, and sensible entertainment are all things that can build relationships when used in the proper respect.
“Whenever we talk about drinking, you have to do it in moderation,” Father Zimmer said, “but even then, we can see how it elevates us and brings people together. If you look at it, the way our Lord chose to bring people together was through food and drink, and he elevates normal food and drink to be, obviously, himself, but that’s the manner in which he draws the community together: through food and drink. This is a good form of drawing together and being able to celebrate that which is good.”
Founded by local police officers, the Blue Blood Brewing Company aspires to bring people together and support the local community, as well as their fellow officers. Whenever an officer is killed in the line of service, those at Blue Blood Brewery reserve a seat at the bar in honor of the fallen officer and toast to his or her life and mission.
Robber’s Cave, the new site of the brewery, is known for harboring Jesse James after he robbed a bank in Minnesota. During an excavation of the cave, coins from the same Minnesota bank were found, seeming to confirm the story. With such a notorious history, it is interesting for many to see the cave put to good use.
“What’s always beautiful about the Church is that it always takes things that are in our culture and elevates them,” Father Zimmer said. “So this Robber’s Cave with a nefarious background now, all of a sudden, is going to be a place of entertainment, of joy, of people gathering together. It’s been blessed and now it’s this place where good things can take place.”
The priests not only blessed the cave, but also the brewery and beer.
“There is literally a blessing specifically for beer, because of monastic tradition,” Father Zimmer said.
Breweries began in in monastery kitchens. Early on, monasteries would brew heavy wheat beer for times of fasting. The beer wouldn’t break the fast, but it would give the monks the nutrients they needed to be able to fast longer.
Blue Blood Brewing Company is currently open for business, managing a full bar and grill and giving tours of Robber’s Cave. In the future, they hope to set up tables in the cave and use it for various events.
“This is something to support those men and women who protect us, especially during these times,” Father Zimmer said.