American Trappist ale is now a real thing

Real Trappist beers — made by European Trappist monasteries — are some of the best in the world, hands down. Even as a writer, I don’t have enough superlatives in my wordsmith toolbox to do them justice.

And now we’re getting authentic Trappist ale made right here in the U.S.

The brothers of St. Joseph’s Abbey in Spencer, Mass., are going to brew and sell beer. And it’s not just any beer. They went to Belgium to learn the trade, and they won the (literal and figurative) blessings of their European peers. They don’t give out that “Authentic Trappist” label lightly, and the American monks had to offer up a taste-test for approval. But Spencer Trappist Ale passed, and the brewery is up and running. Check out the brewery site, as well as the abbey’s site (which has some cool Gregorian chant going on.)

I like this for a couple of reasons. First, Trappist beer is excellent. If I were to take on the world’s finest sommelier in a beer vs. wine smackdown, I’d bring Trappist beer. Only a few non-Trappist breweries in the world get close. I’ve had beers from six different monasteries, and while they’re all a bit different, they’re all excellent.

Second, the proceeds go to a good cause. The St. Joseph monks are going to fix up their abbey and pay the bills, of course, and the rest goes toward helping the community and other charitable efforts. You really can’t argue with that. The brothers are also pretty big on sustainability and the environment, too.

For now, Spencer Trappist Ale’s distribution is only going to be in Massachusetts, but they brothers say they’ll expand their efforts as they ramp things up — they only tapped their first keg at the abbey on New Year’s Day, after all. (I’m going to get my hands on some soon as I can, naturally. And I’m totally buying a chalice, too. Chalices are cool.)

As a beer fan, I’m obviously excited. And much respect to the monks as well; it’s not an easy life. But at least they have good beer on hand.

Brew on, brothers!

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