A beer brewed by the monks
The monks of Saint-Wandrille have become brewers in order to provide the financial resources necessary for the life of the community and building maintence.
The first beer to come out of Saint-Wandrille is a deeply coloured pale ale with a good hoppy flavour, smooth and refreshing, made at the abbey from cereals and hops grown only in France. This is the only beer in France to be produced by monks within their monastery.
A communautary project
Faced with the necessity of finding new sources of income, the monks of Saint-Wandrille wanted to find a new activity that would be in harmony with their life of prayer; “then are they truly monastics when they live by the labour of their hands” (Rule of saint Benedict chapter 48). In the 14th century cloister, a relief depicting hops seemed to be beckoning the monks to start produce quality beer.
In the spring of 2015, the decision was taken to start beer production at Saint-Wandrille. Operations began in January 2016. In May, the brewing equipment was delivered to the abbey. The abbot designated two brothers for training with the “maîtres brasseurs français” (French master brewers’ association) and to train on pilot equipment (20 litres). Alongside them, a small team of brothers gathered to taste the beers made and to compare them with other, very different beers from diverse sources. In this way, the original and unique recipe for SAINT-WANDRILLE beer was developed, with the advice and assistance of professional brewers.
The project is directed by the monks and they are perfecting the tools they will need to market the beer: what kind of bottle, labels and packaging etc…
Over the summer of 2016, several test brews will be conducted to adapt the recipe to the new full scale equipment. The first sales are planned for autumn 2016. An inauguration day will be held at the abbey at this time, with the date still to be decided.