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Belgian monks are reclaiming the tradition of monastic beer brewing

J-P Mauro - published on 06/06/21

The monks of Grimbergen Abbey just launched their first brewing project in over 200 years.

Belgium’s Grimbergen Abbey is getting back to work on the Catholic tradition of monastic beer brewing. The Abbey has just launched a new microbrewery that will focus on three new brews. 

It’s been over 200 years since Grimbergen Abbey was forced to cease their brewing operation. The abbey brewery was active from the 12th century until 1798, when French forces burned the monastery twice in one year. It was from these fires that they drew their emblem of a phoenix and their slogan, “Ardet nec consumitur” (Burned but not destroyed).

Although the abbey stopped its production, there is still a lot of name recognition with the Grimbergen label. Reuters reports that this is because the abbey sold the name to commercial beer distributors in the mid-20th century. The new brews will bolster the commercial line of “Trappist” beers produced by Denmark’s Carlsberg Group, which retains the rights to the brand. 

The new microbrewery is capable of producing 10,000 hectolitres of beer per year. This would produce over 1.6 million bottles annually. The brews will draw on the records of monks past in order to produce the most authentic medieval taste. With 900 years of brewing techniques at their disposal, we expect they’ll have a lot of tricks up their sleeves. 

Reuters went on to note that the monks plan to source their ingredients from local farms. They have also set up their own garden for select herbs and hops. Grimbergen’s Norbertine monks say they intend to follow the Trappist traditions, even though they are not Trappists themselves. This means they will only brew on abbey grounds and all proceeds go towards the abbey and its causes.

Read more at Reuters. 

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