Because most philosophies that frown on reproduction don't survive.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Brewing Like a Monk

Rick over at De Civitate Dei links to a story about the innauguration an American monastic brew.

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.

"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.
The article also links to the charming site BrewLikeAMonk.

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.


Rick Lugari said...

I hope to be afforded the opportunity ti have one some day. I seldom drink anymore, but back in the day when I would just have a beer for the sheer enjoyment of it, I would find myself reaching the Samuel Adam's Honey Porter quite often. I don't think they make it anymore; and I doubt many beer connoisseur took notice of it (being a mass-marketed 'micro' and all), but it was a magnificent brew IMHO.

Darwin said...

Goodness, Rick. How can a good Catholic man like you neglect beer? From the time of the apostles down to Chesterton, Catholics have loved their alcohol.

Chimay is definately the easiest to find of the Trappist brews. A good-sized supermarket should have it. Try the Grand Reserver (blue label). It comes in champagne bottles and drinking it is a near transcendant experience.

Rick Lugari said...

I love beer, but usually my limited alcohol consumption these days consists of the occasional margarita.

As I think about it though, it is a shame. Years ago, I considered brewing my own. I read some books on the subject and went through the arduous exercise of tasting numerous types of beers from all over the world (though primarily domestic micro-brews). I suppose when I came back to the Church, I left behind some of the not-so bad things as well.

I also didn't know Trappist beers were that attainable. Back then they were like the Holy Grail; you heard about them but never seen them. I will look around to see if I can find that little piece of heaven on earth.


John Farrell said...

Awesome! I'm a huge fan of monastic concoctions (Benedictine, etc.), so this is exciting.

Jen Ambrose said...

Laws, pallettes and wallets are changing. Only this past summer Abbey and Belgian Ales were made available in North Carolina, for instance. In the past few years many state/local governments have been re-writing their LCB or ABC or whatever laws to allow for higher alcohol content in beverages classified as beer. They won't replace Coors Lite (unfortunately), but it is very exciting to see more of these ales, and now one from a US Monestary!