France: First abbey to brew beer after 81 years

Abbey breweries are known all over Europe but in France the last one closed its doors in 1935. Now, the Benedictine Monastery of Saint-Wandrille in the green heart of Normandy between Le Havre and Rouen started brewing their first beers again. Some 25,000 half-liter bottles at €4.50 each have already been sold and shall help to restore the monastery cloisters.

In August 2014, Brother Matthieu (31) and Brother Christian (70), two of the monastery's 30 monks took up the challenge, and created a beer which is bitterer than the typical Belgium abbey beers and has a color somewhere in between blond and amber. The alcohol content is 6.50%, which hints at the figure of 649 - the abbey’s founding date.

The French monks hope to recover soon the €0.75 million loan for setting up the brewery. The goal is to produce 80,000 liters a year and give work to the two brewers and several other employed in packing and selling. So far, the beer has been sold through the abbey's shop, at other monasteries, online or through specialty stores.

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