A perfect pairing: St. Paul's church partners with Upstreet to celebrate anniversary

Theophilus Desbrisay wasn't the first rector of St. Paul's parish in Charlottetown, but he was the first to make the trip across the Atlantic from London.

The parish turns 250 in 2019 — and there's a beer for that

St. Paul's Anglican Church was built in 1886, and this was the third church built for the congregation in Charlottetown. (St. Paul's Anglican Church/Facebook)

Theophilus Desbrisay was the third rector of St. Paul's parish in Charlottetown, but he was the first to make the trip across the Atlantic to P.E.I. where his congregation was.

It wasn't an easy trip.

According to Archdeacon John Clarke, Desbrisay was captured by pirates or American privateers near Cape Breton and held prisoner until he could convince them he was a clergyman.

It's a great opportunity for us to begin advertising and reminding people of this great celebration.- John Clarke

"I guess they thought better of hurting him and eventually let him go," Clarke said.

When Desbrisay arrived, there was no building for the parish congregation to meet, so they often met in what they called taverns.

"A tavern might simply have been a house that had a kitchen and drinks available," Clarke said.

"It was a large enough area that for a period of time the congregation was meeting there until the church was built."

'Rich bit of history'

Clarke approached Upstreet Craft Brewing about a possible collaboration beer to help in the lead-up to the 250th anniversary of St. Paul's in 2019.

Red Stone Stock Ale will be available to the public Sept. 17 with 10 cents of every bottle going to St. Paul's Anglican Church. (Submitted by Michael Wasnidge)

Michael Wasnidge, marketing and special events manager for the brewery, said he thought it was a unique idea.

"We kind of took interest in the story there," he said about the parish meetings before a church was built.

"I didn't even know that the parish had been around that long. It was a rich bit of history."

The brewers got to work finding and creating a recipe for a beer that would reflect the times Desbrisay lived in, Wasnidge said.

"We're going to try and do something that's as true to that era as possible."

English-style stock ale

They settled on an old English-style stock ale, a beer that would traditionally be aged in barrels.

It's a really great way to kind of, tip your hat to different groups and work with the community in a variety of ways.- Michael Wasnidge

The brewery is producing a limited batch of about 7,000 bottles of Red Stone Stock Ale, which will be made available on Sept. 17.

"We're actually going to release it on a Sunday, which we've never done before," Wasnidge said.

Ten cents for each bottle sold will go to St. Paul's church. Clarke said the money would help in the church's outreach programs.

"All of the money we get, regardless of how it comes to us… it all goes to help that kind of ministry."

'Beginning of our celebration'

Wasnidge said making collaboration beers is just one of the ways Upstreet works with community groups.

"It's a really great way to kind of tip your hat to different groups and work with the community in a variety of ways."

For Clarke, it seemed like a good way to spread the word about the 250th anniversary of the parish.

"It's kind of the beginning of our celebration," he said. 

"It's a great opportunity for us to begin advertising and reminding people of this great celebration."