Thursday, December 12, 2013

America's First Trappist Brewery Is Coming!

I know when you think Trappist beer you probably think about Belgium, but in reality Trappist beers can be brewed anywhere.  There are already Trappist breweries in the Netherlands and a relatively new one in Austria.  Before long, we'll be able to add the United States to the list! Now they won't be required to brew in the Belgian style, but it does seem like the upcoming Spencer Brewery at Saint Joseph's Abbey in Massachusetts is going to start out with a Belgian Golden ale.  I'll report back if I hear anything about specific dates and distribution, but my guess is that it's going to take some traveling or trading to get some in Louisiana.

Here's the link to the article on

We've fought for our right to remain silent, bear arms, and party, but the right to brew one of the super-elite, monastery-based Trappist ales has eluded Americans for centuries. All that's about to change, though, because of the heroic monks at Saint Joseph's Abbey in Spencer, Massachusetts, who are gearing up to open the first Trappist brewery in the country.

In fact, the move will make America the fourth nation ever to have one of this specially recognized breweries. Currently, only eight exist -- six in Belgium, one in The Netherlands, and another in Austria -- due to the strict guidelines. A Trappist beer must be brewed within the walls of a Trappist monastery, so the brothers have to be members of The Cistercian Order of the Strict Observance, and production has to be under the control of the monks. BUT the brewery has to be of secondary importance, and once they've covered their basic living and monastery maintenance fees, the monks have to give any extra profits to charity. And make delicious beer.

Saint Joseph's is all set to met those qualifications with their "Spencer Brewery", which has been in the works for a few years now. The monks secured zoning rights back in '11 and have been hard at work building an adjacent brewery and preparing their inaugural suds. According to Beer Street Journal, their first offering will be "a full-bodied, golden-hued Trappist ale with fruity accents, a dry finish, and light hop bitterness". It'll come in 11.2oz bottles, but the official release date is TBD for now. Which gives you plenty of time to assemble your mash-up of chanting Trappist monks with "America F**k Yeah!" for the occasion.

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