The Monastery of Christ in the Desert is home to Benedictine monks and – of course – craft beer. In this episode, I speak with Berkeley Merchant of Abbey Brewing Co. (Abiquiú, New Mexico) about the life of a Monastic Brewer and how beer developed as far back as the 6th Century throughout Europe under the supervision of Monks. We talk about the addition of Hops in 822 AD as a preservative to extend the life of beer, sanitation procedures, and the discovery that you can run beer through the mash multiple times. The nutrition of beers back then helped fasting Monks during Lent as they consumed the “liquid bread.” We have to ask ourselves: would beer be as prominent today without the help of the Early Church? Who knows – but it didn’t hurt.
Much like their brothers from the past, these Benedictine Monks from Abbey Brewing Co., the first Monastic Brewery in the US to open since Prohibition, employ the Rule of St. Benedict in their life and brewing. They brew just enough so that they can live. They grow their own hops. They use solar energy. They welcome all visitors to the Monastery, but the brewery is closed to the public for now. In the future, Berkeley notes that a remote Taproom will soon open in Albuquerque, NM.
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