07 January 2010

The January Challenge


This January the Misses and I are embarking upon a challenge to eliminate "screen-time" from our evenings. For this month we have been abstaining from tv, movies, internet browsing and any other device that has a screen after dinner-time. This has been WONDERFUL. I picked up Stan's book "Brew Like a Monk" and had skimmed it once already but only now am I giving it due diligence... wow, it is really great. What a great insight into monastic brewing traditions.  With the perfect balance of brewing details and beer philosophy and history, it is a great addition to the canon of great beer literature.

There is a cool story about the Rochefort Brewery in chapter two wherein the Chimay Brewery is doing very well and the Rochefort Brewery is struggling.  The Rochefort Abbot asks the Chimay Brewery to stop selling beer near Rochefort.  Chimay does not comply but instead offers to help Rochefort improve their beers!

Now bear in mind that monastic breweries do not brew to provide themselves with a luxurious lifestyle, but rather to support their meager expenses and more importantly to provide an income for their charities.  Chimay's guesture gives us a peak into how these monks think about the economy of brewing beer.  The number one priority for them is spiritual, and brewing beer is only a means to that end.  How well one brewery does in comparison with another is unimportant, as long as the ultimate purpose is served.  Whether that purpose can be served better by one brewery or another is irrelevant as long  as it is served to the best possible degree.

What a tremendous symbiotic relationship.  Monks want to encourage the drinking of fine (monastic) beers in order to fulfill their own purposes and I am inclined to drink fine (monastic) beers in order to fulfill my own.  Does this mean that I can claim my beer budget as charity???  ;)

Pour a Trappist for me,

thesaint.