Dried fruit in the nose, which expands in the mouth to encompass dates, raisins and figs. Also traces of caramel and chocolate and a feeling of viscosity. Sweetness starts to come through at the finish, but the fruitiness lingers as well. Also a warm glow in the stomach area !
When the inviability of farming became obvious, we began to look for an alternative source of income and common work. We aimed to establish an industry in which many of us could be involved. Brewing met our requirements. After much careful research and community discussion, we decided to revive the Abbey’s beer-making tradition. We know for a fact that beer was brewed here in the nineteenth century and, contrary to widespread perception, monastic brewing has never been confined only to the Low Countries. Past visitors to our community have left accounts expressing their liking for the monks’ table beer. Although the historic recipe has been lost, we’re certain that the ale we’re brewing now is at least as delicious and nurturing.
In 2017-18 we relocated our refectory, kitchen, and laundry to provide space for the installation of a new artisanal brewery. We will keep the volume of production relatively small. Just enough to meet our expenses and support our charitable commitments. As of 2018, the brewery is our principal field of labour. All the work, from brewing to bottling and packaging, is done by the monks.
All this resulted from much preparation and research. Once we had decided to set up a brewery, we began to practise on a small home brewing kit. We’ve experimented with a range of different beers to acquire experience, and to work towards a final recipe. The monks of Norcia, Saint-Wandrille, and Zundert have taught us a lot, and were generous in sharing their own brewing experience. We’ve received invaluable advice from the eleven other Trappist breweries, and from the International Trappist Association. We’ve also benefited from the kindness and counsel of several local brewers.
Cistercians esteem the value of simplicity. Simplicity doesn’t stand for a thing done simply, or cheaply, but rather represents a distillation of complexity. It is about processing and ordering a rich, varied reality in such a way that the result seems self-evident: ‘This is how it has to be!’ We see this quality at work in the way the early Cistercians built their churches, composed their music, wrote their sermons, cultivated their land. We hope you’ll recognise it, too, in the way we brew our beer.
Article number: FBB10295