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Mount saint bernard

Ch I
As was true for many other abbeys, the creation of this monastery was an indirect consequence of the French Revolution.

Forced into exile, several Trappist monks arrived in London in 1794, thinking of establishing a community in Canada.


This was without counting on the kindness of Thomas Weld, Squire of Lulworth, Dorset, who allowed them to settle on his land.

A few years later, following the Restoration of the Bourbons, the monks returned to France and settled in the abbey of Melleray, in Brittany. But this return was short-lived, since the Revolution of 1830 again forced them to flee.


This time they found refuge in Ireland, where they founded the abbey of Mont Melleray in 1833. It is from this mother abbey that a group of seven monks, led by Father Odilo Woolfrey, left to found the monastery of Mont St Bernardin 1835 on land purchased for them by Ambrose Philipps de Lisle, a local nobleman eager to reintroduce monastic life in his region.


Around 2013, rumors began to circulate about the imminent launch of brewing at the abbey.


And indeed the community was considering this.


Faced with the impossibility of continuing with dairy farming, the traditional livelihood, the monks looked for a new industry that would provide a common source of work and the prospect of a reliable income.

Visits to several craft breweries led them to conclude that this was a promising sector, even though they knew nothing about the beer market, and could hardly imagine that they would be caught in a craft beer "revolution."

The monks deliberately developed their project slowly. All decisions were taken together by the conventual chapter. Advice was sought from many sources: local brewers in the area, the recently established monastic breweries of Nurcie and Saint-Wandrille; and, of course, already established Trappist breweries.

From the start, the monks received great support from the ITA, a source of expertise and privileged experience, pushing them to observe its high standards. They were advised not to produce an imitation of Belgian beer but to connect with local styles. The monastery is half an hour's drive from Burton-on-Trent, right in the heart of a brewing area. The Trappists of Mont Saint Bernard therefore strove to produce a 7.4% strong beer rooted in English brewing craftsmanship while remaining true to the Trappist tradition. The launch took place at the end of June 2018, without wearing the "Authentic Trappist Product" logo at first.

However, brewing is not new to the abbey. Indeed, the consumption of beer at the abbey since 1842 (which doubtlessly was brewed on site) is proven  by the existence of a sort of a "table beer."


We find another testimony dating from 1872 which explains that the Trappists accompanied their vegetarian meal at 11:30 a.m. with a glass of beer (a small brown cup).



Also in LITTELL'S LIVING AGE of July 5, 1890 is an account attesting to the beer drunk at Mount Saint Bernard.


(monk) "Let me see, today is Thursday. We shall have bread, vegetable soup, boiled rice, a little jam - to help the rice down, you understand - and a cup of beer."

(guest) "Then you are not teetotalers ? "

The father smiles amusedly.

(monk) "Well, the beer isn't exactly double X, you know...."

And here the smile deepens into a real, hearty laugh.

More information on "Beer Et Seq"

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