Fort Worth

Father Jeff was a master brewer — until the bishop turned off the tap

Father Jeff Poirot, who along with his partner Nicholas McCoy won the 2017 Ninkasi Award at this year’s National Homebrew Competition, is full of joy when it comes to his favorite hobby. That’s clear from Poirot’s reaction to winning home brewing’s most coveted award.

While many recent winners of the award have dropped everything after winning to go into the craft brewing business, Poirot and McCoy didn’t take that path, largely because Poirot is resolute in his calling to the priesthood.

He was happy with the balance he’d struck, devoting one afternoon per week to brewing beer, even as he was being moved from Holy Family Parish in Fort Worth to Wichita Falls’ Sacred Heart on Aug. 1.

But around the time of the move, Catholic Diocese of Fort Worth Bishop Michael Olson instructed Father Jeff not to brew beer anymore, according to a source who asked to remain anonymous because she is a parishoner in the diocese. Poirot confirmed he had been told to stop brewing, but wouldn’t comment much further, other than saying, “It was a pretty short conversation. [Olson] holds all the cards in that relationship.”

Bishop Olson declined to comment, other than saying, “It is a matter between a bishop and his priest.”

Poirot told the Star-Telegram in June that the primary reaction he got when he told parishioners about his hobby was one of curiosity, not disapproval.

“I’m of age, it’s obviously something you want to be responsible about, but I haven’t set the rectory on fire or anything like that,” Poirot said. He added that he would often bring his home brews to church dinner functions for parishioners to try, often to rave reviews.

But all he’s got left now are his reserves. He won’t be brewing anymore of his own batches anytime soon, despite his credentials as one of the nation’s foremost home brewers.

“Lately, I’ve gotten into making my own yogurt,” Poirot said. “I’ve always loved to cook, so there are any number of directions to take that.”

Matthew Martinez: 817-390-7667, @MCTinez817

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