Mass. monks turn to beer to help make ends meet - 7News Boston WHDH-TV

Mass. monks turn to beer to help make ends meet

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SPENCER, Mass. (WHDH) - Trappist monks are known throughout the world for being self-sufficient and now a monastery in Spencer will be making ends meet by 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 we knew we needed to do something,” one of the monks said.

Monks brewing beer is nothing new; in Europe, Trappist beers are lauded for their taste and the way the beers improve with age.

However that is not the case in the United States. St. Joseph’s Abbey in Spencer is the first brewery in the country to begin selling their own beer and they want to make sure they 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,” a monk said.

The Spencer Trappist Ale is the first, and so far only, beer being brewed at the monastery 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 percent and many of the Trappist beers in Belgium are a lot higher in alcohol content,” the monk said.

For now, they are focusing on getting this brew perfect but they haven’t ruled out expanding the 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,” the monk said.

Spencer Trappist Ale can be found for sale across Massachusetts. Proceeds go to sustain the monastery and fund various charities St. Joseph's Abbey supports.
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