Belgian beer honours Hawaiian saint

Damiaan Donker

Damiaan Donker

May 7, 2012

First, a couple of schools. Then, several U.S. parishes.

Now . . . a fine craft beer?

Many things have been named after St. Damien de Veuster of Molokai, but none was more surprising than a recent discovery at a Whole Foods store in Hawaii – a bottle of Belgian ale labeled with the likeness of St. Damien.

The beer is called Damiaan Donker.

The name pairs the Dutch words for "Damien" and "dark, strong ale."

The beer's creator, chef Donato Loperfido, is a lifelong Catholic who runs Flavors of Italy, a company that imports international food and wine to the islands.

The idea to create a brew in honour of St. Damien came to Loperfido in 2009.

The chef happened to be visiting Italy on the day of Damien's canonization.

As Damien was elevated to sainthood, Loperfido was awestruck at the honour received by the humble Belgian priest.

"I was very happy reading the paper one day when Father Damien was canonized," he said.