New England monks brew beer that critics love

Tuesday, March 11, 2014 - 11:13am

A group of Massachusetts monks take to brewing and selling beer as a way to make ends meet.

The monks at St. Joseph’s abbey in spencer have a taste for being self-sufficient.

Being able to provide for themselves is a major tenant of the trappist monastery.

To that end, they have started brewing and selling beer.

“About 10 years ago, we started doing some long range planning and realized that our income/expense lines were getting close and crossing, so knew we need to do something,” said Father Damien Carr, of St. Joseph's Abbey.
Monks brewing beer is nothing new; in Europe, monastic suds are common.

The brewery in Spencer is the first of its kind anywhere in the United States.

Once the decision was made to brew beer here, the monks decided they needed to do it right.

“First of all, building a state of the art brewery in order to ensure the quality and consistency of the product that was important to us. If we were going to be authentic Trappist we wanted the same quality they are noted for,” Father Carr explained.

And thus was born the spencer trappist ale and it's getting rave review from beer aficionados.

“There's a certain fruitiness to it. It's not a dark beer. The alcohol content is 6.5% and many of the Trappist beers in Belgium are a lot higher in alcohol content,” Father Carr said.

Proceeds will go to sustain the monastery and fund the various charities St. Joseph’s abbey supports.

For now, it's a simple product line: one Belgium-style ale, but the monks haven't ruled out expanding their product line.

“Once we really have experience with it maybe we can do a special Christmas beer or something like that but for right now we really want to concentrate on one beer doing it as best we can,” Father Carr told CNN.


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