Brewed by the Trappist monks of St. Joseph’s Abbey in Spencer, MA, the Spencer Brewery is one of only 10 Trappist breweries in the world, and the first in the Americas. Launched in early 2014, the beer has been well received by both connoisseurs and occasional beer drinkers.
Trappist monks follow the Benedictine counsel of ora et labora (pray and work), and for centuries have supported themselves by the work of their own hands, producing a variety products, including beer. All 10 Trappist breweries—Westmalle, Chimay, Orval, Rochefort, Westvleteren, Aachel, La Trappe, Stift-Engelszell, Zundert, and Spencer—must operate in accordance with the strict rules set by the International Trappist Association, a nonprofit which ensures that the beers are brewed at the abbey, under the supervision of the monks, and that the profits provide for the needs of the monastic community and its charitable outreach. The Trappist name is a registered trademark, and beers can be identified by the hexagonal “Authentic Trappist Product” logo displayed on their labels.
Known for their complexity and richness, Trappist beers are unfiltered and unpasteurized, preserving live yeast and complex carbohydrates in the bottle. Historically, this nutrient-rich “liquid bread” was an integral part of the monks’ simple diet.
For the monks, the release of the beer marks both the culmination of years of hard work, and an exciting new chapter in the 189-year-old story of their abbey. “We’re just so happy and grateful to be given the opportunity to share this labor of love with the world,” says Father Isaac Keeley, director of Spencer Brewery. “We hope that by making this beer, we can both honor the centuries-old Trappist tradition, and contribute to this exciting time in American brewing history.”