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Spencer Trappist Brewery Visit

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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.

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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.

-Lost

Father Isaac, director of the brewery
Father Isaac, director of the brewery

Mayflower Brewery Visit

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This past Friday Melissa and I took a trip to Plymouth, MA for a Mayflower Brewery visit. The brewery has been in operation since 2008 and last year brewed 7500 barrels. There room for growth with the existing space they have, although my host for the afternoon, retail manager Sarah Richardson, let me know that Mayflower is taking expansions slow and meticulously as to not grow too quickly.

The operation includes 20 staff, including head brewer Ryan Gwozdz and assistant brewer Paul Coyne.

During my visit I got a chance to see the bottling machine in action. Check out the sweet videos I took!

Mayflower focuses on brewing classic beer styles to perfection. The IPA is their best seller and they are most renown for their porter.

Mayflower was bottling 12 packs of IPA for the first time ever. I was surprised to see that they were hand-packaging the bottles. I was equally surprised to hear that they were still doing a lot of self-distribution.

Mayflower IPA right off the line.
Mayflower IPA right off the line.

The operation includes a retail store/tasting room. Guests can try samples, flights of samples or order full pints. Hours for the tasting room can be found on IMG_5506

This was another great visit to a Massachusetts brewery. There are a handful of breweries in and around Plymouth. If you’re in the area, I would recommend including Mayflower in your travel itinerary.

-Lost