Just north of Spencer, Massachusetts sits a beautiful monastery surrounded by acres of meadows and pastures. This is Saint Joseph’s Abbey and it is home to a community of strict Trappist monks.
Since 1950, the cloistered Roman Catholic monks have lived contemplative existences, dedicated to praise and worship. They live in silence and solitude, but they also believe in the importance of work.
For this reason, the brothers of Saint Joseph’s have been creating their own delicious line of jams, jellies, and marmalades since the mid-1950s.
While the community adores the sweet, homemade preserves, the monks’ latest venture is even more popular. Spencer Trappist Ale is is the first and only certified Trappist beer made in the United States.
It all began when one of the brothers expressed an interest in learning about brewing. He took some lessons at a local brewery and his passion soon spread throughout the monastery.
Brewing beer is actually a traditional monastic enterprise and the popularity of craft brews made it a wonderful opportunity for the monks to not only support themselves, but also give back to the community.
The brothers visited Trappist breweries across Europe to learn everything they could about brewing. Finally, Spencer Brewery – named for the lovely town where the abbey is set – officially took off in 2015. That year they were voted the #1 Best New Brewery by the Huffington Post and Fox News!
Their brews consist of a variety of ales, lagers, stouts and IPAs. Although they occasionally host events, the monastery does not offer tours of Spencer Brewery. The monks’ commitment to prayer comes first and foremost in their lives and they fear that regular tours could cause a major distraction.
If you’d like to try some of Spencer Brewery’s award-winning products, they are currently distributed throughout Massachusetts, Connecticut, New Hampshire, Ohio and Michigan. They can also be shipped across the United States through the following websites: Monastery Greetings and Belgian-Style Ales.