The Benedictines of Maredret launch craft beers
Altus and Triplus, 6.8% and 8% alcohol by volume respectively, have joined the already extensive range of Belgian Trappist and abbey beers. Traditionally, this was a profession reserved for male abbeys. But sisters have now also taken the plunge for the first time.
In 1893, an abbey of women living according to the Rule of Saint Benedict was built on a 15-hectare estate in Maredret in the Namur region. Around five years ago, urgent restoration work to the roof and walls gave the community of 20 people the idea of following in the footsteps of their neighbours in Maredsous, a stone's throw away, hiring a professional brewer and together putting a range of traditional beers on the market. This was a first in the monastic world! Jams, apple juice, biscuits, ceramics, weavings and miniatures were already on sale in the abbey shop.
And these are not just beers. The sisters and the John Martin family brewery found their inspiration in medicinal herbs, the vegetable garden and the orchard. They came back with spelt, bay leaf, sage, coriander, cloves, juniper berries and more, which traditionally grow in a monastery garden and combine perfectly to produce the most delicious floral aromas and delicate spicy and woody flavours. Today, annual production has already reached 300,000 bottles, but is expected to reach 3 million within a few years.
The sisters were, of course, allowed to taste the final beverage. They thought it was good, and with the blessing of the monks of Maredsous, the project took off.