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So who on earth was St George and why do we celebrate him as our national saint?
There are lots of myths and legends around him, as there are plenty of myths and legends about brewing.
Some of the “facts” appear to be that he was born to Christian parents in AD270 in Cappadocia (so no where near England then). He grew up to be a Roman soldier and all was going well for him until he led a rebellion against Emperor Diocletian who was persecuting Christians. This led to the emperor having him beheaded on 23rd April 303. The emperor’s wife was so moved by him that she converted to Christianity and was also put to death.
There the legend appears to stop until the Crusaders started to return and bring wonderful stories back with them (possibly including slaying dragons?)
In 1222 the 23rd April was established as St George’s Day.
English soldiers started wearing his cross on their chests and backs to protect them and in 1415 following the battle of Agincourt where it is rumoured he was seen fighting with the English he was made our patron saint.
He is also the patron saint of the scouting movement as well as of Barcelona, Russia, Bavaria and many other places.
So why the dragon – I will leave you with the idea that in the Middle Ages the dragon was frequently used to represent the devil – this seems to tie in with the “true” facts about his life.
So that leads us to St Georges Day – we have again produced Dragon Fire - a celebration of the best that England has to offer, even if St George wasn’t English. It contains malted barley, oats, wheat and Golding’s hops to give a full bodied rich beer with a mahogany hue.
So as William Shakespeare said “Cry God for Harry, England and St George” and go and celebrate with a pint (or bottle) of Dragonfire!
Stewart Tricker - Senior Brewer