The book Trappist Beer Travels, Inside the Breweries of the Monasarites is written by Caroline Wallace, Sarah Wood and Jessica Deahl. All three writers are beer writers that came together using their fascination of not only beer, but the beer brewed in monasteries by the Trappist order of monks.
When I first received the book to review for Schaffer Publishing, I imagined a light read of different types of beer and a small travelogue, but instead found an in depth history of the Trappist orders and eleven Trappist breweries. One is located in the States, but the majority are in Europe. Each brewery and monastery has its own story and techniques.
I was fascinated to read the stories of how each monastery was subject to the political whims and times. The Trappist order is a group that wants to recuse itself mostly from the modern world, work and worship, so I guess I was surprised by how much the outside world impacted the orders. Also, in many cases, the local community has relied on the order not only for their beer, but many also work at the breweries and their livliehood is tied in with the monasteries.
What you will find in this book is summed up in the introduction where the authors state, “Within these pages we will explore what makes Trappist beers different from extort “abbey beers” donning images of those oh-so-cheeky monks and how these breweries operate unlike any others. We will dig into the history, spirit, and beers of each individual abbey. Should you want to make a journey of your own, we will tell you where to go and what to see. It is important to note while nearly all Trappist breweries are closed to visitors, most of the abbeys have some aspects (be it a gift shop, a tasting room across the street, or a open house once per yer) that are open to the public.”
To learn more about this special type of brew, get your own copy and savor the art, the architecture, the stories and of course information about the beer.