The brothers at Northern New Mexico's Monastery of Christ in the Desert are reviving this tradition with the debut of their unpasteurized, classic Belgian-style abbey Monks' Ale ("Made with Care and Prayer!") after the holidays. With the development and guidance of American master brewer Brad Kraus of Santa Fe, the ale is being produced under contract in nearby Corrizozo, although a brewery is under construction at the Pecos Benedictine Monastery. Along with Christ in the Desert, the two orders have formed the Abbey Beverage Co. When completed, the Pecos site will be the first monastery brewery in the United States in more than 100 years.The article also links to the charming site BrewLikeAMonk.
"Part of the profits from the ale will go to the company, and thus, the monasteries," Kraus says. "This is a venture designed to enable the order to preserve their monastic way of life, by producing a traditional product."
The flagship Monks' Ale received a gold medal at the New Mexico State Fair's Pro-Am competition. A judge described it as redolent of "biscuit with honey, sweet in balance between malt and spice, fruity and bready, fading to a clean finish." Slated for later release are the silver medal-winning dubbel Prior's Ale, and Abbot's Tripel.
If you enjoy quality beer, and you've never had a Trappist brew, you must. It starts at about $7.00 for a 750ml bottle, but it is worth every penny.