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(NECN: Katelyn Tivnan) - For decades, the Trappist monks at St. Joseph's Abbey in Spencer, Mass. have lived a life of prayer.
Now for the first time, they are joining their brothers in Europe in a tradition dating back centuries: The beer business.
"Beer brewing in monasteries as we know goes back at to least the 8th or 9th century," Brother Isaac Keeley says.
The monks support themselves by making and selling products like jams. But the need for more revenue has led them to brewing. With help, they created Spencer Trappist Ale.
"It's a lot of work to get into this business," Brother Isaac says with a laugh. "I mean, this project could be, it's like four or five years from conception to today,"
Two of the abbey's monks were trained in beer making in Belgium. Along with a handful of others, they run a 36,000 square foot brewery. Brother Isaac says many factors make this ale unique.
"The process, the recipe itself, some of the way we handle the barley, the malted barley in the brew process," Brother Isaac says.
Spencer Trappist Ale launched this month and will be on sale across the state, and the brothers are hoping to build a loyal following of local customers.
Everything is done on site. The process from the malt silo to the the consumer takes about six weeks.
"It's made from a whole grain, and in a certain sense, it's liquid bread," Brother Isaac says.
While the beer may bring much needed funds to the abbey, the hope is also to share a part of the monks' lifestyle of prayer and peace with others.
"I don't want to overdo it but it's a little something from our table to their table to keep us all connected," Brother Isaac says.