Hey, Hey we’re the Monks!
The life of a monk is a simple one. You rise at an incredibly early hour in the morning and then pray. You eat a little bit then pray some more. Then you pray, and then you pray while praying, and finally you pray and brew beer. Wait what? That’s right, monks brew beer! I am sure all of you devout Brewery readers remember we did a strip about it in 2010.
The problem is, if you wanted to become a beer brewing monk you would have to go to Europe. Obviously Europe isn’t such a bad thing, but who has the time? How many beer brewing monks never found their true calling because Europe is soooo far away?
Well, get out your robe and shave the top of your head, because now you can become a beer brewing monk right here in America!
The type of monks that brew beer are Trappist monks. Trappist monks actually split from the Cistercian order to begin a more strict observance referred to as The Order of Cistercians of the Strict Order. There are about 180 strict observance monasteries in the world, but only 8 of them brew beer. Those 8 are Chimay, d’Orval, Rochefort, Westmalle, Westvleteren, Koningshoeven, Achel, and Stift Engelszell . Earlier this December Saint Joseph Abbey in Spencer, Massachusetts opened a brewery with the help and advisement from well-established Trappist brewery Chimay. The first brew to come out of Spencer will of course be a Trappist Ale.
You are probably asking yourself, “why do Monks brew beer?” Originally Trappist monks brewed beer to feed the community, but today modern Monks brew beer as a way to fund their good causes and to maintain their monasteries. That’s why when I grab a Trappist Ale I feel extra good. It’s like giving to charity without actually having to do anything. Someone else does the good deeds for you, and you get to sit there and drink beer.
As always when talking about Trappist beer I will continually suggest that you get your hands on Westvleteren, by going to Belgium, and traveling out to the Monastery. I guess if traveling to Belgium isn’t in your future, then Spencer, MA is an alternative. I love the idea that a Trappist Brewery has finally come to America.
I don’t think just drinking a St. Joseph Abbey’s Trappist Ale will make me a monk, but I can’t wait to try. I’m a monk, I’m a monk…