At the beginning of September I got the amazing opportunity to visit target=”new_page”>Spencer Trappist Brewery along with other columnists from Yankee Brew News. Very few news outlets have been given access to the facility that is operated by Benedictine monks.
It was with great devastation that I realized that all of my notes from the visit were on my completely destroyed cell phone. Since I realized this, I have been completely motivated to post my recap. Tonight, you get the few facts I remember, and the pictures. I figured these would at least be interesting to look at.
The monks opened the brewery as a way to help finance their community. The facility, is one of the most impressive I have ever seen and is capable of producing FAR more beer then the brothers are making today. The reason for the impressive setup is simple: the operation was required to brew the highest quality beer in order to meet trappist rules and the equipment had to be highly automated so that the monks would spend limited time tending to the brewery.
First an foremost, the order is dedicated to prayer, manual labor and a quiet, introspective life. The brewery is a means to an end and as such may only take up a fraction of time.
It is a cloistered order, meaning that they do not interact (as a rule) with the general public. A typical day starts as early as 3:00am. Brothers do not speak between the hours of 8:00am and 8:00pm. The day of our visit, I assume a few of our hosts were granted a “pass” on the rule.
Currently, Spencer Trappist brews one beer, a relatively light Belgian table beer. Father Isaac, head of the brewing operations, told us that the decision to brew table beer was because it was what he thought the other monks would enjoy drinking.