1. Rating beers by attributes (look, smell, taste, feel, overall) is back! Read the latest update ...
  2. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  3. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

American Trappist Beer in MA

Discussion in 'Beer News' started by dawatts, May 21, 2012.

  1. Has anyone heard anything new about this lately?
     
  2. Jaru1026

    Jaru1026 Savant (295) Massachusetts Mar 25, 2011

    I am at Yankee spirits a lot, and actually got to meet and talk with Brother Jonah. One of the Brothers who will actually be doing the brewing. They come into Yankee quite often to get things for tastings. Anyway we got to talking when I saw him picking out some Trappists beers, I mentioned that they were going to start brewing in Spencer. Low and behold he was the one to being doing it! He mentioned that one of the monks from Chimay was over there helping them get everything together, also that him and another Brother would be going over to Chimay to be taught. This was maybe a little over a month ago? So its well in the process. I talked to him for a good 30 minutes it was awesome to actually meet the person who is going to be brewing.
     
    Jnorton00 likes this.
  3. I met the brewer from Chimay that was looking into locations a while ago at the Armsby Abbey.

    Cool to talk to him about the differences in beer culture, culture in general, and beer in general.

    I don't think he was a monk, though, but rather a brewer that works with them. Not too sure.
     
  4. I dont think any monks brew Chimay. I've heard the same goes for most or all of the other trappist beers. Not totally certain about westy or achel.
     
  5. Lukie

    Lukie Savant (425) Australia Jun 16, 2007

    It's a fine line with the monks actually brewing. La Trappe monks stopped brewing, and had a third party come in to brew their beers and their Trappist authentication was removed for a few years. I would expect that some of the monks help in the process, if one is not the head brewer.
     
  6. ZEROorDIE

    ZEROorDIE Zealot (90) Massachusetts Jan 20, 2010

    well, im not far, and this sounds awesome. if it happens i will definitely be making a trip.
     
  7. Patrick

    Patrick Initiate (0) Massachusetts Aug 13, 2007

    I think I read somewhere that a monk just has to be present, or something like that, while the brewing is going on. I don't particularly care about the Trappist designation, but hopefully this new brewery in MA makes some quality beer.
     
    dawatts likes this.
  8. They should try making a Trappist Burbon!
     
    66jzmstr, JrGtr and Zach136 like this.
  9. dawatts

    dawatts Savant (310) Massachusetts Dec 27, 2006

    Also to note, during construction they hit a natural spring directly underneath the brewing facility. Water source score!
     
  10. Jason

    Jason Founder (1,330) Massachusetts Aug 23, 1996 Staff Member

    Good for them, MA has some of the best water IMO.
     
    dawatts likes this.
  11. brikelly

    brikelly Savant (405) New Hampshire Apr 11, 2010

    ISO: Spency 12
     
  12. Brunite

    Brunite Savant (420) Illinois Sep 21, 2009

    Pretty good wine from what I've heard!:cool:
     
  13. jte5029

    jte5029 Disciple (50) Pennsylvania Apr 24, 2013

    My uncle is actually a Monk at the Abbey, and I was just there for his ceremony to becoming a Deacon. He was previously head of the linens crafting there. Our other friend, also a monk, is in charge of the Jelly Preserves facility. During my visit I was given a tour of the new brewing facility, which is basically just the outer structure and slight interior work so far. Pictures will be up soon, I just have to ask my Uncle if I am allowed to post them first o_O.

    The plan is to have the beer flowing by OCTOBER 2013!!!! I am very excited for this as I was invited to the grand opening and the first pour! ;)

    Back Story: About 8 or 9 years ago they came across the idea for a Trappist Brewery on the property to increase revenue for the Abbey. They sent a group of Monks over to Europe to the Chimay brewery and other fellow Trappist breweries around the world to study the art of crafting fine beer. After years of training they brought contractors in and specialists from the other Trappist breweries to survey the land and find a suitable location to house the Brewery. Now that the final project is almost completed, they have carefully been crafting a group of about 7 or 8 final recipes that will eventually become their own products.

    They have to follow certain rules though...Basically they are allowed to have one beer recipe as a trial period within the first half of a year or so to see how sales go, then they will work on crafting more of their. The brothers (monks) created 7 different brews for professionals to taste test, and all of the tasters have selected the EXACT SAME ONE, so we know their first beer (not allowed to disclose any information about it) will be an amazing one!

    Also the name of the beer will have Spencer somewhere in the name, as it is a tradition for Trappist beers to have the town name in them.

    Any other information I can give is that the facility is humongous for a "micro-brewery" and they are going to be able to pump out a ton of this stuff. Also it is a beautiful facility with ceiling-high glass in the front so you can peer through and watch where the magic happens.

    As is accustom with the Abbey laws, no women are allowed in the manufacturing sections of the property so I don't know if they will be allowed on tours of the facility. (Sorry ladies)

    Hope this helped! Let me know if you have any other questions :)
     
  14. dawatts

    dawatts Savant (310) Massachusetts Dec 27, 2006

    This is awesome information dude. Thank you so much for contributing!
     
    66jzmstr and macandrewsRIP like this.
  15. jte5029

    jte5029 Disciple (50) Pennsylvania Apr 24, 2013

    No problem! I will try to get the pics up as soon as I receive word from my uncle. Also I will be sure to take a lot of pictures in October at the grand opening and post them up as well!
     
  16. dawatts

    dawatts Savant (310) Massachusetts Dec 27, 2006

    I may see you there. I have an in. :D
     
  17. mixylplik3

    mixylplik3 Aficionado (225) Maine Feb 21, 2007

    Thanks for that excellent update. Really looking forward to this!
     
  18. Anyone know why this is?
     
  19. Probably because roles are gender specific. Also, men and women are separated to reduce the temptation of sex. You have to remember that the monks are to remain celibate. Celibacy is very unnatural, so steps must be taken to curb natural desires.
     
  20. I was talking to someone today at a local supply company. He knew that I am into beer. He mentioned his company recently began selling the Abbey some plumbing equipment to install the brewing machinery. He said that the monks there told him they hope to begin brewing by the end of 2013. So the process has begun.........
     
    dawatts likes this.
  21. PhilLesh

    PhilLesh Initiate (0) Massachusetts Jul 30, 2007

    Thank God for beer !
     
    dawatts likes this.
  22. JKV96

    JKV96 Savant (415) Massachusetts Jun 22, 2013

    Has anyone heard any updates on this yet? Would be great if did happen.
     
  23. This means that there will be 2 new trappist breweries by the end of 2013?
    Abbey of Maria Toevlucht (Zundert) & Spencer. I hope that the American one will make it to Belgium. I have been trying to try all trappist beers so far. I am still missing 4 beers (one more is going to be done soon). Achel is the hardest one to do.
     
  24. BruChef

    BruChef Savant (285) New York Nov 8, 2009

    Nah, Achel is the easiest one cuz it's the most delicious! Seriously though, I know what you mean. I used to have access to it any the time but it hasn't been on shelves here in Rochester in almost a year. Apparently the contract between our local distributor and the shelton bros. was up for renewal but they haven't yet come to terms.
     
  25. You forgot Engelszell
     

  26. Well Achel has the second smallest production of all the trappists, for a year or so they have been selling their beer in one of the Belgian supermarket chains. Their two main beers are easy to get hold of here but that obviously cuts of supplies to the USA. The thing is that they have beers only available at their bar. I am still missing the two Achel 5 beers. I am also missing Achel Extra Blond (Achelse Zomer 2004) but I think that I am never going to get that one. I still need those 3 & the new La Trappe which just came out.
     
  27. BruChef

    BruChef Savant (285) New York Nov 8, 2009

    Wow, you're going for the whole nine yards. I thought you meant just the typical quad/bdsa line up. Hope you're able to find them all. That'd be one hell of a tasting!
     
  28. I also heard a number of them apprenticed with local brewers--one brewer (Pretty Things) confirmed that he had at least two such apprentices over the last couple of years.
     
    dawatts likes this.
  29. rgordon

    rgordon Savant (370) North Carolina Apr 26, 2012

    Mepkin Abbey outside of Charleston should brew Spanish Moss Abbey Ale, and Swamp Fox Quad.
     
  30. Have to echo the comments of jte5029. My father worked as a sales rep back for the monastery back in the 70's, and was able to work on the grounds as well as the gatekeeper. Our family keeps in touch with a couple of brothers once a year around Xmas. I mentioned I heard about the brewery last year and yes, the monks trained under the monks of Chimay. Haven't heard of an October release but should be exciting!
     
    VictorWisc, dawatts and Roguer like this.
  31. kevpaq

    kevpaq Aspirant (35) Maine Aug 9, 2011

    I had a chance to speak to a Monk at Spencer back in March. He said they were getting the yeast from the Cistercians that make Chimay. They had developed a recipe and were basically in the process of making sure that the first batch tasted the same at the 10,000th batch. The plan was to begin brewing in July 2013 with the goal of having it on shelves in September of 2013. Supposedly, a distributor has bought everything they can sell for the first three years, but I have no idea where/when we can expect to see the product on the shelves. The Monks were hoping that since there were no transportation costs associated with getting the product to the U.S., the price would be lower. I would think the distributor could charge the same as they do for Chimay, and simply pocket the added $$. I spoke to a Monk this morning who knew claimed not to know the timeline for rolling out the product.
     
    dawatts likes this.
  32. I will visit!
     
  33. Any more news regarding the brewery at Spencer Abbey? I was just enjoying an English muffin with some of their excellent preserves the other morning and I wondered why no US Trappist monasteries had begun brewing beer to supplement their income. I then stumbled upon this thread, much to my excitement.
    In any case, there is still no updated information available online, so I was wondering if things were taking longer than anticipated. There is still no mention of a brewery at all on the Abby's website, but understandably, all their product information is kept quite low-key.
    Thanks for any information!
     
    SGToliver likes this.
  34. JDT123

    JDT123 Initiate (20) Oct 15, 2013

    Hello everyone,

    I am aspirant (a man discerning monastic vocation) at St. Joseph's Abbey and just returned from a vocational weekend at the abbey. The brewery looks fantastic and the brothers will be holding a small blessing next weekend for the brewery as well as the water source. They will be holding other very small events for their own families and members of the local community on upcoming dates as well. Beyond that, the brewery is within the cloister (of course) and therefore not open to the public in any capacity, not even lay people on retreat. Unfortunately this means no 'brewery tours' or visits, at least not normally. I don't have much information beyond that and they are rightfully keeping it within their community at the moment, not releasing much public information so I am also trying to respect that privacy. Needless to say it is going to be fantastic!

    I hope this helped a bit and I hope you all enjoy the beer once it becomes available!

    God bless, NPSSA.

    "The eye through which I see God is the same eye through which God sees me."

    - Meister Eckhart, the Sermons of Meister Echkhart.
     
  35. MA08

    MA08 Savant (280) Massachusetts Nov 13, 2008

  36. JrGtr

    JrGtr Savant (365) Massachusetts Apr 13, 2006

    Going by the BJCP style guidelines, it could be either a golden ale or Dubbel.
    I am really looking forward to the Abbey releasing the beers. I am a fan of those styles and to be able to get them extremely fresh will be a bonus.
     
  37. Can't wait until this is available. Hopefully it will make it to Pennsylvania at some point, but I will gladly take a road trip to MA if necessary, even if they decide to sell it only at the abbey in the manner of Westvleteren.
     
  38. From the rear label:

    [​IMG]


    6.5% abv (noted on neck label) in 330 ml and 750 ml bottles.

    And their website is listed but doesn't appear to be operative yet - http://spencerbrewery.com/
     
    tzieser, ChrisMyhre and WD_Eisemann like this.
  39. Thank you very much! Looks even more appealing as it appears to be a stronger take on a Patersbier. Glad they are doing something different than the standard dark Trappist ales. (not that there is anything wrong with them!)

    Cheers!
     

Share This Page