Father Joseph holds a glass of Tynt Meadow. Photograph: Oli Scarff/AFP/Getty Images
Faced with dwindling revenues from dairy farming, the monks at the Trappist monastery of Mount St Bernard Abbey in Leicestershire decided to swap milk for beer.
What is a Trappist beer?
A beer must meet certain criteria before it can be called Trappist. It must be made within the immediate surroundings of an abbey. Production must be carried out under the supervision of the monks or nuns. And finally, any profits should be intended for the needs of the monastic community, for purposes of solidarity within the Trappist Order, or for development projects and charitable works. In other words: no commercial brewing.
In most people’s minds Trappist means Belgian. And it’s true that most Trappist beer is brewed there. And now the UK has Tynt Meadow, brewed by the monks at Mount Saint Bernard Abbey.
The abbey monks describe their beer as “mahogany-coloured, with a subtle, warm red hue, and a lasting beige head.” It certainly looks the part of a well-brewed beer. While Tynt Meadow wouldn’t look out of place next to a Westmalle Dubbel or a Westvleteren quadrupel, it is distinctly different.
The beer is not simply a clone of other Trappist beers. For a start it doesn’t display the fruity yeast character of Belgian beers. Instead its aroma is spicier, with hints of liquorice and mint, and perhaps clove. This is all apparent in its flavour, where there are dark sugars too, molasses and burnt orange.
The Trappist monastery of Mount St Bernard Abbey near Coalville, Leicestershire in central England.