‘Why did you start brewing?” This is a question that continues to be posed to us. One of the aspects of a monastic community that lives in an abbey, is that it is independent both financially and in labour. This means that the community has to generate its own revenue. This income is necessary to cover the cost of living, but also for maintenance of the buildings and the estate of the abbey. The activities that a community undertakes to generate revenue, must fit our monastic way of living as much as possible.
Manual labour plays an important role in Cistercian spiritual tradition, because ‘in work, God can be found as well’. Or, as it is inscribed on a memorial stone of the former farmhouse it is written: ‘so that God may be glorified in everything’ (ref 1Pe4,11). This refers to the Rule of Saint Benedict (RB 57,9) that is an important source of inspiration in our monastic way of life.
Ever since the days of Saint Benedict, about 1500 years ago, many crafts have been practiced in monasteries. Since 2013, we practice the art and craft of brewing in Maria Toevlucht Abbey. Our modern brewery is based on a tradition of centuries.
Taste the land
As Trappists, we take an oath of stabilitas, at the start of our monastic lives. We promise to forever link ourselves with the community and place in which we live and work. When we started the brewery, we developed a beer that fits us. We even call it a little against the grain. You have to allow yourself some time to fully appreciate it.
Our beers are closely intertwined with our surroundings. To provide the characteristic herbal aroma in our beers, we make use of botanicals that traditionally grew and blossomed in the beautiful landscape surrounding of the abbey. In this way, you can literally taste the surroundings that we call home. We also make use of a minute amount of peated malt. This is an eyewink to the peat that was delved in this region in earlier times. Up to the present day, the Turfvaart (‘Peat canal’) flows past our estate in the direction of Breda. Peat was used to heat houses, brew beer, but also for drying malt, that obtained a slight smokey flavour in the process.
When they live by the labour of their hands, then they are really monks
© Trappistenbrouwerij de Kievit 2024