The monks of Mount St Bernard Abbey in Leicestershire have received approval from the North West Leicestershire District Council to convert part of their monastery into a brewery, which will replace a defunct dairy farm.
The brewery is still in the very early stages of planning but, once operational, it will be run by monks living at the abbey. Any profits from the sales of its beer will be used to maintain the abbey and support the monks’ way of life.
If the brewery is accredited by the International Trappist Association it will become just the 12th monastery in the world to produce Trappist beer and the only one in the UK.
The Trappist Association dictates that an authentic Trappist product must be: produced within the walls or in the vicinity of the monastery; in accordance with the direction of the community and in accordance with their rule; and for the benefit of the community and/or their social work.
The name ‘Trappist’ originates from the La Trappe abbey in Normandy, France, where a movement broke away from the Cistercian Order in the 17th century.
Today, various Trappist monasteries around the world produce products as varied as wine, beer, oil, bread, honey, cheese and cosmetics.
There are currently 11 monasteries in the world that produce Trappist beer. Eight of these are based in Belgium and the Netherlands, while the remaining three hail from Austria, the US and Italy.
Trappist is not a categorical style of beer, but many Trappist beers share common characteristics, such as being top fermented, unpasteurised and bottle conditioned.
Mount St Bernard will be the second beer-producing abbey in the country, with Ampleforth in Yorkshire reviving the tradition in 2012.