English Trappist Ale, Tynt Meadow
The UK's first Trappist Ale
The Trappists are a branch of the Catholic church with communities of both monks and nuns residing (not together, we hasten to add) around the world, all following the Rule of Saint Benedict. They are named after La Trappe Abbey in Normandy, the monastery from which the movement and religious order began.
Saint Benedict, as it happens, had a lot of rules. One of the core Trappist principles is that monasteries should earn their own keep. They do this by producing and flogging all kinds of things including cheese, bread, clothes, and of course, beer.
Trappist beer is brewed by monks in twelve monasteries; six in Belgium, two in the Netherlands, one in Austria, one in Italy, one in the United States, and since June this year, one in the UK.
The monks of Mount St Bernard inspecting their work
The Mount St Bernard community was founded in Tynt Meadow, rural Leicestershire, in 1835. The 26 monks rise at 3.15am for the first of seven services throughout the day. They somehow manage to squeeze in some brewing too.
“Work provides balance in our life. It helps us keep both feet firmly on the ground. We aspire to make our work creative and joyful and to perform it to the highest standard. We go about our tasks as quietly as possible. For monks, work is one part of the contemplative endeavour. A way of praising God, and experiencing solidarity with the rest of mankind. Performed in Christ’s name, the act of work can itself become simple, silent prayer” explains one of the monks at Mount St Bernard.
For 183 years, the monks of Mount St Bernard were dairy farmers, selling milk to fund and maintain their historic abbey. Low milk prices made this increasingly difficult and in 2013 they decided to move into brewing instead. After getting permission from the Pope, they spent the next five years conducting “research”, visiting famous Trappist breweries across Europe, many of which have been producing beer since the Middle Ages. Orval… Westmalle… Westvleteren… Rochefort… Chimay… La Trappe… the monks of Mount St Bernard have been learning from the best.
Mount St Bernard Abbey
Tynt Meadow takes its influence from many of those great Trappist beers. “We’ve chosen to produce a strong dark ale, but one with a clearly English character. Tynt Meadow is mahogany-coloured, with a subtle, warm red hue, and a lasting beige head. Its aroma carries hints of dark chocolate, liquorice, and rich fruit flavours. The beer is full-bodied, gently balancing the taste of dark chocolate, pepper, and fig. It leaves a warm and dry finish on the palate”
“We’re happy to share the work of our hands with you. We’re proud of the ale we’ve made, and have made it with joy. The monks of old had a saying: Patet porta, cor magis. ‘The door is open, the heart even more so.’ By inviting you to taste Tynt Meadow, we offer you a taste of our life.”
The monks don’t use social media.