Trevor Alcorn comes from a long line of brewers. Her great-great-grandmother brewed beer in her Chicago tub during Prohibition in the 1920s.
Home brewing has been a tradition in the family over the decades, but there has been a 180-degree turnaround in the business since its illicit start.
Alcorn, a longtime Catholic who lives in northern Illinois, owns a home brewery called Tridentine Brewing.
“My maternal grandfather was brewing in the 1990s. He taught my father to brew,” Alcorn noted. “My dad was a bit of a brewer back then, but for a while the hobby was forgotten. Several years ago my parents were moving and we came across all the brewery supplies my dad had. I asked him to teach me how to brew.
Originally, brewing was a casual hobby, a relatively straightforward process. Alcorn likened it to getting a pre-made mix for a cake. However, since 2019, he, his father Jeff Alcorn and his brother Cameron Alcorn have improved their brewing game.
“Now we’re doing what all commercial brewers do. We are starting from scratch with our own grain that we buy, ”he said in an interview with Catholic News Service. “It’s almost like you’re a real chef making something from scratch. The only technical difference between us and a commercial brewer is that they have bigger equipment.
Jeff is the master brewer of Tridentine. “He is the master behind creating all the recipes and everything for beer,” explained Alcorn. “Cameron is our graphic designer, he helps us create the website, all of our labels, he’s the design genius behind it all.”
Their product line and graphics are featured on their website, www.TridentineBrewing.com – with their tagline “braze beer for the greater glory of God” – and on Instagram, @tridentinebrewing.
What really sets Tridentine Brewing apart from other brewers is the family’s vision and mission. When they started brewing more frequently, they decided to start naming their beers, and as devout Catholics they wanted the names to have meaning, such as a reference to a saint.
Alcorn has a deep devotion to Blessed Karl of Austria and that is why one of their creations is named in his honor.
“When we were reviewing and creating beer recipes, the first beers we created were Viennese lagers,” he recalls. “There is no greater person to relate to Viennese lager than Blessed Karl since Vienna was the capital of Austria-Hungary in its day.
“I came up with the idea for a Hopsburg beer, so I didn’t break the Habsburg name and it had a bit of a weird twist since hops are the key ingredient in the beer-making process.”
Alcorn explained his devotion to the Emperor who, along with his wife, Empress Zita, is on the path to holiness; the Empress bears the title of “Servant of God”.
“I have always been in history and politics. I sat on our local city council about 10 years ago and was researching WWI and politicians in general, ”he said. “When you think of Catholic politicians who have been good role models, they are rare.
“I ran into Blessed Karl and found out that he was going through the process of canonizing holiness. He was a great father, a great husband and a great politician.
This devotion goes beyond naming a beer after Blessed Karl. Alcorn and his wife, Katelyn, who have four children aged 6 and under, named their 2-year-old daughter Zita, after Empress Zita, and their baby is named Augustus Karl.
Technically, Tridentine Brewing is a hobby business, which means the team don’t sell their product, but give a lot to family, friends, and for events like church picnics. .
The most notable occasion they shared their beer this year was October 21, the feast day of Blessed Karl of Austria. They delivered 200 bottles of Emperor Karl beer to St. Mary’s Mother of God Church in Washington.
Archduke Edward Habsburg-Lothringen, a descendant of Blessed Karl, who is the Hungarian Ambassador to the Vatican and the Sovereign Military Order of Malta, came from Rome to attend mass at the church, which houses the one of the few sanctuaries in the United States to Blessed Karl.
After Mass, there was a reception at the church, featuring the beer of Blessed Karl, and the Archduke gave a presentation on the holy man and then held a question-and-answer session.
“I loved being able to go to the shrine and the holy mass sacrifice there. The coolest part was definitely meeting His Excellency the Habsburg Ambassador in person, ”said Alcorn. “I follow him on Twitter (along with nearly 42,000 other fans). He’s a great guy. You can tell he is very devoted to the faith.
For his part, the Archduke seemed impressed by Alcorn’s product and touched by his dedication to his ancestor.
Alcorn works full time in IT for a life science company, but dreams of turning Tridentine Brewing into a commercial brewery one day and they could sell their beer there, across the Midwest, and their products could then. be ordered online and shipped anywhere in the United States.
“There is great interest in the United States in Blessed Karl, but also something that is Catholic in theme. We try to make all the labels look good, really honoring various saints, ”he said.
Food is said to be better when made with love, so it goes without saying that beer is better when made with prayers.
“There is a brewing prayer that exists – a beer blessing,” Alcorn said. “So we will pray to the Lord for our beer or pray to Saint Wenceslas because he is the patron saint of brewers and we pray to Blessed Karl for his intercession. Especially when we brew his beer.