Saturday, June 09, 2007
An article on Trappist beers. Cistercians, of course, follow the Rule of Benedict, and the Rule of Benedict requires monks to engage in manual labor; Trappists are not Cistercians of the Strict Observance for nothing. Different Trappist monasteries produce different things -- some bread, some produce, some cheese, and some wine or beer. Because they devote so much of their life to it, and because they do it religiously -- quite literally religiously -- their products tend to be excellent. I haven't tasted any Trappist beers or wines; but the beers especially are sometimes considered to be some of the best in the world. It got me curious about other Trappist products. Assumption does Trappist fruitcake, and Our Lady of Guadalupe does the same.. Chimay does beer and cheese. The Genesee do bread. St. Joseph's does preserves. Gethsemani does cheese, bourbon fudge, and bourbon fruitcake. (Thomas Merton, who was at Gethsemani, had a thing against the cheese; he felt the Abbey's expansion of its cheese-making led to too much commercialization.) New Melleray does caskets! And that's only a very small selection of what Trappist monasteries produce. And, of course, Cistercians in general tend to be very productive; they always have been.