Sorry, it's another post about Belgium. I will start drinking and talking about British beer again soon. On Friday to be precise, before and after Tranmere Rovers' home match. I probably won't want to talk about the football.
An article in the Indy highlights a problem that some of us were discussing in Belgium over the weekend. Put simply, the Trappist monasteries in Belgium are running out of monks. The Good Lord is claiming the older ones but not enough novice monks are replacing them. Achel, who only started brewing again about 10 years ago after a lengthy break are down to six monks, five of whom are over 70. Orval, who have been struggling to keep up with demand anyway have 12 monks, down from 35 a few decades back.
While all Trappist brewers employ secular workers to do most of the work, they must nominate at least one monk to supervise the brewing otherwise their beers will lose the Authorised Trappist Product denomination. At least there are new Abbeys starting to produce beer. Stift Engelszell in Austria (Gregorious), Maria Toevlucht (Zundert) and even St Joseph's Abbey from U.S.A have been granted the ATP logo. Inevitably, beer geeks are paying over the odds to purchase these 'desirable' beers.